Columbia arts win big

$240,849 in grants are awarded to local nonprofit programs.
Thursday, July 8, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:33 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Concerts, festivals and other arts programming in Columbia received a boost from a Missouri Arts Council program that awarded $240,849 in grants to 15 non-profit organizations. The money given to Columbia represents almost one-eighth of the more than $2 million awarded statewide.

MAC gave 248 awards across the state in the first phase of grants for the 2005 fiscal year, which began July 1.

With an $11,298 grant for music programming from MAC, the Missouri Symphony Society will continue to sponsor its seven-week Summer Music Festival.

“We were ranked third throughout the state out of 57 music organizations competing for funding,” said David White, executive director of the Missouri Symphony Society and the Missouri Theatre. “It’s kind of a feather in our cap.”

The Missouri Folk Arts Program received a grant for arts services, given to organizations that offer statewide services. MFAP received $85,000 to provide funding for its Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program — which allows folk artists to learn from masters in the field —technical assistance for performances and special projects, said Lisa Higgins, director of MFAP.

“We are affiliated staff of the arts council,” Higgins said. “We provide a service they can’t provide in-house.”

MAC also awarded a $56,000 arts services grant to the Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies. The organization works with arts councils around the state, providing workshops, training and technical assistance to about 54 communities statewide, said Nola Ruth, executive director of MACAA.

Ruth said the organization’s funding level remained stable from last year’s grant, allowing the same programming to continue this year.

The “We Always Swing” Jazz Series received $8,799 from the arts council. Jon Poses, executive director of the project, said the funding would go toward concert presentations and educational programs, in addition to publishing the “Jazz Series Review,” a free newspaper about the project’s events and other jazz-related news.

“We didn’t receive the amount we requested, but we’re happy with the funding level,” Poses said.

Poses also said the jazz series, as the only out-state jazz project in Missouri, would use the funds to off-set the costs of production to provide concerts and other programs to the public.

Deborah Edelman, program specialist for MAC, said providing these grants has created some financial difficulty. Although the state appropriated $500,000 from general revenue to MAC this year — compared with no funding last year — the rest of the money had to be withdrawn from the Missouri Cultural Trust, the state’s endowment to stabilize cultural programming.

“That was not the original intent of the endowment,” Edelman said. “It’s not good business practice to have to withdraw from the trust.”

Edelman said at the height of state funding, MAC received $5.9 million to award in grants. Edelman said the number of awards given to Columbia organizations has not changed during the past few years.

Grants were awarded in 16 categories, including arts services, literature, music, theater and visual arts.

Several citizen advisory panels were formed to review and score funding applications from each organization, based on artistic quality, community involvement and management ability.

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