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Adding culture to the city: Arts council updates council on programs
The city council received its annual report about the progress made by the arts council within the city during the past fiscal year at its work session on Monday, Oct. 1.
"[The work of the arts council] is very important here and I appreciate all of their hard work," said Al Forsythe, city councilman.
Keith Singleton, chairman of the Mesquite Arts Council, outlined the various programs and their successes for the city council. There are 16 arts groups within the city, including the Mesquite Arts Council, providing arts programs for citizens and visitors to Mesquite
"The visual and performing arts are well represented," Singleton said.
The visual arts in the main gallery at the Mesquite Arts Center show diversity and feature painting, sculpture, photography, culturally significant pieces and woven art. There are two music programs offered during the month of June that are free to the citizens and visitors in Mesquite. Both programs are produced by the Mesquite Arts Council. The art council also funds arts programs for senior citizens, after-school arts programs and arts programs in Mesquite libraries and recreation centers at no cost to them.
The arts council receives part of its funding from hotel occupancy funds and the rest from private donations and grants. The visitor tax funds collected for the arts in fiscal year 2011-12 totaled $96,132, which is $1,453 less than what was collected the prior year. Through its program of work, the arts council raised additional funding through state and federal grants, corporate sponsors, ticket sales, memberships and program fees totaling $39,205. Due to cuts in the legislature the grant funding was cut by approximately $15,000 from the previous year.
"I continue to be amazed by what you do with such a small amount of funds available," said Dennis Tarpley, city councilman.
During fiscal year 2011-12, 64,450 people participated in more than 820 arts events in Mesquite presented by the arts council and arts groups.
"Attendees to arts events spend an average of $21 at Mesquite businesses. That's over $1 million per year in economic impact," said.
The arts council also has received several endowments totaling $112,862. The endowment money is restricted to support a variety of arts programming including children's programs such as the children's theatre and visual art camps, as well as jazz and chamber music concerts that are scheduled throughout the year.
Singleton discussed one of the art council's newest programs, Art Around Town, and the success its experienced to date. Art Around Town has resulted in six sculptures being placed in pocket parks, medians and at intersections throughout the city..
"The public art is just beautiful," said Shirley Roberts, deputy mayor pro tem.
The arts council provides information on the sculptures through a website, www.mesquitepublicart.com
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