The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 1, 2013

Our View: Paint a better picture

The Joplin Globe

— For 30 years, the Missouri Arts Awards have recognized individuals and organizations that have made profound and lasting contributions to the cultural and artistic climate of the state.

The city of Joplin was recognized last year for its efforts following the 2011 tornado with the 2012 Creative Community Award. Over the years, a number of individuals from our area have also been honored. We are fortunate to live in the midst of several communities where the arts — whether it be music, theater, sculpture, pottery, painting or dance — have a strong support system. There is recognition of the role the arts play in the overall picture of our economy.

People value the quality of life afforded to them by living in communities where there are opportunities to attend concerts and art shows. We believe a strong arts community equals a strong business community.

Next week the Missouri Arts Awards will present seven awards to organizations or individuals across the state. The Mount Vernon Regional Arts Council, a volunteer group active in promoting festivals, community theater and a new arts and recreation center, will be honored. Congratulations.

We take this opportunity today to call your attention to the importance of the arts because there are always attempts to throttle public funding when it comes to the arts.

Gov. Jay Nixon has recommended $4.2 million be allocated for the Missouri Cultural Trust Fund for fiscal year 2014. That money ensures the underwriting of local performances and projects. Check the program the next time you attend a local play or concert. Odds are a portion of it has received funding through the Missouri Arts Council.

In Missouri, the arts industry employs 14,893 individuals, and generates $19 million in local tax revenues and $30 million in state revenues.

We would encourage you to remind your state legislators of the importance of the arts and what a dull and ugly world it would be in the absence of its beauty.