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Committee Discusses Fund for the Arts

By Laura Spencer

Kansas City, MO – With the growth of the arts scene in Kansas City, arts officials say there's a need for more public funding to sustain the arts - what they describe as the "powerful engine" of the local economy. An arts committee was created last month by Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes as a means of continuing a dialogue. KCUR's Laura Spencer attended the first meeting yesterday (July 11) and has this report.

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City council members and Mayor Kay Barnes met with Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City President Joan Israelite, Arts Council Chair David Oliver and others for the first monthly arts committee meeting. One of the topics of discussion: the city's role in helping to establish a United Arts Fund in Kansas City. Across the country, there are more than 70 United Arts Funds; the oldest is in Cincinnati and gives more than 10 million dollars a year to local arts organizations. David Oliver says there would need to be a metrowide partnership.

David Oliver: We cannot do this on our own...we need to bring in not only the city, but other businesses...to get them acclimated to thinking of using this arts fund for across the board funding for arts organizations.

A United Arts Fund promotes organized giving campaigns at workplaces, similar to a United Way campaign. And plans are underway to launch the fund in Kansas City this spring. Laura Spencer, KCUR News.

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