Taxpayer-Funded Organizations Support Group Responsible for ‘All-Ages’ Kansas Drag Show

Candi Forest marches to the song âThe Ants Go Marching❠during story time with drag qu
Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Kansas Creative Arts & Industries Commission (KCAIC) and a Wichita NPR station, which both receive state and federal tax dollars, have supported an organization that hosted an “all-ages” Halloween drag show on Oct. 22. Sponsors of the event either downplay or deny their involvement.

The event, called “DADA Ball,” was held at Chainlink Gallery Place, part of the Harvester Arts organization, and advertised as a “free, all-ages evening of music, fashion, drag & dancing.” The first reported the story on Oct. 24, and alleged that the KCAIC, which is part of the Kansas Department of Commerce, was partially responsible for funding the show. Since the story was published, fact-checkers found that the KCAIC grant cited in the report was not actually used to directly fund the “all-ages” drag show. The $7,500 Visiting Artist Grant to Harvester Arts was instead used to support an individual artist’s work at Chainlink Gallery Place.

However, the KCAIC appears to have a history of funding Harvester Arts, the organization responsible for hosting the drag show. Harvester Arts’ website states that it has “received funding for general operational support from the City of Wichita, the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts,” which is a federal agency. The organization also says it received  funding from the KCAIC during the pandemic in 2020.

Moreover, the Interim Director of the KCAIC, Kate Van Steenhuyse, appears to be a co-founder of Harvester Arts. Both Steenhuyse’s LinkedIn page and the KCAIC website list her as the interim director. Harvester Arts appears to have removed Steenhuyse from its “Who We Are” page, though a cached version of the Harvester Arts website lists her as a co-founder. Local media names Steenhuyse in an article about Harvester Arts as recently as January 31, 2022, while her LinkedIn page says she has worked as interim director of KCAIC for more than two years. 

Breitbart News reached out to the Kansas Department of Commerce, Harvester Arts, and Steenhuyse for comment about how much funding KCAIC has given to Harvester Arts and about Steenhuyse’s current relationship with Harvester Arts given her position with the commission. No one responded by time of publication.

The Chainlink Gallery Place thanked event sponsors in a Facebook post, which include local NPR station KMUW and the Wichita State University (WSU) College of Fine Arts School of Art, Design and Creative Industries (ADCI).

Chainlink Gallery Place/Facebook

The full Facebook post can be seen below:

Wichita you don't wantto miss the 1st Dada Ball happeningTHIS SATURDAY 5:30-11pm!! It's a free, all-ages evening of…

Posted by Chainlink Gallery Place on Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Local NPR station KMUW, which receives state and federal funding, told Breitbart News that the KMUW “provides 15 second radio spots for non-profit events. These Media Sponsorships include the name of the event, time and place. No money is involved.”

The Wichita State University (WSU) College of Fine Arts School of Art, Design and Creative Industries (ADCI), also listed as a sponsor, said in a statement that the school did not sponsor the “all-ages drag show.” WSU did note it is “committed to the wellness and success of all students, faculty, staff and community members in their expression of gender and sexuality.” KMUW is notably licensed to Wichita State University, and WSU also receives state and federal funding.

“The WSU College of Fine Arts School of Art, Design and Creative Industries (ADCI) did not sponsor a drag show. There is a private philanthropic group known as the “WSU Art & Design Advocates” who may have donated funds in support of WSU fine arts students in a 3D design wearable art project that coincided with a drag show fashion event,” WSU said in a statement.

The statement continues:

KMUW is a public radio station hosted by Wichita State University. KMUW provides 15 second radio spots for non-profit events. These “Media Sponsorships” include the name of the event, time and place. No money was involved. These short radio spots announcing local community events are part of KMUW’s community outreach efforts.

Wichita State University is committed to preserving and supporting freedom of thought, speech, and expression on our campus and in our programs. The University is further committed to the wellness and success of all students, faculty, staff and community members in their expression of gender and sexuality.

The obtained images of the Oct. 22 event showing “scantily-clad drag performers dancing at the Wichita event in front of both adults and young children.”

Many drag performers also have a history of posting to social media about exposing children to drag shows, posting sexually explicit images, and glorifying Satanic imagery. On Jan. 18, 2020, performer Freddye Dollma Starr posted on Facebook that the “thought that drag is inherently something that must be kept from children enrages me.”

Fuck this, fuck Ben Baker, fuck conservatives and fuck evangelical christian bigots. The thought that drag is inherently…

Posted by Paris Nikk Starr on Saturday, January 18, 2020

On June 19, 2022, Starr posted a meme on Facebook of children being doused in a rainbow.

Posted by Paris Nikk Starr on Sunday, June 19, 2022

On Sept. 22, 2019, Effi Darling posted a drag photo with another performer on Instagram that depicted Satanic imagery. On Oct. 2, 2022, Darling posted a flyer on Facebook for a drag show that was marketed as “for all ages.”

Todays the day y’all come away with me

Posted by Effi Darling on Sunday, October 2, 2022

Performer FaeTality KO Kotoure shared a video on Facebook on June 6, 2022, of children attending a drag performance.

Posted by FaeTality KO Kotoure on Monday, June 6, 2022

On June 14, 2022, Deadnettle posted on Instagram that he was “sick of reading all this drivel about these proposed laws to ban minors from attending drag shows.”

Breitbart News additionally reached out to Kansas Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly’s reelection campaign and the Kansas GOP for comment but did not receive a response by time of publication.

Correction: This story was revised to clarify that the Kansas Creative Arts & Industries Commission did not fund the Halloween drag show, but rather had financially supported in the past the organization that hosted the event.


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