Eight arts groups, including one in Olathe, will receive funding from the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission. This marks the first round of grants from the organization that rose from the ashes of the former state arts agency.
Two years ago, Gov. Sam Brownback filed an executive order abolishing the 45-year-old Kansas Arts Commission and eliminating state funding for arts programs. Two organizations – the private nonprofit Kansas Arts Foundation in 2011 and the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission in the Department of Commerce in 2012 – were created to fill the gap. But critics say grant funding has been slow.
To date, the Kansas Arts Foundation, which reportedly raised $105,000 in its first year, has distributed three grants totaling $6,500. And the Commission this week announced its first grants: $58,400 for eight groups across the state, including $10,000 to develop a flexible theater space at The Culture House in Olathe.
Both organizations cite startup costs or putting money aside for potential federal matches as part of the delay in distributing grants.
The Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission is expected to discuss larger grants on Friday. But a state budget signed by the Legislature only includes $200,000 for the Commission for each of the next two fiscal years - a $500,000 cut from fiscal year 2013.