Sunday, July 31, 2011

New York Times Arts Beat: As States Struggle, How Much For the Arts?

Erika Nelson, an artist from Lucas, Kan., drives The World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things, her mobile art museum.
Should state governments be in the business of funding the arts, particularly in hard times when they are struggling to fill potholes?

Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas has answered this question loud and clear. In May, he vetoed the legislature's $689,000 appropriation for the state arts commission, thus eliminating the state's funding for culture in one fell swoop.

Read the rest of the story on the NYT Arts Beat blog:


Marlin Mackley said...

I like the arts to flourish, but I am also fiscally conservative. I have worked in the arts for nearly 30 years (building pipe organs) and outside of the church customer's non-profit status I don't think the government did any direct funding. Also, with the Kohler Foundation (congrats on their work on "Eden" BTW) and similar organizations stepping to the plate I think the artistic world will do just fine without being beholden to the government.

World's Largest Things, Inc. said...

Gonna have to disagree with you on that one, Marlin. The Arts will survive no matter what, but state and/or gov. funding ensures that it is valued as the cultural resource that it is, as a part of the social fabric. The programs provided by state and national programs makes the Arts available to the underserved, the underfunded, the masses, taking it out of the reserve of the wealthy.

When we only have private or corporate sponsored art, the artists and arts organizations (especially small ones that benefitted most from the KAC programming, who usually don't have the corporate or private funding connections)suffer. The programs that did exist enabled those organizations and artists to create programming that supplemented learning (often filling in where school budgets have been cut), programs focusing on building community with at-risk populations, giving underserved communities access to artworks and performances that would otherwise be out of reach.

I don't see many private foundations or corporations that have that sort of goal or scope in their funding of projects. Yes, there are some, (Thank you Kohler!), but it's a whole 'nother ball game.

And, that doesn't even take in to account the matching monies lost to the state (a fiscally unsound decision by anyone's reckoning!!)