Programs and Services

Art Guides

The Public Art Guide outlines a self-guided tour of Columbia’s publicly accessible art while the Columbia Arts Guide details the many visual and performing arts opportunities in Columbia. Copies of the printed brochures can be requested from the Office of Cultural Affairs at oca@como.govcreate new email.

Art News

Art News is a weekly email newsletter that includes information on upcoming arts events, exhibits, classes, and cultural activities. Subscribe to receive Art News.

Arts Directory

The Arts Directory is an online listing of contact information for art agencies that currently receive funding from the OCA, artists whose work is in the city’s public art collection, or those selected for the Commemorative Poster or Traffic Box Art projects. The online listings are also available in a hard copy form (contact us for a copy).

Arts & Economic Prosperity Study

The City of Columbia was one of 341 communities across the country to participate in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national economic impact study, conducted by Americans for the Arts.  Read Columbia’s full report and learn more about the impact of the arts on Columbia’s local economy. 

Arts Funding

The city supports local arts agencies through annual and small request funding, with awards made in competitive review processes. About a fourth of the Office of Cultural Affairs’ annual budget is allocated to education and presentation projects of local arts organizations, including exhibits, performances, in-school programming and workshops. Other funding opportunities, called “Small Requests,” allow arts organizations to apply for up to $750 to support new and unique programming on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

Arts Marketing

The Office of Cultural Affairs underwrites year-round radio to assist local arts agencies with publicity and to raise public awareness about the variety of arts opportunities available to citizens and visitors.

City Flag

The official City of Columbia flag is available for purchase at the Office of Cultural Affairs. Read more about the flag

Columbia Values Diversity Celebration

This annual event held in January brings people together from throughout our community to share breakfast and a special program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Commemorative Poster

Work by a mid-Missouri artist is highlighted annually in a Commemorative Poster that is unveiled by the Mayor at the Office of Cultural Affairs’ Poster Party for the Arts fundraiser each Fall. Proceeds from the Poster Party go the Columbia Arts Fund, 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.

Creative Kids Family Fun Fest

Held annually on the third Wednesday in September in Cosmo Park, this free children’s art themed event is a collaborative with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and features visual, performing and literary art activities as well as kid-friendly performances of music, theater and dance.

One Read

The Office of Cultural Affairs is a member of the Daniel Boone Regional Library’s task force that organizes a community-wide reading project, One Read, focused on one book each year.       

Partners in Education

A year-round partnership between the Columbia Public Schools Fine Arts Department and the Office of Cultural Affairs encourages arts-related curriculum and achievement in all grade levels in the district.

Percent for Art & Public Art Programming

Initiated in May 1997, Percent for Art allows for one percent of the cost of new city construction or renovation to be used for site-specific art. Above-ground capital improvement projects are eligible. A Standing Committee on Public Art is appointed by City Council to assist with the program. Since the program’s inception, fourteen large-scale projects have been initiated, with nearly $1 million in city funds committed. In addition to Percent for Art projects, the Office of Cultural Affairs is charged with stewardship of other works of art owned by the city as well as implementation of a policy for accepting gifts of works of art.

Poetry Out Loud

The Office of Cultural Affairs serves as coordinator for the central region of Missouri for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Poetry Out Loud program, an initiative to promote poetry in school curriculum.

Sister Cities

The Sister Cities Program provides a means of fostering mutually benefitial relationships with cities in other countries. OCA acts as a liaison between the City of Columbia and its Sister Cities – Kutaisi, Republic of Georgia; Suncheon City, Republic of Korea; Hakusan City, Japan; Sibiu, Romania; and Laoshan District, Qingdao, Shandong Province, People’s Republic of China.

Stephens Lake Park Amphitheater Concert Series

A collaboration with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to increase community access to performing arts opportunities, the Office of Cultural Affairs sponsors performances by local arts groups in the venue.

Technical Assistance

Technical assistance offered includes one-on-one sessions with Office of Cultural Affairs staff and training workshops on operational improvement.

Traffic Box Art

Local artists are commissioned to address traffic signal boxes thus minimizing the possibilities that those utilities will be vandalized. The goal of the Traffic Box Art program is to decrease instances of graffiti while at the same time contributing to the uniqueness of the downtown streetscape.

USS Columbia

OCA acts as a liaison between the City of Columbia and the Columbia Submarine Committee for the USS Columbia. The USS Columbia program is one of the Navy’s longest, continuously active namesake city relationships.