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Ending funding doesn't mean the end of the arts

May 19, 2011 J

The arts have thrived for centuries and the industry won’t just disappear if the Kansas Arts Commission goes through a structural change. With or without the KAC, Kansas has a flourishing arts community.

AFP-Kansas hopes Gov. Brownback vetoes the KAC funding because no one should be compelled to have part of their tax bill fund the tastes of those on an arts commission.

Art is in the eye of the beholder. Some may enjoy Picasso or listening to Beethoven. Others may prefer a Dogs Playing Poker painting.

Art and culture are valuable, but it’s fair to point out KAC is just a small part of it all. It’s a $153.5 million industry in Kansas, but last year KAC grants totaled just over $1.5 million.

KAC provides about 3.3 percent of the Topeka Symphony Orchestra’s funding and last year gave $114,362 to several Wichita arts attractions, including the Wichita Art Museum, Orpheum Theatre and Wichita Symphony Orchestra. However, the symphony alone has a $2 million budget.

Such organizations already rely on private funding; they are effective at seeking it and they’ll still have help. The Governor established a foundation to seek donations for the arts – at no taxpayer expense.

Derrick Sontag, Kansas State Director, Topeka, Kan.

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