The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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February 5, 2014

Missouri Arts Council honors Art Feeds founder

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Meg Bourne Hulsey — founder and executive director of Joplin-based Art Feeds — was honored Wednesday by the Missouri Arts Council for her contributions to art education in the state.

Hulsey, 25, was recognized at the state Capitol for her work with Art Feeds, an organization that goes into local schools weekly and offers a therapeutic arts curriculum. To date, Art Feeds has worked with more than 17,000 students.

Sharon Beshore, president of the Missouri Arts Council board, lauded Hulsey’s efforts, particularly after the 2011 tornado in Joplin.

“She’s worked tirelessly to help children overcome hardship,” said Beshore, of Carthage.

In her acceptance speech, Hulsey said Art Feeds aims to help children who may not be great at traditional academic activities express themselves in a different way.

“All students aren’t measured with the same measuring stick,” she said.

Hulsey recalled helping her first student when she was 19 years old.

“He couldn’t write his ABCs, but he could paint them,” she said. “Starting with him, we envisioned an environment for students where their creativity was valued.”

Hulsey was one of six people or groups honored for their contributions to the arts.

The Missouri Arts Council also holds an annual meeting in Jefferson City at which its members advocate for full funding for the arts in the state. Missouri has a designated tax paid by entertainers and athletes that is supposed to be sent directly to state-funded arts programs, but the programs have never been fully funded.

“What we’re asking for is the Arts and Entertainment Fund to be funded the way the statute says,” Secretary of State Jason Kander said during the ceremonies Wednesday. “These honorees represent the best of Missouri.”

More than half of the fund goes to the Missouri Arts Council Trust Fund, while 10 percent each goes to the Missouri Humanities Council, public libraries, public broadcasting and the State Historic Preservation Office.

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