Sarah and I are excited to be highlighting the Cultural Arts Commission this week. We are fortunate and thankful to be a recent recipient of one of their grants. (Eeeekkk!!) I remember when we got the email. Sarah broke out into a happy dance! We can’t express how honored we are to have the support and we look forward to featuring the rest of the recipients on this blog in the upcoming months. They’re all so deserving!
But first, we thought we had better introduce you to the commission itself. It’s been exciting to learn about the work they’re doing. From providing grants to helping organizations promote the arts to installing amazing sculptures throughout the city, this commission is working hard for Jefferson City. This week we are here with Amy Schroeder, Community Relations Manager at JC Parks and Staff Liaison for the Cultural Arts Commission. She is giving us insight into what they do and if you’re wondering where you’ve heard that name before, it might be from our Spin Bikes post.
Q. How long has the Cultural Arts Commission existed?
A. Cultural Arts Commission was created from an ad hoc committee in 2009 and inherited by JC Parks in 2016.
Q. What is your main focus or goal for this organization?
A. Our mission is to ensure the arts are integral to our community's quality of life, economic vitality and central identity. We want to promote the collaboration among the arts, business, government, educational institutions and community residents.
Q. What is the difference between the Cultural Arts Commission and Jefferson City Arts Foundation (formerly known as Cultural Arts Foundation)?
A. The Cultural Arts Commission is a city commission, where as the foundation is not. Originally, the foundation was formed because, as a city commission, we are unable to hold fundraisers. Today, the two organizations act completely unrelated, have separate boards, and are not tied together in any way.
Q. How is the commission structured?
A. The 11-seat Cultural Arts Commission is administered by JC Parks. Community members are appointed by the Mayor and City Council. Parks Commission is charged with appointing one Parks Commission member.
Q. What’s been your biggest struggle getting it off the ground?
A. One of our biggest hurdles has been spreading awareness of our grant program. I think some may be hesitant when they see “grant application.” But compared to others, our application is exceptionally simple.
Q. What has been the most rewarding so far?
A. Supporting local organizations has allowed us to see firsthand the value of our investment. The product itself is reward enough. But perhaps even more gratifying, are the connections created as a result of these collaborations. Working with Jefferson City Public Schools and Nichols Career Center on the East Branch Greenway arch was an awesome experience.
Q. What’s your favorite aspect of working in Jefferson City?
A. The phrase “It takes a village” comes to mind. I am continually humbled by the willingness of local organizations to lend a hand for the greater good of our community.
Q. How do you get motivated?
A. LISTS! It’s human nature to make order out of chaos and I am no exception. When I make a list, a complex task becomes less daunting. Crossing an item off of a long list is simply euphoric.
Some would say I have an unhealthy relationship with post-it notes. I’d like to think I’m above average on tech-savviness but I can’t resist the gloriousness that is a 3x3 adhesive paper stack.
Q. What tool do you use at work that makes your life easier?
A. Written and visual communications are a big part of what I do in my role for Cultural Arts Commission and JC Parks. I’ve found that visually appealing messages are better received. My go-to tool for photo editing and graphic design is PicMonkey. I’ve used this web application for everything: Facebook event covers, flyers, maps, email signatures…and that’s all within the last month. Bonus: using PicMonkey, I have the capability to copy a coworker’s head on Chris Farley’s body (from the SNL Chippendales skit) if I need leverage. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
Q. What does the commission currently need?
A. We are looking for opportunities to contribute to Jefferson City’s art scene. We’d like that next contribution to be an interactive public mural. Once we confirm a location, we will move forward with finding an artist. As with our other projects, we would love community involvement and support to make this idea a reality.
Thanks for reading! Let us know if you have any questions in the comments. Otherwise, talk next week!
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