The impact of the federal arts endowment in South Dakota

Posted on: April 27, 2017

“Mostly rural states like South Dakota could have outsize importance in deciding the fate of the National Endowment for the Arts,” which President Trump’s budget has marked for elimination, writes Michael Cooper in Tuesday’s (4/25) New York Times. “South Dakota, which has fewer than a million people, received the fifth-highest amount of federal arts money per person in the nation last year, and the endowment’s generally small grants can have a bigger impact here.… The endowment sent the state $966,600 last year, most of which went to South Dakota’s arts council, which gets roughly half the money it disperses here from Washington.” Bruce Knowles, music director of the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra in Rapid City, “said he worried that losing the National Endowment would leave local groups competing with one another [for] the same small group of donors.… ‘They call it an elitist thing,” Mr. Knowles said of the orchestra, which is more than 80 years old. “And you know, around here, it’s not. If it were to go away, you’d have to drive almost six hours to Sioux Falls.… Most people around here can’t afford to do that.’ ”

Posted April 27, 2017