The arts are a significant economic force in the State of Missouri and a significant quality of life issue when recruiting businesses and people to locate in Missouri. That was the message that 30 Kansas Citians and over one hundred arts supporters from across the State of Missouri took to Jefferson City on Wednesday, February 11th as part of Arts Advocacy Day in the Capitol. Included in the trip was a briefing by Missouri Citizens for the Arts on its legislative agenda and encouragement from Jay Dick, Senior Director of State and Local Government at the Americans for the Arts.
Some of the issues discussed with our legislators included:
- Support of HB 117 which clarifies the sales tax exemption on ticket sales by not-for-profit groups.
- Support for funding the Missouri Cultural Trust as required by statute.
- Support for State matching funds for the Downtown Arts Campus for UMKC Conservatory of Music as provided by statute
- Support for funding the Missouri Fine Arts Academy for gifted high school students
- Support for funding for arts programs in Missouri schools.
Documenting our efforts were Steve Paul, Editorial Page Editor of the Kansas City Star and C.J. Janovy, Arts Reporter for KCUR Public Radio.
The Kansas City arts community needs to be heard not only on the annual legislative day trip but year around in public forums and in individual efforts. Many thanks go to Harlan Brownlee and Kathleen Daily who organized and led the delegation. Special thanks go out to Dean Peter Witte and a group of talented students from the UMKC Conservatory of Music who provided a noon hour concert in the Capitol Rotunda.
While the response from the legislators and the governor remain to be seen this year, we know that an organized and energetic advocacy does produce results.
Submitted by Mike Burke, Chair of the Mayor’s Task Force for the Arts