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Springfield Art Museum News Releases

Posted on: July 18, 2016

Springfield Art Museum Receives Competitive Federal Innovation Grant



Springfield, MO. (July 18, 2016) - The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced Friday, July 15th, that the Springfield Art Museum is one of 7 museums in North America to receive a 2016 Sparks! Ignition Grant for Museums. These prestigious and highly competitive grants fund innovative projects at the intersection of museum programming and community service.

“IMLS encourages innovation in the museum field with our Sparks! Ignition grants, which enable museums to design and test creative solutions to the challenges facing our nation’s museums,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “The 2016 Sparks! Ignition museum grantees continue the tradition with projects that have the potential to move the museum field forward in exciting ways.”

In collaboration with workforce development specialists from the Missouri Job Center and 4th grade classroom teachers from Springfield Public Schools, Springfield Art Museum’s Art@Work program teaches students to build soft skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, leadership, time management, and teamwork through arts instruction and the creative process. These are foundational workplace skills that local employers have identified as lacking in the adult workforce.

In fact, the Missouri Job Center’s 2015 State of the Workforce Survey found that over 85% of employers questioned responded that “most or some of their current employees needed improvement in the areas of problem solving, time management, critical thinking/decision making, and leadership.” Art@Work provides a unique early intervention response to this very real community need.

Museum Director Nick Nelson notes “We are thrilled to receive a 2016 Sparks! Ignition Grant for Museums in support of Art@Work. The recognition that the Springfield Art Museum is at the national forefront of innovative museum programming is invaluable. Through Art@Work, we are identifying and modeling best practices for replicable partnerships between art museums, educators, and workforce preparation organizations that can impact economic development.”


The Springfield Art Museum is Springfield, Missouri’s oldest cultural institution, founded in 1928. A department of the City of Springfield, we are dedicated to enhancing the education and documenting the cultural heritage of the people of southwest Missouri through the collection, preservation, and exhibition of art objects. For more information, please visit

For more information, please contact Joshua Best, Development and Marketing Coordinator, 417-837-5700 ext. 224 or

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

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