July 23, 2011

Six named to state's arts panel

Gov. Sam Brownback announced six appointments Friday to the 12-member Kansas Arts Commission. None of the six are artists.

Gov. Sam Brownback announced six appointments Friday to the 12-member Kansas Arts Commission. None of the six are artists.

The appointments are the latest move in an effort by Brownback — who failed in an attempt to kill the commission outright — to shift it away from disbursing government grants and toward raising private funds to support the arts.

The new commissioners include two lawyers, a nonprofit agency executive, a health care executive, the wife of the state's agriculture secretary, and a retired football player.

Brownback spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag said the new members are all supporters of the arts, have experience with raising money, and agree with Brownback's position that the arts should be privately funded.

The commission will work closely with the private Kansas Arts Council that Brownback created and that he had hoped would replace the commission.

The commission will remain the state's official arts agency and serve as a conduit for federal grants to the state from the National Endowment for the Arts, Jones-Sontag said. Brownback zeroed out funding for the commission with a budget veto and laid off its staff.

Those actions came after the state Senate stopped Brownback from disbanding the commission.

Rep. Nile Dillmore, D-Wichita, said that with the commission becoming primarily a fundraising unit and conduit for federal money, it probably makes sense to appoint attorneys and executives instead of artists.

"There really isn't much for them to do until they raise enough money to start getting some federal grant funding," Dillmore said.

Appointed to three-year terms were:

* Kathy Herzog, Wichita, who has a background in nursing and health care administration and is co-owner of a small business.

* Sandra Hartley, Concordia, an attorney and former national security analyst who incorporated the Miami County Arts Coalition and serves as its secretary.

* Ronda Rodman, McPherson, who has a background in floristry, landscape and animal agriculture. She is the wife of Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman.

* Cynda Wright, Hutchinson, who has leadership experience with several nonprofits in the fields of health care, community improvement and history.

* David Lindstrom, Overland Park, a retired Kansas City Chiefs football player who is now a Johnson County commissioner and member of DML Properties LLC, a commercial real estate leasing firm.

* Christopher F. Burger, Lawrence, a partner with the law firm of Stevens & Brand LLP in Lawrence.

Last month, Brownback appointed Linda Browning Weis of Manhattan as commission chairwoman. A former career music teacher, Weis now operates a real-estate brokerage with her husband.

The new commissioners will replace:

* Steven Curtis, a fine arts photographer from Kansas City.

* Kansas City blues musician Lemuel Sheppard.

* Former gubernatorial aide and onetime "Up With People" performer Vicki Buening.

* Mary Jane Myers of Leawood, a former teacher who has been active in a variety of theatrical, musical and visual arts organizations in the Kansas City area.

* Joan Cole, former Wichita City Council member and Wichita Arts Commission chairwoman.

* Kansas State University personnel administrator and attorney Susana Valdovinos of Topeka.

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