Arts and culture are just as important to Iowa’s future as schools and state troopers, at least according to the organizers of today’s Cultural Advocacy Day. Cynthia Nieb is executive director of the Iowa Cultural Coalition, which started the annual advocacy day events in 2001. Nieb says advocacy is important to make people aware that “cultural endeavors in the state are both a fuel to the economic engine as well as just intrinsically important to our quality of life.” Nieb and other members of the coalition spent the day lobbying legislators about the vital nature of cultural events, exhibits and landmarks across Iowa. She says lawmakers are making decisions about how to stretch tax dollars to cover so many key areas. Nieb says if you invest in culture, the arts, historic preservation and your resources, it would cover areas like economic development, as more people come and spend money at a destination that’s cultural than they would at any other site. She says culture effects us in all sorts of ways. If people are active in culture, working at a historic preservation site, performing a dance or singing, Nieb says they won’t be sitting at home in front of the TV eating potato chips. In that way, she says culture can help combat obesity and promote better health.
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