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Like most individuals, the dawning of a new year brings about both reflection and anticipation. It is really no different for the Indiana Arts Commission. Yes, we are an agency of state government, but nevertheless an agency made up of individuals and serving individuals through our many programs, grants and services.
The Indiana Arts Commission looks back on 2013 as a year of great accomplishments, while always striving to improve how we serve the cultural needs of Hoosiers. Part of that striving will, of course continue through 2014, but first I would like to reflect briefly on 2013.
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of advocates with the Indiana Coalition for the Arts (INCA), the Indiana General Assembly approved a significant budget increase for the Indiana Arts Commission for this biennium. The increase restored some of the reductions over the previous several years and the restored funds went directly into grants for Indiana's cultural providers, particularly small organizations in more rural areas of our state. I would encourage anyone with a passion for the arts to become a member of INCA. They will be hosting their annual Arts Day at the Statehouse January 27, 2014 and the event would be an excellent time to meet members of INCA and learn more about what they do.
This past year the IAC and the Office of Governor Mike Pence hosted the 2013 Governor's Arts Awards, the first such event for our current governor. An added bonus was First Lady Karen Pence serving as Honorary Chair of the event. The First Lady, an accomplished watercolor artist in her own right, graciously agreed to paint a beautiful rendition of the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, the host venue for the awards. The First Lady is passionate about education, and we look forward in this New Year to opportunities to work with her and her staff to further arts education.
Late this past year the Commission incorporated web-based technology in our strategic planning process. Working collaboratively with our Regional Arts Partners and the Indiana State Library, we hosted a statewide Web Cafe to enlist public input on the next phase of the IAC's Strategic Plan. The purpose was to learn what you, our constituents, believe should be our top goals, objectives and priorities for the final (2014-2016) phase of the current Strategic Plan. Nearly 200 people attended the December 5th Web Cafe or the online webinar that same evening. You can learn more about the results of the sessions on the IAC website at www.in.gov/arts/2835.htm.
While it is fun to look back, we must not forget to keep looking forward even beyond 2014. It may seem far off, but in just two years Indiana will be celebrating its bicentennial. The Arts Commission is already working toward a number of initiatives that will have a direct tie to this historic event in 2016.
Thank you all for a wonderful, artful 2013. Let's resolve to make 2014 even more art-filled for all of us.
All the best,