Carl Schafer writes:
The Muncie Arts and Culture Council (MACC) has received major financial support of $100,000 from the city of Muncie. Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) funds were allocated by Mayor Sharon McShurley on December 14, 2011. “One can look around the state and country and see the economic impact of an active arts community. To take Muncie to the next level a real financial commitment needed to be made by the municipality. Now MACC has a financial foothold to lead the arts community throughout the city towards having a tremendous economic impact, “stated Mayor McShurley.
MACC incorporated in June of 2011 to raise awareness of Muncie’s abundant cultural offerings, to establish the Muncie Arts and Culture District, and to advocate for the arts as a major economic engine in the region.
The $100,000 allocation places the council on a solid financial footing giving it the ability to begin to accomplish its main objective which is to nurture the artistic community and position it as integral to the city’s quality of life and economic growth. The funds will be used over a period of years for operating expenses that can fulfill the matching dollars required by most grants. “Grants will be sought aggressively to carry on projects initiated by the council,” said Carl Schafer, Associate Director of the David Owsley Museum of Art, who is currently serving as the council’s president. “This commitment by the city demonstrates the municipal support necessary to make us eligible for state and federal funds.”
Projects undertaken by the council are guided by the Muncie Action Plan (MAP) and include pursuit of a statewide cultural district designation, creation of a comprehensive cultural event guide, and establishment of an Arts and Culture Trail that is bike and pedestrian friendly.
These funds will be added to project funds previously awarded by the city under the McShurley administration and funds provided by the Ball Brothers Foundation to establish and market the Muncie Arts and Culture District which was established by a proclamation of the city council in August 2009. The district comprises four areas of the city, Downtown, Minnetrista, Heekin Park, and parts of the Ball State campus, each of which offers distinct cultural experiences that when put together are broad and diverse. The activities of the District as well as cultural offerings throughout the city will be promoted on munciearts.org. Munciearts.org will be a user driven site featuring an arts & culture directory, a consolidated cultural event calendar, an online marketplace for selling works of art, and event tickets. The site will fully launch in late January 2012.
The council will begin an immediate search for a director who will be responsible for defining the council’s activities within the complex of other organizations promoting economic development. “We look forward to working with the many groups promoting the economic development of Muncie,” said Schafer. “A lively and visible cultural life is very attractive to people who are thinking of moving here and people who are thinking of moving businesses here. It’s also attractive to people who are just trying to figure out where to spend their money.”