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Richard Crowson Commentary

Crowson: 40,000 Years Behind the Times

The Governor and his legislative cohorts did it again. They deprived Kansas of $800,000 in arts funding from the NEA and Mid-America Arts Alliance, all because they didn’t allocate enough state matching funds.

For 40,000 years, humankind has appreciated the arts. That’s how old the earliest cave paintings are. I wondered if those early humans had to deal with folks who undermine the arts like we do.

 I stopped in at Make ICT, a nearby maker space, and asked some of the younger, sharper minds there to create a time machine for me. They whipped one up in an hour. I popped inside and went back in time.

A cave couple was busy painting a beautiful mammoth on their cave wall.

I asked them, “Do you have trouble getting folks to see the value in the arts like we do in modern-day Kansas?”

The cave woman put down her brush.

She said, “Most folks realize that art is a quality-of-life issue.”

“It attracts others to our cave who have other skills. It’s an economic incentive disguised as aesthetic enhancement. We all prosper from it.”

Her cave-mate said, “Well. Every now and then we get someone who wants to paint over our drawing and leave our walls all barren and dull. That just makes our cave unlivable! When they get tired of the desolation after everybody has left, then they usually come around to our view: art makes brings life to things!”

I returned to Kansas in my time machine, thinking,“I guess there are some Kansas politicians who are stuck 40,000 years behind the times!”