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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Missouri & the Arts

Snowed overnight, but the results were not that bad. For the most part roads were good this morning about town. At least the ones I drove on.

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I saw an article from the K.C. Star on Sunday in the arts section that painted a really dismal picture of Missouri and support for the arts. It seems that the Missouri Arts Council is the second oldest state arts council in the nation. In the 1990's the state legislature routinely budgeted between $4.5 million and $5.6 million annually. Now, the state gives it less than $500,000 a year.

I was appalled to see that the state now ranks 49th for spending in the nation for arts. A paltry 8 cents per person. Even the territory of Guam spends more on art. This is a big turnaround from being a state that at the outset was an innovative driving force in support of the arts.

I am well aware that the state has faced major cuts in critical programs but it seems to me less than a half a million a year is appalling. If the legislature cannot budget more from state funds, they could lend their efforts to working for funds from the private sector. There is a lot Missouri has to offer the arts. Our history is rich with poets and writers. Paint artists, musicians, and so on.
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