Nearly a year after Kansas governor Sam Brownback vetoed an appropriations bill, resulting in the loss of nearly $2 million in state and federal funds for arts organizations in the state, the governor has announced plans to restore $200,000 for arts and film programs, theAssociated Press reports.
To that end, Kansas — the first state in the country to eliminate funding for the arts — will create a Creative Industries Commission within its Department of Commerce to “focus economic and workforce development efforts to expand creative industries across the state.”
According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Brownback vetoed $689,000 in funding to the Kansas Arts Commission last year because at the time he felt support for the arts was not a core function of state government. His veto cost the state an additional $1.3 million in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and a regional arts alliance.
While the state has restored some arts funding, the new funds will “be more focused on job creation,” Baldwin City representative Terri Lois Gregory told the Journal-World. Even so, Kansas Citizens for the Arts spokeswoman Sarah Carkhuff Fizell said that she was encouraged by Brownback’s proposal. “We are excited about the potential that the governor appears willing to open this up and work with getting this whole arts thing back on track,” said Fizell. “The arts are jobs and economic development, and that is crucial to moving Kansas forward.”
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