$1.3 million distributed to help art programs

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The South Dakota Arts Council recently awarded nearly $1.3 million to various artists, schools, and non-profit organizations across the state.

"The 'Arts Challenge Grant' is one of the largest grant categories that the South Dakota Arts Council grants," Jim Walker, a South Dakota Arts Council Board Member said.

Dozens of organizations across the state received an annual grant from the council.

"It really hits almost every corner of the state," Walker said.

The 'Arts Challenge Grant' provides money to organizations to help support their yearly programming.

"That's important to a lot of communities in this state, and a lot of our art organizations in this state," Walker said.

Two Aberdeen organizations that receive grant funding include the Aberdeen Area Arts Council, and the Aberdeen Recreation and Cultural Center.

"It really does provide a really solid, easy to apply for funding source for these organizations," Stacy Braun, Executive Director for the Aberdeen Arts Council said.

The Aberdeen Recreation and Cultural Center plan to use some of the money to benefit popular programs such as dance lessons for all ages.

"We hope to always keep fresh new programs going, one of the things we don't want to keep doing is the same old, same old all the time," David Eckert, Supervisor for the Aberdeen Recreation and Cultural Center said.

Keeping the art community thriving is important to a city;s economy.

"The average person coming to an arts event, in addition to the cost of the ticket spends about $30 per person when they attend that art event," Braun said.

Stacy Braun, David Eckert, and the rest of the art community recognize the importance of these grants. The hope the ones provided this year will help continue to grow the arts across South Dakota.

"It's just an opportunity for us to contribute that that scene and keep it alive and vibrant," Braun said.

The Aberdeen Area Arts Council received more than $7 thousand, and the Aberdeen Recreation and Cultural Center received more than $21 thousand.