No federal grant money for Kansas Arts Commission

TOPEKA — The Kansas Arts Commission announced today that it will try to support state arts programs entirely with privately-raised funds after learning that the National Endowment for the Arts won’t match private dollars with federal grant money.

The announcement is the commission’s latest step to support the arts in the wake of Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to eliminate state funding for the commission, a move that led to the denial of roughly $800,000 in federal grant money from the NEA and about $400,000 from the Mid-American Arts Alliance.

Several arts advocates have expressed doubts about Kansas’ ability to support arts the way it has in the past without state funds, which are often required to receive federal grant money.

The commission now plans to go ahead with special Kansas Arts Supporters license plates as a way to raise money to support art education, festivals and other projects across the state. Commissioners plan to finalize details of that program at their December meeting.

They also agreed to continue the Governor’s Arts Awards program and to¬†explore a partnership with the Kansas Humanities Council to expand the Poet Laureate program.