Saturday, May 28, 2011

ARTS NEWS: Kansas Loses the Arts Commission

Governor Brownback (yes, that former Senator Brownback) has vetoed the Kansas Arts Commission. For full coverage, tune in to Createquity's post on the subject.

There isn't much to say beyond the obvious: the people of Kansas -- all of them -- are worse off because of this. As ARTSBlog points out, it's the first state without an arts agency, and by extension that the first time a Republican government has successfully achieved their goal: they've divested any responsibility over investment in culture.

There's one aspect of cultural policy which is "how much should the government invest" and "how should the government go about investing it. Another aspect is, "Should the government be involved in cultural policy?"

Kansas is now the first state to answer that question with "No."

UPDATE: Barry weighs in with rage and sorrow:
It is you and I, as individuals, who did not make those $20 checks out to local advocacy organizations. Oh we meant to didn’t we? But we didn’t do it. It is those performance and exhibition based arts organizations who didn’t join those same advocacy groups and who didn’t (and won’t) hold benefit performances or exhibitions for that effort. It is those larger cultural organizations who see too little in it for themselves and for whom the whole of the sector simply isn't a big enough priority. It is all those foundations that have refused to fund advocacy efforts – even as benign as modest efforts to train our core in how to advocate – pretending, ever so conveniently, that they were legally prohibited from engaging in anything that smacked of politics (an absolute falsehood and simply not fact), and their timidity is partly to blame -- much as we are for clinging to the lie that we cannot lobby, and cannot support candidates with money (we can legally do both if we just set up the right structure and follow the simple rules). Let me just shout that again out loud in the winsome hope that it will finally get through - because some of you just refuse to accept the law - WE CAN LEGALLY LOBBY and SUPPORT CANIDATES WITH MONEY. YES we can - [not as 501 (c) (3)s, but as 501 (c) (4)s and PACs!] Of course you have to be careful and judicious how you exploit this kind of power on your behalf - but how you use power is a different question than amassing it to begin with.