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Kansas won't see matching arts funding until 2013

6/7/2012

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Even though next fiscal year's budget restores $700,000 in arts funding, it will be at least a year before federal and regional matching funds will return to Kansas, the executive director of a regional arts foundation said.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Even though next fiscal year's budget restores $700,000 in arts funding, it will be at least a year before federal and regional matching funds will return to Kansas, the executive director of a regional arts foundation said.

Kansas won't get any matching funds in fiscal 2013, said Mary Kennedy, executive director of the Mid-America Arts Alliance. The regional arts group, along with the National Endowment for the Arts, supplied matching grants, programs and services until Gov. Sam Brownback deleted arts funding from the state budget a year ago, The Wichita Eagle reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/NMUA4q).

"This is sort of an interim year for them to basically get ramped up and back in the mix," Kennedy said.

The budget for fiscal year 2013 includes $700,000 for the new Creative Arts Industries Commission, which will combine the Kansas Arts Commission and the Kansas Film Commission within the Department of Commerce. The money comes from gambling revenues.

The commission won't exist until the new fiscal year starts July 1, said Dan Lara, spokesman for the commerce department. After an 11-member advisory board is appointed by Brownback and the Legislature, the commission will formulate guidelines for arts groups to apply for money and begin seeking matching funds.

Kansas became the first state in the nation to stop funding the arts last year when Brownback vetoed $700,000 for the former arts commission. It cost the state about $800,000 from the NEA and $400,000 from the Mid-America Arts Alliance because the organizations determined the state no longer met their criteria for partnership.

The Mid-America Arts Alliance devised a new policy for reinstating its funds because of the governor's actions, Kennedy said. The policy requires Kansas to take several steps by Oct. 1 to be eligible for NEA and Mid-America Arts Alliance funding by 2014.

The state has to select its new commission, hire three full-time staffers, develop an NEA-approved state arts plan and apply for partnership with the NEA.

The yearlong delay might be beneficial for Kansas because the arts alliance is modifying its programs and increasing its fundraising, Kennedy said.

"They could benefit at a higher level than they have in the past," she said.