I am really starting to appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of this research program today. Comments from outsiders have been really thought provoking, and have really strengthened my research. After reviewing and replying to comments today, I feel my excitement about the project renewed! As a result of Adam’s comment, I found out that the Arts Council is likely receiving more funds this year than it did last year. However, Obama’s stimulus package is the sole source of funding. This state is contributing $0 to the SD Arts Council and the State Archeological Center, (their budgets are combined) while the Fed is providing $300,000 more than the council and archeological center requested. This funding is only temporary. An increase in tourism tax is supposed to fund the council for the following two years, but that is also temporary and unstable. Thus, I feel my research is even more important. Only three certain years remain to research whether or not the council is necessary for the state of South Dakota. Game on!
Ongoing Draft Paper June 29, 2009
On January of 2008, South Dakota Governor Michael Rounds gave the annual State of the State Address in Pierre South Dakota. While he called upon South Dakotans to be tenacious and unfailing in unstable economic times, he also addressed issues pertaining to the 2009 budget. December revenues fell $3 million short of projected revenues, adding to the state’s mounting financial difficulties. To balance the overstretched budget, Rounds proposed an approach which would streamline sales tax, expanding it to those who were previously exempt and bringing in additional funding. He also proposed a $46 million reduction in spending, cutting several programs, including the South Dakota Arts Council. In fiscal year 2008, the Arts Council received $635,988 state funds to support 8,608 events and 530 grants. Two months later, the funding was partially restored, allotting $10,756,506 to the Department of Tourism and Development, which resides over the South Dakota Arts Council. In addition to the partial restoration of funding, the state tourism tax was increased by .05% for the next two years to provide for both the Arts Council and the state’s Archeological Research Center.
The funding issues facing the South Dakota Arts Council were also facing arts councils in other states. North Carolina and Pennsylvania proposed arts and culture cuts in early 2009, some of which were still being contested into the summer months. In an economic climate that forces California to cut education funding by $40 billion and drives Michigan unemployment to 14%, the arts funding dilemma facing South Dakota appears nominal. However, the unstable economic conditions provide a rare opportunity to study the role of the Arts Council in South Dakota Communities. In order to understand this role, a brief history of the South Dakota Arts Council and the Artists in the Schools Program is in order.
In February of 1966, the South Dakota State Legislature passed an act establishing the South Dakota Arts Council. Later that year, the first federal funding reached the state in the form of a check for $25 thousand made possible through the National Endowment for the Arts. State Senator Dan Stuelpnagel of Yankton was placed in charge of appointing members to the Council. Notable members included Phyllis Kellar of Lead, Jeannette Lusk of Huron, and Warren M. Lee of Vermillion, who was elected chair. The Council later hired an executive director, Charlotte Carver, who had previously been the business manager for the Sioux Falls Symphony. The first few years of the Council marked the beginning of the community arts movement. Local arts councils began springing up across the state. In 1968, the state of South Dakota contributed its first funding to the Council. $18,000 in state monies was matched with $43,348 local funds.
In 1971 Dennis Holub joined the Council as program director. Under his guidance, the Artists in the Schools program began and developed. The program is designed to place a professional artist in a South Dakota school for a period of time, working with students and sharing his or her talent. Residencies may last anywhere from a day to an entire school year, and may or may not act in place of a hired art teacher.
 Rounds speech
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 annual report
 Huseboe, Art
The Background June 26, 2009
This week, I began to put together the information surrounding this years state budget issues. I originally didn’t think it was necessarily important to my project, but I have since changed my mind. I’ve found some really interesting information in Governor Rounds’ speeches. In December, he gave a speech foreshadowing the budget issues. December’s state revenues were $3 million lower than projected. With revenues down and additional spending mandated by the federal government, South Dakota needed to cut $49 million dollars from its budget. Thus, Governor Rounds’ next budget did not include funding for the South Dakota Arts Council or the State Archeology Center. However, with the federal stimulus money and a temporary .5% increase in tourism tax, both are partially funded.
I also found that three other states considered cutting arts funding in 2009-Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona. Some of which are still in the process of debating it. I really has been difficult year for most states. South Dakota is in relatively good shape compared to states like California and Iowa. Both cut education aid by several million dollars. I think the information that I’ve recently found reaffirms that this is the perfect time to study arts impact, especially when legislators and making such tough decisions.
Link to survey June 22, 2009
Last week, I received two comments requesting I post the links to the surveys.
This is the link to the Teacher Survey:
<a href=”http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=dDJgySmHCnYeMUd_2fNX0apQ_3d_3d”>Click Here to take survey</a>
This is the link to the Artist Survey:
<a href=”http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=tAxD_2bf_2f_2fyKrHH1xuBWaArA_3d_3d”>Click Here to take survey</a>
Katie posed some good questions in her comment that I’d like to address. First of all, the Artists in the Schools program brings professional local artists into the schools to work with students for various amounts of time. (day, week, semester) This way, the program not only benefits students, but artists who chose to stay in South Dakota. This is partly why I am so interested in the program. After living in Nashville for a year, I’ve decided that I might try to make it as a folk artist in my home state. Last weekend, I played at a tiny folk fest in rural Iowa with a singer/songwriter from Iowa City. He said he’s been involved with the Iowa Arts Council Programs for 25 years, and that programs such as Artists in the Schools, Touring Artists, and the Touring Six (a touring program that visits towns under 1,100) made up one third of his income throughout much of the 80’s. Meeting this musician reminded me of why I was originally interested in the Arts Council in the first place. While much of my research centers around the importance of the Artists in the Schools Program to students, the additional comments on my survey show that artists who struggle to stay in South Dakota heavily depend upon the program as well.
The following are a few of the comments I’ve received at the end of the survey:
“It’s a fantastic program because it brings experts into the schools. The depth of knowledge in their subject areas is difficult to match in art, music and core classes because the teachers just do not have the experience. The diversity of offerings each year are perhaps the best part of the program. It would be a shame if this program were not funded.”
“We are saddened that our district has dropped matched-funding for Artists in the Schools. At Dakota, we believe in the program so much that we want to try and raise money on our own to invite artists like Mark Zimmerman and Mary Wipf back. It is important for students to experience the love and gift of art through artists besides their art teacher (if they have one at all). In a state that profits from one the largest pieces of art in the world (Mt. Rushmore) it is disappointing that we not value art education more. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts.”
Abstract: Due to funding dilemmas in the South Dakota State Legislature, the role of the state in funding the arts has come into question. In February of 2009, Governor Michael Rounds proposed a budget plan that did not include annual funding for the state arts council which had been in existence since 1966. This article follows a study of the social and economic impact of the South Dakota Arts Council, specifically, the effectiveness of the council’s Artists in the Schools Program. A survey conducted among thirty artists in the program found that 85% believe that the program is crucial to arts education in South Dakota. A survey of fifty teachers working in schools which host the program found that 90% believe that the artists in the schools program is an effective use of class time and 90% believed that the Artists in the Schools Program is an efficient use of state funds. The large proportion of survey participants who chose to reveal their own personal experiences with the program suggests that the Artists in the Schools program is an effective and essential part of arts education in South Dakota Schools. With the social impact of the Artists in the Schools Program revealed by the artists and teachers survey, the economic impact was derived from figures found in the council’s annual reports. While all of the Council’s 2008 activities generated local matching funds of $13.7 million, the Artist in the Schools Program generated $153, 806 of local money. The average cost to an involved student was found to be just above $8.50.
The Survey June 19, 2009
In response to Karl’s comment, I have realized I need to explain my survey in greater detail. I have designed two surveys to better understand the effectiveness of the South Dakota Arts Council’s Artists in the Schools Program. The program brings an artist into a school for day, week, or even a semester. While present, the artist gives presentations and works with students on visual or theatrical projects. The SDAC funds half of the residency, while the school is responsible for the other half. One of the surveys is targeted towards the artists involved in the program. It questions their experience in the program, and whether or not they believe arts programs should be funded by the state. The other survey is aimed at teachers. It asks questions such as “Is the program worth giving up valuable class time?” and “Does the program bring arts to students who would not otherwise be exposed?” By surveying both those involved with the program and those who see it first hand as an outsider (teachers do not generally make the decisions as to whether or not the program comes to their school) I intend to gain a solid understanding of the effectiveness of the program. Do students benefit? Is it worth the tax payer money? Is the program absolutely crucial to arts education in South Dakota? And finally, is the state responsible for funding such programs? The results thus far are strongly in favor of the program, but certain statistical errors have not yet been taken into consideration.
Seeing Results June 16, 2009
Near the end of last week, I began collecting the results of my Artist in the Schools survey. Results are astounding! Nearly every participant opted to add additional comments at the end of the survey. These may prove to be the most valuable information collected. Many teachers who were surveyed wanted to share their own personal experience with an artist coming to their classrooms. Most believed that the program was an invaluable experience for students. One teacher even shared how she and other teachers had worked to raise matching funds to bring artists to her school when the district did not provide the money. Getting feedback from teachers is crucial to coming up with credible information. The teachers who are involved with the program are not usually involved with bringing the program to the school and must give up valuable class time for the artist’s presentations.
The results from my survey to the artists involved with the program produced similar results. Nearly everyone chose to add additional comments about their personal experience with the program and their beliefs about arts in the schools. Results are still coming in! Each additional survey comment is exciting and interesting to me. I can’t wait until they are all in.