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City arts grants scaled back ahead of budget cuts

City arts grants scaled back ahead of budget cuts

October 18th, 2018 by Nicole Roberts in Local News
Members of the Southside Philharmonic Orchestra rehearse Toru Takemitsu's "Treeline" on Sunday, May 6, 2018, at Helias Catholic High School. They are, from left, Margaret Davis, Terry Jones, Zane Henderson, Will Flowers and Izzak Green.

After the Jefferson City Council slashed the city's Cultural Arts Commission's budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the commission has decreased the grant amount for which local entities can apply.

The commission voted Tuesday to decrease the maximum amount for its mini-grants from $1,000 to $500 ahead of the 2019 fiscal year, which begins Nov. 1.

The mini-grants help fund "costs of providing services to artists and organizations and/or presenting and producing cultural programming for the public," according to the city's website.

Past mini-grant recipients include the Jefferson City Symphony Orchestra and Southside Philharmonic Orchestra, which used the funds to offset concerts expenses, and Thursday Night Live, which will use the grant to pay for makeup at its Zombie Night Live event Oct. 25.

The grants previously had been $500, but the commission voted last year to increase the amount to $1,000 due to its "healthy budget," said Amy Schroeder, community relations manager for the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

The smaller amount "could deter potential applicants," Schroeder said, adding she hopes that will not be the case since the commission wants the mini-grants to "positively impact the quality of Jefferson City cultural arts offering."

The Cultural Arts Commission is always accepting mini-grant applications. The application is available at

The City Council approved the fiscal year 2019 budget in September, setting aside $3,000 for the Cultural Arts Commission.

The commission received $6,000 annually in previous years but did not use all of those funds over the last two years, so they were carried over to the next fiscal year.

The Budget Committee originally asked the Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission to match the city's $3,000 so the Cultural Arts Commission could receive $6,000 next fiscal year. However, the Parks and Recreation Commission did not approve the $3,000 match.

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The Cultural Arts Commission spent more than $12,700 this fiscal year, said Schroeder, the city staff liaison to the commission. That budget included the $6,000 allocated from the city's General Fund in the 2018 fiscal year, as well as more than $6,700 that rolled over from previous years.

Not only did the commission fund about 10 mini-grants this fiscal year, but it also set aside funds for other activities like PorchFest, Thomas Jefferson Day and the upcoming In The Park After Dark on Saturday.

Schroeder said she will provide updates to the City Council and Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission — which oversees the Cultural Arts Commission — throughout the next fiscal year.

"I am hopeful they will consider allocating more funds when these reports show a community need," she said.

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