This week, the Senate approved S Sub for HB 2454, which will merge the existing powers, functions, and duties of the Kansas Arts Commission and the Kansas Film Commission to create the Creative Arts Industries Commission. This new entity would be housed within the Kansas Department of Commerce, making it the official state program for the arts.
You may recall that Governor Brownback eliminated funding for the Kansas Arts Commission in 2011, which ended up being one of the most controversial actions of last year’s session. As a result, the Kansas arts community lost millions in federal matching grants.
I supported this bill because it is an avenue for the Commission to re-obtain state funds. If the Arts Commission is folded into a larger agency with a larger budget, it becomes much easier to move funds around within the agency and redirect them to the Arts Commission. If it remains a standalone commission, the chances of restored funding are very slim.
Update: Senator Faust-Goudeau has been appointed to the newly formed body overseeing the Arts Commission; Learn more about supporting the Arts in Kansas here.