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Brownback signs bill creating new arts commission


By The Hays Daily News.

By The Hays Daily News.

TOPEKA -- Governor Sam Brownback on Thursday signed the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission into law. The move consolidates the Kansas Arts Commission with the Kansas Film Commission.

The newly created commission will fall under the auspices of the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Last year, Brownback vetoed the Kansas Arts Commission's budget of nearly $700,000, creating an outcry among arts advocates and resulting in the loss of an estimated $1.2 million in matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and Mid-America Arts Alliance. A private organization, the Kansas Arts Foundation, was created by the governor instead to raise fund. This session, the Legislature also approved an "arts check-off" on the state's income tax form allowing residents to donate to the arts. Neither of those efforts were very successful.

"We are pleased that Governor Brownback signed the bill creating the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission. The creation of the new agency has been a collaborative effort between the Governor, legislators and arts advocates, resulting in the successful passage of legislation that all Kansans can be proud of," said Henry Schwaller, Hays, chairman of Kansas Citizens for the Arts.

Schwaller was chairman of the Kansas Arts Commission when Brownback eliminated the agency.

"This is an important step to building a stronger 21st century Kansas economy based on highly skilled, creative industry jobs. The new commission will also serve a vital role in developing creative skills in the Kansas workforce, as well as fostering entrepreneurship in all communities," Schwaller added. "The new commission's success relies on the approval of the $700,000 appropriation allocated by the Kansas Legislature and the hiring of qualified staff. This is necessary to create an agency that is successful in promoting the arts and restoring federal matching funds which are key to support job creation and thriving communities."