Juneau artists hold up their work at a demonstration outside the Walter Soboleff Building protesting the budget cuts to the Alaska State Council on the Arts on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (Photo by Annie Bartholomew/KTOO)

The Alaska State Council on the Arts has been closed for over a week, a victim of Governor Mike Dunleavy’s line-item vetoes on June 28. The small staff of four – now laid off – continue to watch the Legislature and efforts in Juneau to restore funding.

The cut leaves Alaska as the only state without such an arts agency, which are tasked not only with managing state-funded projects but also grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and others.

Grantees for art projects all around the state, including in schools, appear — for now — to not be getting that funding, and Alaska State Arts Council Chair Benjamin Brown says the council continues to grapple with uncertainty.

Brown, who is also chair of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, says plans are being made to vacate the council’s Anchorage office and to complete grant reporting. Another difficult task will be recalling hundreds of pieces of art on loan from the Council’s art bank.

Editor’s note: Benjamin Brown is on the Board of Directors for Alaska Public Media.
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