THE RECENT announcement of a collaboration between Arts Quincy and the Moorman Foundation to bring sculptures to Quincy Public Schools' five elementary schools, Quincy Junior High School, Quincy High School and Quincy Notre Dame is the latest achievement of an organization that has enriched the lives of people in the Quincy area for more than 70 years.
The sculpture project will be the largest single project in the history of the group formerly known as the Quincy Society of Fine Arts.
"Public art beautifies, unifies and inspires, and it's a terrific way to celebrate our area's commitment to its students," Arts Quincy Executive Director Laura Sievert said when announcing the project earlier this month.
She is right, of course, and it comes as little surprise in a community that has nurtured cultural institutions, performance groups, museums and more.
Arts Quincy represents 55 nonprofit arts organizations, from small, all-volunteer groups such as the Quinsippi Needleworkers, American Guild of Organists and Quincy Woodworkers Guild, to larger organizations with staffs such as the popular Quincy Art Center, Quincy Symphony Orchestra and Quincy Community Theatre. And there are more than 600 arts events each year in Quincy -- many of them free. In fact, it's hard to find a day where there are not multiple ways to get involved in the city's arts scene. The scene is so vibrant that Quincy has twice been named "America's Most Artistic Town" by travel company Expedia in recent years.
A recent series of stories in The Herald-Whig showcased the importance of the arts in Quincy.
Did you know, for example, a study by Arts and Economic Prosperity found the many arts groups in the city and related industries contribute more than $15 million to the city's economy? This includes $12.8 million in spending by the nonprofit art organizations.
The overall figure includes the more than $2 million that Quincy area residents spend each year on art-related programs, tickets to performances and museum admissions. The study also found that out-of-town visitors contribute $788,000 to the local economy each year in similar spending.
Of course, you can't put a value on the importance of Arts Quincy and related groups' work in the city. From programs that educate students to those that enrich the lives of local veterans and more, Arts Quincy touches the lives of nearly every resident and is worthy of the community's continued support.
It is important to remember that QSFA was the first arts council incorporated in the country, founded by the visionary George M. Irwin.
"It is very important for smaller communities to take their limited resources in the arts and really put it together so they can provide services," Irwin told The Herald-Whig in 2015.
Over the past 72 years, the Quincy Society of Fine Arts and now Arts Quincy has been very effective coordinating those services, and we hope that work continues for at least 72 more years. Even more, we hope the public continues to support the mission of the city's various artistic organizations and Arts Quincy.
After all, it's for you.