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Group Considers the Future of the Arts in Springfield


The City of Springfield is in the process of developing a comprehensive strategic plan. So far, groups of citizens have been delving into issues such as economic development, diversity, education, and housing. KSMU’s Missy Shelton reports on the work of the Arts, Culture and Tourism subcommittee.

Information about the City of Springfield's Strategic Plan

Envisioning the future of the arts in the city was the task of a strategic planning group led in part by Leah Hamilton Jenkins. She’s the Executive Director of the Springfield Regional Arts Council and co-chaired the Arts, Culture and Tourism Subcommittee. Jenkins says the group used a previous arts and culture plan as a starting point.

“It was a very comprehensive, strategic plan for arts and culture in the Springfield area. We had that as a template, taking that, building on it and adapting it to the new environment and visioning out to 2030.”

Jenkins says her subcommittee held roundtables with local artists and arts groups to gather feedback. As the subcommittee drafted its report, Jenkins says the members spent time talking about the financial viability of local arts organizations.

“One of the big topics, obviously, was how do we continue to financially sustain the operating and infrastructure needs of arts organizations. We came up with a few ideas in terms of endowment building, looking at getting a nice public-private support model to ensure these organizations are around for generations to come and that they’re healthy.”

Jenkins says the subcommittee is supporting the use of some public funds to develop more public art.

“We have built in the idea the “percent for public art” model. That’s reallocating one percent of any capital improvements that are paid for by the government, allocating one percent to commission a piece of art. In a lot of other metropolitan areas, Chicago, St Louis and even Columbia, Missouri, you see these gorgeous pieces of public art in front of your government buildings or other projects. It just really adds to the land value, gives a community identity.”

There are a number of other recommendations from the Arts, Culture, and Tourism subcommittee. You can read more about the work of this and other groups as well as the City of Springfield’s strategic plan online. We have a link at our website