Director says Gunnison art
center will create many new jobs
By James Tilson
Mar. 22, 2018
MANTI—The Sanpete County Commission heard a presentation last week about a proposed Musinia Art Center to open in September in Gunnison.
In his presentation, Steve Kiefer, chair and executive director of Musinia, explained how the organization, a 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(2) nonprofit organization, will create jobs and develop the economy in Sanpete County and surrounding areas.
Kiefer also asked the commission for assistance, specifically a letter of endorsement (to pursue grant funding for Musinia) and a representative from the commission on the Musinia Advisory Board.
Kiefer explained that Musinia is at its core “an artist in residency program,” giving ceramic artists a place to hone their craft and build a portfolio for future education in art.
However, the greater economic impact of Musinia will be felt in a number of programs that it will also be offering: school outreach programs for grades K-12, educational programs, art therapy programs, creative assets promotions and Artist against Hunger.
Said Keifer, “Our mission is to leverage creative industries for community and economic development. We believe that the arts are politically neutral.”
He added that the arts have the power to bridge divisions our world is separated into. Kiefer advocated the use of art to not only help the academic performance of a region but also its economic performance. He pointed to the example of the Heartwood in Abingdon, Va., where the arts, crafts and music had produced an economic boom for Appalachian Virginia.
(More information on the crafts, music and restaurant at Heartwood, tagged as Southwest Virginia’s artisan gateway, is at https://www.myswva.org/heartwood.)
He said, “More attention to three-dimensional arts will raise IQ and E[conomic]Q, reduce delinquency, increase social responsibility and create jobs, a better lifestyle and safer, more healthy communities.”
Kiefer made the following claims for what Musinia could do for Sanpete and surrounding counties:
- Provide arts access to about 120,000 underserved rural students annually
- Increase average academic performance by 7-10 percent annually as measured by SAGE scores
- Increase college-going rate from the current 25-35 percent within five years
- Create between 20 and 30 direct jobs at Musinia within five years
- Create vocational training opportunities for approximately 250-500 individuals over five years
- Create incubation opportunities for 15-30 start-ups over a five-year period
- Assist in the creation of approximately 50-100 new jobs at those start-ups
- Replicate incubation programs in other parts of the region resulting in an estimated average of 5-10 annually
- Provide teacher development to approximately 80-100 current and prospective art teachers annually
- Increase the traffic into the region’s downtowns by 10-15 percent annually; increase annual creative revenue by 30 percent
- Increase and diversify jobs, tourism, business investments and relocation of operations into the region
Said Keifer, “We are going to be creating jobs.”
The commission decided to take the matter under advisement.
Kiefer reminded the commission and the audience that Musinia’s status as a 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(2) nonprofit organization allowed donations to be deducted from federal taxes at 50 percent.
Musinia currently takes donations via Zions Bank at its Richfield branch.
More information about the Musinia Art Center is at https://musinia.weebly.com/.