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Ongoing draft paper-part II July 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jbuttke @ 4:06 am


            In 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 $86 million short of projected revenues, adding to the state’s mounting financial difficulties.[1] 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[2].  In fiscal year 2008, the Arts Council received $635,988 state funds supplemented with $608,200 from the National Endowment for the Arts.  In the 2010 budget, the council has been restored but is receiving no state funds.  Instead, the Arts Council Budget consists of federal stimulus dollars amounting to $1,834,371, nearly $300,000 more than was requested. In addition to directing a portion of the stimulus dollars to the Arts council, the state implemented a .05% increase in the tourism tax for the next two years to provide for both the Council and the state’s Archeological Research Center.[3] 

            The funding issues facing the South Dakota Arts Council are 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, specifically the Artists in the Schools Program.  This study ultimately aims to determine the effectiveness of the Artists in the Schools program in South Dakota. In order to understand the role of the Artists in the Schools program, a brief history of the Arts Council is in order.

History of the Arts Council

            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.[4] Governor Nils Boe 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, as 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.

Artists in the Schools Program

            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 local artist in a South Dakota school for a period of time, so that the artist may work with students and share his or her talent.  Residencies may last anywhere from a day to an entire school year, and aim to benefit the students indefinitely.  In the words of the Arts Council: “Artists can help teachers further develop arts curriculum and creative teaching of the arts…”[5] During fiscal year 2008, the creative arts consisted of visual arts, traditional arts, theater, dance, music, and literature.  The cost of bringing in an artist is split between the participating school and the Arts Council.  In fiscal year 2008, the council reported grants ranging from $500 to $3,593.28 according to the amount of time spent in the school.  Each amount was then matched by the host school. The South Dakota Arts Council also reported grant amounts for the Artists in the Communities, which has recently been included in the program, but is omitted from this study. These grants ranged from $200 to $1,987.68. Over the course of the year, the combined program held 4,230 events with a reported attendance of 34,288 people. This being said, the average cost per person in attendance was $8.65, and the average grant to an artists was $1,348.


            In order to determine the effectiveness of the South Dakota Arts Council’s Artists in the Schools program, this study measures the social impact of the program.  Two separate five question surveys were sent to the artists involved in the program and the teachers at the host schools. The five multiple choice questions were followed by a space for optional additional comment, which nearly half of the participants chose to use. The survey to the artists included questions regarding their experiences with the program and their opinions about the state funding the arts. Likewise, the teacher survey included questions about their experiences with the program and their perceived effectiveness of the program. Artist’s opinions were sought in the study because part of the mission statement of the program is to provide means for South Dakota artists to continue their work while staying in the area. Teacher’s opinions were included in the study because they act as bystanders, not personally participating in the program, but observing its impact on participating students and schools.


            Eighteen of the twenty-nine artists who are currently involved in the program responded to the survey.  Table 5-1 shows the first question

How long have you been a participant in the Artists in the Schools/Communities program?
Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count










More than 10yrs





[1] Rounds speech

[2] Ben Dunsmoor

© 2009 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved

[3] http://www.state.sd.us/drr2/pressrelease/businesstax/tourism%20tax%20309.pdf

[4] Huseboe, Art

[5] http://www.sdarts.org


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