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Yoknapatawpha Arts Council receives $10,000 grant from National Endowment for the Arts

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council was presented with a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts which will be used to fund one of the council’s most important programs.

The Arts Incubator is a professional development program for artists that provides small business resources like workshops, technical assistance and career services. This support system was developed after the Council worked with the University of Mississippi Small Business Development Center.

YAC director Wayne Andrews says that the organization is “excited” about securing the renewal of the grant.

“The program builds sustainable businesses in the creative economy ensuring Oxford retains its unique cultural mix,” Andrews added. “The program has grown since it was launched three years ago, offering tools and resources in partnership with Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Foundation.  YAC was one of only three organizations within the state to receive an NEA grant and the only non-governmental entity.”

However, Andrews and the council are “concerned” about the future of the program and funding for the arts in general as President Trump’s budget calls for the cutting of the NEA and “several other cultural organizations which support programs in Oxford including the Oxford Film Festival and Thacker Mountain Radio.”

“This grant is a $14,000 decrease over the award from the prior year and we expect to see cuts at the state level,” Andrews said. “This, as Americans for the Arts released their economic impact survey in which Lafayette County, was the only community in the state included in the national study.”

Arts impact county

According to the survey, 222,000 people took part in the arts in the county making it an $11 million industry. The arts also supports 336 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $1.1 million in local and state government revenue.

“Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations which spent $2.7 million during 2015 leveraged a remarkable $8.3 million in additional spending by their audiences,” reads the survey. “Spending that pumped vital revenue into restaurants, hotels, retail stores, parking garages and other local business.”

This year, the NEA awarded a total of $849,200 in grants to the state.