Over the past three years, an infusion of arts into the Jefferson City community has been on the rise with the help of the Cultural Arts Foundation.
Lucia Kincheloe, executive director at the foundation, and the organization’s 12-person governing board is dedicated to enhancing the community’s level of cultural exposure to the arts.
“During 2013 to 2017, this was a period of building for the organization,” Kincheloe said. “We were in the planning and fundraising phase, which has helped us to create the projects we’ve completed today.”
Themes surrounding joy, unity and survivorship highlight just a few of the art projects that residents can already see around the town through the organization’s creative placemaking initiatives. Creative placemaking is the installation of arts structures in various places that bring community members to a common location.
For example, through a partnership with Saffees, a well-known high fashion clothing store, the Fountain of Hope now resides between Monroe and Commercial Drive. The structure is a stainless steel memorial wall embed with multi-colored tiles in honor of those impacted by cancer. The letters H-O-P-E stand 8 feet tall alone.
In 2014, the Cultural Arts Foundation also collaborated with a local Mid-Missouri artist Dan Howeth to install his sculpture titled “Joy” located in the center of a roundabout on Stadium Drive and Hard Rock Drive.
Their next goal is to bring a Splash Park to Jefferson City, with the help of the parks and recreation and community support.
Kincheloe said that the existence of public and private partnerships are very important to the organization because they open up the opportunities to see what other projects they can do.
Since 2013, the foundation has prided itself on its mission to ensure the arts are integral to the community’s quality of life, economic vitality and central identity.
The Cultural Arts Foundation became a registered nonprofit in 2013, and ever since then, they have been on the move. Kincheloe has watched the organization grow in many ways over the years, remembering when the organization’s budget was under $10,000.
Prior to the formation of the foundation, the majority of the public art interests were facilitated by the Cultural Arts Commission under the purview of the mayor. Kincheloe was also involved during that time period, holding a position as chair of the Cultural Arts Commission for five years.
“It’s nice to see Jefferson City have access to art amenities that help support beautifying the community, promote economic growth and tourism and plus it’s (art) fun,” Kincheloe said.
She explained that over time not only has the organization’s board grew, but so has their volunteer base, which was demonstrated through their most recent Splash Park Ice Cream Social fundraiser on July 14 in downtown Jefferson City.
That fundraiser raised $14,000 towards the Splash Park goal of $70,000. This was the third year the foundation hosted the event, which has helped them make a combined total of $58,000 so far.
Creating a splash in the capital city
Keeping their eye on the prize, several board members say they are determined to see how the community responds to the Splash Park and future projects.
Patsy Johnson, two-year board member, said what motivates her to stay involved with the organization is the fact the organization can promote unity and focus on the beauty of art in an inspiring way.
“I believe the Cultural Arts Foundation is making our community a better place to live using the influence of art,” Johnson said. “It’s great we have the flexibility as a nonprofit to be able to discuss and visualize ideas, and expand our network through new and existing partnerships.”
Johnson said she believes the Splash Park will have a tremendous impact on the community.
“The park will be in a historical part of town that has a lot of heritage and will encourage people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, bringing families together,” Johnson said.
Through the organization’s partnership with Parks and Recreation and the Department of Natural Resources, the Splash Park will be built on the corner of Lafayette and Dunklin.
The park will be equipped with picnic benches, grills, restrooms, a playground, a horseshoe pit and more.
Kincheloe said it will be a place for young people to grow up together and for all to enjoy. In effort to make the Splash Park wheelchair accessible, they are looking for sponsor to be an underwriter for a waterproof wheelchair.
Liz Minton recently joined the board two months ago and said she is impressed at the amount of local talent and how welcoming the community has been to ideas the organization has proposed. Minton recently moved from St. Louis with her husband David Minton, president of Central Bank of Mid-Missouri.
“Coming from a big city it’s refreshing to be able to become involved so easily,” Minton said. “If anyone has an interest in art, I encourage others to get involved. There are no boundaries.”
• Become an annual member
• Purchase a brick to be placed in the Splash Park with your business or family name
• Purchase a glass tile in honor of someone affected by cancer to be placed on the Fountain of Hope
• Partnership with the Cultural Arts Commission to commission a major, outdoor public art piece for the new splash park.
• Work with metal sculptor Dan Howeth to create second round-about art piece on Stadium Boulevard.
• Sponsor the Dining Wild Meal using local/wild produce from this area. This is the culinary arts focused meal offered by Lincoln University and its farmer’s market in years past and has been recently discontinued.
• Assist in creating a museum to highlight the “Foot’s” historical significance in JC
• Partner to create a historical mural within the Missouri State Penitentiary’s walls.
• Partner to make Jefferson City a “gateway city” for the monarch butterfly.
To learn more about how you can get involved, contact Lucia Kincheloe at 573-338-8800 or visit Facebook.com/CulturalArtsFoundationJCMO.