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New Kansas Arts Commission Gives First Grants To 8 Organizations

courtesy of The Culture House

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.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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