The South Carolina Arts Commission Gets a Reprieve

The South Carolina House and Senate voted 105 to 8 and 32 to 6 to override Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto of the $1.9 million in funding that will keep the South Carolina Arts Commission alive and running for another year—a figure that, as the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies points out, is 0.032 percent of the state’s budget.

Some folks poked me about the necessity or wisdom of state arts agencies yesterday, so I’ll reiterate that I think these agencies are important to make sure there’s some equity in arts access, particularly in rural areas, to help bolster arts education, to provide useful peer review and grants to projects that can then leverage them for private-sector fundraising, and to support public art that can improve overall quality of life. And also, if you’re thinking strategically about the long-term argument between progressive and conservative worldviews, it’s conceding a lot of ground to walk away from programs where government investment is small as long as we think it might still be useful.