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Facing More Public Funding Cuts, Kansas Arts Programs Have Seen This Playbook

If President Trump gets his way eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts as he has proposed in his budget, it would be another blow to a Kansas arts community that took a hit when state funding was eliminated a few years ago.

With that in mind,The New York Timessent a reporter to Hays, Kansas last month to see how the budget cuts have played out there. The online story, which has created a stir among local arts supporters, proclaimed Can the Arts Thrive without Washington? A Kansas Town says Yes.

The headline provoked a prompt rebuttal (The Arts in Kansas Depend on Federal Aid) from the directors of 19 arts groups across the state.

Brenda Meder, who heads the Hays Arts Counciland was the main source in the Times article, says the headline mischaracterized her message.

“I would never claim that they’ll thrive,” says Meder. “But I also know that they will survive — just like if all funding is cut off for roads in Kansas, we’ll still have roads. I don’t know what kind of roads they’ll be, but we’ll still have roads.”

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