Secrecy won’t help arts groups regain trust

Gov. Sam Brownback caused a lot of damage when he vetoed state funding for the arts last year and laid off the staff of the Kansas Arts Commission, which also led to the loss of about $1.2 million in federal and regional arts grants. To his credit, Brownback reversed course this year and approved funding for a newly formed Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission. But as Sen. Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, warned last week, a lack of transparency at the new commission and at the private Kansas Arts Foundation could hurt efforts to regain trust. The arts officials wouldn’t provide lawmakers with details about how they are spending money or about the foundation’s fundraising efforts or what grants it has awarded. “The intent of promoting arts will be continuously downplayed as long as there is such secrecy,” Schodorf said.