Chesterfield continues its investment in the arts
By: Carol Enright
Three local arts organizations have received a financial boost from the city of Chesterfield.
At its Jan. 23 meeting, the City Council approved contracts with Chesterfield Arts, STAGES St. Louis and the St. Louis Civic Orchestra for a total of $200,000 in funding for a variety of arts and educational programming.
The funding, which was already approved as part of the city’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget, allocates $100,000 to Chesterfield Arts, $75,000 to STAGES and $25,000 to the St. Louis Civic Orchestra, which is a first-time budget item for the city.
The city’s contribution to Chesterfield Arts is up $25,000 over a year ago. Its support of STAGES is the same as was budgeted in FY2012. Each contract requires a range of arts and educational programming that supports the city’s public arts plan and includes providing free concerts, performances and art activities at Chesterfield community events.
Mayor Bruce Geiger, who has been outspoken in his support of building up the arts in Chesterfield, said the arts funding represents less than 1 percent of the city’s operating budget.
“There’s a return on investment with the arts,” said Geiger. “I don’t know how you quantify it, but I know it’s there.”
Backing up Geiger’s hunch, a March 2012 research report conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts, showed that young adults who had intensive arts experiences in high school are more likely to show civic-minded behavior than young adults who did not, with comparatively high levels of volunteering, voting, and engagement with local or school politics.
Many of the public arts programs offered by Chesterfield Arts and STAGES, such as last year’s “Take a Seat in Chesterfield” public art project, is geared toward youth and young adults.