Commission distributes arts grants statewide


Garden City Arts gets $10,000 for Dia de los Muertos event.

Garden City Arts gets $10,000 for Dia de los Muertos event.

TOPEKA (AP) — After two years of not providing state funds for the arts, Kansas has awarded its second round of grants to arts projects throughout Kansas.

The Creative Arts Industries Commission announced Thursday that it was awarding nine grants worth about $350,000, a big increase from eight grants totaling $58,400 the commission awarded in July.

Kansas Department of Labor Secretary Lana Gordon, who is the commission's chairwoman, said the projects chosen are partnerships between arts, economic development and government organizations.

"Partnerships are critical to the success of the projects receiving grant funding," Gordon said in an email. "By working together, numerous organizations across Kansas are supporting the arts, generating strong economic activity in the state and contributing to a better quality of life for Kansans."

The grants awarded in July were the first state arts funding after a two-year break that began after Gov. Sam Brownback stopped funding for the Kansas Arts Commission, which no longer exists, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

The ending of state funding caused Kansas to lose regional and national arts grants. After heavy lobbying for funding to be restored, the state Legislature appropriated $700,000 to the new arts industries commission, which took months to devise new grant applications that included an economic development component.

With the state resuming arts funding, the National Endowment from the Arts and the Mid-America Arts Alliance recently announced they would renew their partnerships with Kansas.

The grants awarded Thursday include $10,000 for the Topeka Mural Project; $55,000 to the city of Waterville to restore a Marshall County opera house and $50,000 for Theatre Lawrence. A $75,000 grant for restoration of Gray's Studio in St. John was the largest grant awarded.

Other projects funded include $50,000 to Kansas City's InterUrban ArtHouse for creating studio space in downtown Overland Park; $50,000 to the William Inge Festival Foundation in Independence; $5,000 to the Goodland Arts Council for a permanent art exhibit and seasonal festivities in Chambers Park; $45,000 to the Newton Area Arts Council for a monthlong celebration of the arts in Harvey County; and $10,000 to Garden City Arts for a series of events centered on the traditional Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead.

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