Artists, actors and patrons of the arts are staging a “cultural advocacy day” at the statehouse. Tom Small of Des Moines, the chairman of the Iowa Cultural Coalition,says they’re trying to impress upon legislators the importance of the arts in economic development efforts, and get cultural programs “funded properly.” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs director Anita Walker says that means having cultural activities get a cut of the money legislators intend to spend on economic development initiatives. Walker says it’s essential that “we create an environment in Iowa that not only builds new jobs and new industry, but attracts and keeps those talented people who’re going to make this a prosperous state to live in.” Walker says talented people seek out cities and locations that have a vibrant cultural climate, and she says that’s got to be part of the state’s economic development plan. Walker says it doesn’t just mean building theaters and museums, but establishing a “live” local music scene and performance groups to provide a creative outlet for Iowans.
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