New arts commission criticized for not using funds


TOPEKA, Kan. -- Some state lawmakers are criticizing the new Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission for not disbursing funds to local arts groups.

Lawmakers authorized $700,000 for the commission, to replace arts funding that had been vetoed earlier by Gov. Sam Brownback.

Peter Jasso, director of the commission, told lawmakers Wednesday that only $30,000 has been spent so far, on administrative costs and membership in the National Association of State Arts Agencies.

He said the rest of the money won't be distributed to local arts groups until a strategic plan for arts funding is completed by the end of the year.

Some lawmakers said that decision has left local arts groups who depend on funding in a difficult situation. But others agreed a plan was needed before funds go out.