COLUMBUS, Kan. —
Although the amount is small, Laura Lowry-Greene said a $300 grant she received recently symbolizes a milestone.
“It will be used to bring a group of 60 artists in the Joplin Regional Artists Coalition to town for a monthlong exhibition, and it is the first time they have taken their show out of Missouri,” Lowry-Greene said.
The grant, awarded last week by the Cherokee County Commission and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, is the latest in an effort that began several years ago to bring tourists to the area.
The exhibition could help stimulate the local economy because of the visitors it will draw, many of whom also will eat and buy gas while in town, Lowry-Greene said.
The art exhibit will be at the Maple Uncommon Hotel & Art Gallery, 120 E. Maple St., where Lowry-Greene has for five years staged smaller exhibits with her own money. She said she receives no commission fees.
“I’m trying to generate as much enthusiasm as I can for arts in this area. I really believe it enhances the quality of life for the community and it brings people into town and a reason to stay over,” she said. “That’s why I’ve been willing to pay for it out of my own pocket.”
The grants program is open to any organization in the county planning an activity that would bring in visitors.
RECENT RECIPIENTS of small grants include the Baxter Springs Heritage Center for a commemorative Civil War weekend in October, the Galena Fire Department for the annual Galena Days celebration, and the Snowball Classic, which is a youth basketball tournament held each weekend during February and March.