The use of public dollars for arts and culture has run into trouble at the Statehouse in recent years and faces new uncertainty at Sedgwick County. So there was relief and satisfaction in seeing the Wichita City Council vote 7-0 Tuesday to approve the cultural funding committee’s recommendations that in 2016 the city provide 23 cultural funding operational grants, three developing arts grants and five artist access grants totaling about $400,000. That’s on top of the operational help the city offers as part of its partnerships with eight organizations, for a total of $4.2 million in cultural support next year (up from $4.1 million for 2015). If council members can treat the city’s annual dedication of 1.31 property tax mills for the arts as routine these days, it’s because of the hard work the Arts Council, arts and cultural services director John D’Angelo and the cultural funding committee have done in the past decade to make the grant process both merit-based and fair. – Rhonda Holman
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