Arts endeavors demand support

Garden City Arts' gallery doors are closing. That's the word around town. Rumors often have a basis of truth. Here's the truth: Gov. Sam Brownback deflated the Kansas Arts Commission. Garden City Arts lost a significant source of operating revenue, which helped pay rent, utilities and payroll for four employees. While Gov. Brownback did not put our local arts to death, he did cause an unexpected stumble.

Founded as a non-profit organization, Garden City Arts' mission is to enrich lives and encourage creativity through the arts. Basically, we want to make home a better place. We live in southwest Kansas. There is no river. A fresh aroma of money often escapes the local feedlots and greets us as we exit the movie theater. We have one of the largest meatpacking plants in the world. Good for us.

On the flip side, we are home to one of the finest zoos in the state. We have an awesome Vietnamese restaurant. No one can say that their swimming pool is bigger than ours. There is a new high school being built on the edge of town, and yeah, it cost an arm, a leg and an eye. But, it will be something to be proud of when finished.

And, we have an art gallery.

The gallery at 318 Main St. offers local artists a chance to display and sell their work. It also offers the opportunity for the public to view and purchase artwork without having to drive to a metropolitan area. During the week, we have a regular line of window shoppers. That's about it. Traffic is down. Sales are down.

So, as we struggle to keep our door open, we wonder if the community wants us to. Gov. Brownback was confident the Arts will continue to flourish through private donations, but we are yet to see them. Previously, the Kansas Arts Commission collected about 24 cents from each Kansas resident and distributed the collected funds to the various art organizations throughout the state. When the cut came, we stood firm. We had no intention of going down with the ship.

Yet here we are, struggling. So, we want to know what the community thinks. Does Garden City need an art gallery? Vote at www.surveymonkey.com/s/Y7VBXDS.

It is easy to point fingers of blame, but in all honesty, this is not the governor's fault though his cut of the Kansas Arts Commission was certainly unfortunate. Financial distress is the result of low sales and a stunted membership. An individual membership is only $35 for the year. If you can't donate cash, donate time. The board of directors is shorthanded and volunteers are few. Without local participation, Garden City Arts cannot exist.

Support the arts. And as the holidays roll around, keep us in mind. We offer one-of-a-kind gifts. Visit the gallery during our new hours: noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Contact by phone at: 620-260-9700 or email: gardencityarts@gmail.com.

Our doors are open for now.

BRIAN NELSON,

Garden City

Nelson, gallery manager of the ArtsCenter on Main, submitted this letter with the endorsement of the Garden City Arts board of directors.

Elected officials fail constituents

Is this the way to have a governor act? This sounds like a snake oil salesman that is trying to eliminate the poor. If our legislature even attempts to pass this bill, then we should simply remove those officials from office that vote for this bill, or have them pay all increased costs. It is time for the state legislature and the federal Congress to vote for what is best for the people. If they do not, then they need to be recalled, new people appointed and a new vote taken. If the T-Party wants something to do, let them work on that. This is one of those cases where we, the people, need to start at the bottom and work up. We have elected officials that never vote on any bill, and a bunch that never votes on some bills.

All elected officials need to vote on all bills, or they need recalled. There are colleges and research groups that would enjoy helping those who need help in understanding the presented bills. Here we are talking about a group of people that are on the bottom step of the income ladder.

There is no more money to pay any kind of increase in taxes and yet we keep slapping them with a debt increase. We call this the United States of America. The land of freedom and justice. What can the elected officials do? For one thing, they can think about what they are voting for.

HAROLD STARR,

Garden City