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Funding the Arts

The Community Foundation recently awarded grants to four nonprofit organizations that serve the arts community in the Midlands. The grants are provided through a competitive process from three different funds that are managed by the Foundation: the Pierrine & Hootie Johnson Fund, Pied Piper Fund and Nell V. Mellichamp Fund. The arts certainly contribute to our overall quality of life, perhaps in ways we can’t quantify.

But have you considered the economic impact? In 2007, a study from the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business Division of Research was updated to reflect just how big the business of the arts is to our state. In this update we learned that the state’s cultural industry generates $2.4 billion or more in economic output for the state’s economy, including more than $766 million in wages from 31,490 jobs. We can’t agree more with the study’s finding that a strong cultural industry can provide a state with the competitive edge it needs to stand out from the crowd.

The purpose of the Pierrine & Hootie Johnson Fund is to support premiere cultural arts in the Midlands, while the Nell V. Mellichamp Fund promotes music education and youth. The Pied Piper Fund seeks to support a variety of projects including art, music, dance and youth activities. Since 1987, these three field-of-interest funds have awarded a total of $540,668 grants.

2013 Grants Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties $9,000 to offer a series of capacity building workshops, establish a board marketplace to identify and train potential board members, and provide scholarships for workshop participants. Columbia City Ballet $10,000 for the educational outreach program’s productions of Holiday Celebrations Around the World, and The Making of Snow White: From Start to Stage. The Columbia Museum of Art $10,000 to support the Impressionism from Monet to Matisse exhibition that ran through April. South Carolina Philharmonic $10,000 to purchase 6,500 soprano recorders for use in the Young People’s Concerts: Orchestra Sings.