Gov. Justice says he wants to create Department of the Arts with Special Session

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has signed a bill that eliminates the Department of Education and the Arts, but said Thursday he wants to create a Department of the Arts and a curator to lead it.

Justice announced in a news conference that a special session will likely be held in May, but did not specify the date. In the session, a vote will take place to create a Department of the Arts and a curator of the arts position.

Justice wants to keep all of the art and cultural aspects that were a part of the Department of Education and the Arts, but move the Center for Professional Development to the Department of Education. Justice said by moving that to the Department of Education, there would be a savings of $2.6 million. The Division of Culture and History would likely be a part of the proposed Department of the Arts.

The bill, House Bill 4006, was signed Thursday. Justice ensured there would be no lapses in federal funding to any of the programs. He said in a news release that this would allow the state to continue to grow its arts programs.

“We want to preserve and aggressively grow our arts in West Virginia while at the same time making our education department, and government, more efficient and responsive,” Justice said in a news release.

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