Missouri Arts Council likely to see dramatic increase in funding

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Missouri Senate today approved an appropriation bill that dramatically increases state arts funding, a move that comes as leaders of the Missouri Arts Council are touring the state seeking public comments on their work.

The arts council will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. Friday at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, 32 N. Main St.

The legislation approved in Jefferson City includes $4.5 million more for the Missouri Arts Council Trust Fund, up from $3.3 million this year. The bill also more than doubles the funding for public broadcasting stations and the Missouri Humanities Council.

Spending on public broadcasting stations would increase to $1.3 million in the year beginning July 1, up from $550,000. The humanities council would also receive $1.3 million, up from $550,000.

The bill needs a final House vote before being sent to Gov. Matt Blunt for his signature. The increased funding was part of Blunt's original budget proposal.

The extra money will be used to provide $500,000 for arts programs in legislative districts that currently receive no funding, council executive director Beverly Strohmeyer said. The extra money in rural districts has a political component as part of the artistic purpose, she said.

"We feel that it is difficult to get legislators to support increased funding for us if there is no funding going into their districts," Strohmeyer said.

The public hearings are for comment on the arts council's strategic plan for the next four years. To read the strategic plan, go to the bulletin board at the arts council website, www.missouriartscouncil.org.

For more on the upcoming hearing in Cape Girardeau, check back at www.semissourian.com or read Thursday's Southeast Missourian.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: