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Arts Get Slight Funding Increase in Missouri

By Laura Spencer

Kansas City, MO – According to a study released in January, Missouri ranks 49th in per capita spending for the arts. But, arts officials say the recent legislative session could change that - if only slightly. The General Assembly approved Governor Blunt's recommendation for $500,000 in the next fiscal year for the Missouri Arts Council, the same funding level as the last three years. The budget also includes $3.3 million for the Cultural Trust Fund, marking an increase of $600,000. Executive Director Beverly Strohmeyer says it's an improvement, but unfortunately, arts organizations won't see much of a change.

Beverly Stroemeyer: "It's basically revenue neutral because what we're going to get in, we're going to spend out."

The Missouri Arts Council is a state agency that provides grants to arts organizations, and oversees the Cultural Trust Fund, which was created to provide a reliable funding source. Throughout the 1990s, the Arts Council received four to six million dollars each year from the legislature. It was zero-funded in 2004, and since then, the Trust Fund has been tapped to help support the more than 400 organizations each year.

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