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Missouri Arts Council names recipients of $4.2 million in grants

(Courtesy: St. Louis Symphony)
St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra

The Missouri Arts Council is giving away $4.2 million in grants in the coming year. The funding is slightly less than last year’s allotment. According to the council’s executive director Michael Donovan, the lower amount is the result of static funding from state government.

“We were also spending money down that was in a cultural trust, and this is at the request of the legislature. So this year, since that money’s been spent down over the years, we didn’t have as much this year to spend down as we did the previous year,” said Donovan.

Funding from the Missouri Arts Council has hovered around $4.5 million since the organization lost one-third its funding a few years ago. The funding will be distributed throughout the state to organizations like PAKT Community Resource Center in Ferguson, the Saint Louis Brass Band in Foristell, HEARDing Cats Collective in St. Louisand more. The Saint Louis Art Museum and the St. Louis Symphony will receive the most funding of area organizations. Each will receive over $100,000.  

Missouri Arts Council distribution by year:

  • 2016 – $4.2 million - annual n/a until fiscal year end
  • 2015 – $4.9 million total – annual is $4,314,299
  • 2014 – $4.8 million total – annual is $4,495,503
  • 2013 – $4.3 million total – annual is $4,055,292
  • 2012 – $6.7 million total – annual is $6,252,458

Donovan said these funds are integral to maintaining the arts community and providing access to the arts throughout the state. He said the funding is important because exposure to the arts has real world applications.

 “For people, it helps them live a healthier life. People who are in medical situations who are doing art or participating in art, don’t need as much medication for example. We know that in the schools the arts are increasing standardized test scores,” he said.

His assertions are supported by a 2010 National Institute of Health study and a 2013 study from Mississippi State University study. The funding will go to institutions that foster creativity and provide better access to the arts through transportation initiatives.

“It’s important that the arts not just be there for people that can afford it or people who live nearby, because this is a big state and almost half the state is rural,” said Donovan.

He also stressed that the arts improve tourism which generates additional area income and provides more jobs.

According to Donovan state support of the arts council remains steady but legislative instruction to spend down the council’s trust leaves it with less to distribute this year. This year, 360 organizations will be receiving funds. That number is a slight increase from last year's recipients, however the decreased overall amount of funding distributed means the money will be spread across a wider number of recipients.