Columbia Arts Fund

Columbia Arts Fund Logo

What is the Columbia Arts Fund?

The CAF is an arts endowment fund created by the City of Columbia to provide resources to individuals and organizations that foster practice, education, accessibility, and appreciation of the arts for the benefit of the citizens of Columbia. 

It is a perpetual revenue source that will augment funds distributed to arts agencies by the city through the Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) as well as provide resources for future OCA projects in the areas of nonprofit capacity building or additional public art. 

The Columbia Arts Fund is an opportunity for our citizens to contribute toward the increasing prosperity of our arts and culture organizations. Through this fund not only will arts and culture programs thrive, but organizations can expand their educational outreach programs.

Who we support

Contributing to the CAF allows patrons to have impact upon the broad spectrum of the arts and culture scene in Columbia. 

During the 2018 fiscal year, the OCA helped fund 29 programs and organizations, including:

  • Talking Horse Productions, Maplewood Barn, Columbia Entertainment Company, TRYPS, and PACE theatre productions

  • Art in the Park and gallery exhibitions for the Columbia Art League

  • The Columbia Chorale, Columbia Civic Orchestra, and the Columbia Community Band concert seasons

  • The Missouri Symphony’s Hot Summer Nights and their summer conservatory

  • Education and community outreach programs for the School of Service – Access Arts and Jabberwocky Studios

  • The True/False Film Fest, “We Always Swing” Jazz Series, Odyssey Chamber Music Series, and University Concert Series

These are just a few programs that the OCA currently helps to fund for our community.  By investing in a long-term endowment, we will be able to not only help these programs grow but also be able to help incubate new artists and organizations.

Why should I contribute?

Sustainability.  It’s that simple.  Our community has an opportunity to contribute to an arts funding tool that will affect our children, our grandchildren, and beyond.  An arts endowment is about impact.  Supporting clusters of arts businesses and organizations helps to contribute to the economic vitality of our community by increasing tourism and by attracting new businesses and corporations to settle in our community. Affecting not only quality of life but also economic health and public safety. 

Columbia, like other cities across the country, has used public art to reduce crime and violence by creating spaces where people congregate for positive community activities. The CAF is an investment toward quality of life, organizational sustainability, and community prosperity.

Did you know?

  • City funding contributes only 9% towards the combined budgets of our agencies and less than 60% of the total amount requested?
  • The vast majority of projects funded are dedicated to outreach and educational events?
  • Over 165,000 people either participate or attend events annually?
  • Tens of thousands of volunteer hours are provided by our citizens to arts and culture organizations?

How can I contribute to it?

You can contact the OCA office directly, contact the Community Foundation of Central Missouri, or you can make a donation onlineopens in a new window through the Community Foundation’s website.  The CAF is a 501(c)(3) entity, so your donation may be tax deductible depending upon your financial status.

Where does the money go?

The CAF is a component fund of the Community Foundation of Central Missouriopens in a new window and, therefore, is not a part of the city budget. 

Creating an arts endowment fund that is separate from the city budget ensures that there is a permanent source of revenue for our arts agencies for general funding.  Funds at the Community Foundation are pooled together for investment purposes and take advantage of an economy of scale principle and generally earn higher rates of return. 

CAF chart


What is the OCA?

The Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) is a department of the City of Columbia whose mission is to create an environment where artists and cultural organizations thrive by advancing and supporting the arts for the benefit of the citizens of Columbia. 

In addition to initiating or supporting a variety of arts and culture programs, the OCA administers the city’s Percent for Art program, which allows for 1% of the cost of new city construction or renovation over $1 million to be used for site-specific public art, as well as overseeing funding programs for local arts and cultural organizations. 

In order to increase OCA’s funding impact, city planners created the Columbia Arts Fund (CAF) in 2012 with an initial $10,000 establishing gift at the Community Foundation of Central Missouri.