Group promotes Columbia’s art culture

Friday, June 22, 2007 | 2:00 p.m. CDT; updated 9:06 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Members of Columbia’s art community want their group to stand out.

The members of the Imagine Columbia’s Future arts and culture group of spent half an hour at a meeting Wednesday night deciding on a designation — an alliance.


Wednesday’s meeting of the Imagine Columbia’s Future arts and culture group resulted in the creation of a vision statement and 13 citizen topic groups. Vision statement: “Arts and culture resources, artists, and institutions are accessible to all, are supported by the community, and provide a rich network of creative opportunities.” Citizen Topic Groups: Arts and Culture, Community Character, Community Facilities and Services, Community Pride and Human Relations, Development, Downtown, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Governance/Decision-making, Health and Social Services and Affordable Housing, Parks, Recreation and Greenways, and Transportation.

Wednesday’s meeting was the last of six held to finalize goals and strategies for the future of Columbia’s art culture.

Imagine Columbia’s Future was started in 2006 to help Columbia residents express their visions for the community. The formation and implementation of that vision is in the hands of the citizen topic groups.

The 13 citizen topic groups were created to implement ideas for the future based on answers from 360 exit questionnaires filled out at the two Big Idea Gathering meetings held in November and December.

Chris Stevens, owner of PS: Gallery and a member of the city’s Cultural Affairs Committee, said events like the True/False Film Festival are already making Columbia a prime destination for people interested in the arts.

“There’s that old attitude that I have to go out of town to find good culture, but I think that’s changing,” Stevens said. “I think people are starting to realize that we have some great things right here,” he said.

One common concern of Columbia residents was that the alliance would overlap in duties of existing arts organizations. But Stevens said residents need not worry.

“The Office of Cultural Affairs does not raise funds lobbying for arts,” he said. “They are stretched as it is,” he said.

The alliance also wants to increase participation in the arts to reflect the city’s diversity and make arts and culture accessible to all Columbia residents.

The Arts and Culture topic group will submit their vision statements, goals, strategies and action plans to the public in September at the Community Choices Vision Summit. The community will be asked to decide the most important goals and provide suggestions as well as volunteer to help implementing them.

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