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Knoebel: Arts can have a huge impact on the community

Published 1:36pm Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Austin ArtWorks Festival is a solid example of the impact the arts can have on our community.

Last year alone, 6,500 people attended, 155 artists participated, and $26,000 of artwork was sold. All of the festival attendees and participating artists also spent money throughout the community in local businesses like restaurants, stores, and hotels.

In fact, based on the Americans for the Arts Arts and Economic Prosperity IV Calculator, we can roughly estimate that Festival audiences spent $146,000 while they were in Austin for the festival based on the average dollars spent per person by arts event attendees in similarly populated communities.

Part of the festival’s high turnout is due in part to its free admission. It alleviates the financial barrier that may prevent participation.

We are building the Austin ArtWorks Center, a place for our community to learn, create, and display year round, to build on the festival’s success.

With that in mind, we want activities at the center to be as accessible as possible. Therefore, we have requested $15,000 from the Mower County Board to support offering free classes to children in our county.

This amount will give us enough funding to provide 30 classes, which means arts opportunities for 720 students and possibly paid positions for up to 30 teaching artists.

The funding will help us eliminate the financial barrier to participation, allowing us to reach a broader segment of our population.

Please contact your county commissioner and express your support of this project. To find your commissioner, visit: www.co.mower.mn.us/County-Board.html or call 507-437-9494.


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