On behalf of the Sikeston Cultural Development Corporation, I wish to announce that the Missouri Arts Council (MAC) has awarded the Sikeston Depot Museum a vitally important grant award of $4,699. These funds will be used to support our monthly art shows and artists' workshops, book lectures and art classes.
Created in 1965 and therefore the second-oldest art agency in the nation, it is the Missouri Arts Council that makes possible quality arts programming - to both large and small towns - for all the people in Missouri. As a state agency under the Department of Economic Development, MAC grants fund art organizations through general revenues appropriated by the state legislature. While this grant comes as good news, there is a fundamental concern that can seriously affect the future of the Depot and many other arts organizations statewide.
People need to be aware that current funding for the Missouri Arts Council has been decreased statewide to only $500,000. As a result, Missouri ranks 56th in per capita spending on the arts out of 56 state and territorial agencies.
In 2001, the Missouri Arts Council ranked 14th and was appropriated $5.9 million by the state legislature.
In order to continue to fund grants, MAC has been forced to invade the Missouri Cultural Trust, the state's endowment for the arts. Trust funds will soon be depleted, putting many art organizations in our state in jeopardy.
Funding for the Missouri Arts Council is the lifeblood of community programs that make the life-enhancing arts available for all Missouri citizens. I request that every concerned citizen - indeed anyone who cares about music, dance and visual arts - to contact our legislators and urge them to support the Missouri Arts Council and adequately fund the arts for Missourians.
Delilah Tayloe, curator
Sikeston Depot Museum