Missouri Arts Council board members gathered with Hannibal Arts Council representatives for a Wednesday evening reception to view some of the artwork that inspired them to name Hannibal as a Missouri Creative Community for 2019.
Michael Gaines, HAC executive director, welcomed members of the Missouri Arts Council and HAC officers, board, committee and council members to the reception at 105 S. Main St. He commended the Missouri Arts Council for supporting the arts in Hannibal by helping fund organizations and groups like the Bluff City Theater, the Hannibal Concert Association and the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum.
"Thank you guys for supporting the arts in Hannibal," he said. "It's good for you guys as board members to be in the community and see this is what happens, this is how it trickles down, this is what we've been able to build in Hannibal because of the support of the Missouri Arts Council."
Missouri Arts Council board members viewed several arts exhibits sponsored by Gaines, the Hannibal Art Club and the Missouri Arts Council. Among them was Larry and Sarah Siwek's father and daughter display "Art Related." The HAC Bicentennial Series included "Mark Twain Zephyr Collection," paintings by Pete Rose, and "Transportation," an open exhibit of area artists.
The reception was sponsored by the Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies and HAC, with food catered by Fiddlestiks. The Missouri Arts Council board members later went to Bluff City Theater to see the first act of "Insane Sisters" and dine at LaBinnah Bistro.
Carol Gregg, a Missouri Arts Council alum, talked with Gaines about how Chillicothe artists Steve and Vilma Holt moved to Hannibal, because Hannibal has "more going on in the arts." Michael Donovan, Missouri Arts Council, executive director, said Hannibal's active arts community were part of a "very select group of communities" across the Show-Me State to receive the Missouri Creative Community distinction due to its various cultural institutions and festivals.
"We recognize that there is so much vitality in Hannibal — in terms of its history, its heritage and the arts and culture," he said.
A recent economic study concluded that nonprofit arts institutions generated more than $5 million each year, Donovan said. That does not include local for-profit arts programs like the Mark Twain Riverboat or the Mark Twain Cave. The institutions employ 126 people and generate $340,000 in tax revenue for local government agencies. They also attract 150,000 audience members to events and programs in the area each year. Visitors across the world are familiar with Hannibal's art community and history surrounding Mark Twain, Donovan said. Board members looked forward to the view overlooking the Mississippi River meeting Thursday at the Mark Twain Museum.
"This is one of those places you can look at and know that art runs in the veins," he said.