Name: Sarah Dresser
Organization: City of Columbia Office of Cultural Affairs
Time in current position: 5 years, 10 with OCA
Location: Columbia, MO
To learn more about Sarah and the Office of Cultural Affairs, MACAA asked her a few questions…
What is the most rewarding part of working in the arts, or your organization and/or community specifically?
I love seeing the impact of City funding and programs on our local arts agencies. Being able to attend events and programs and witness firsthand the works these organizations are doing in our community is very rewarding. In the 10 years I have been with the Office of Cultural Affairs, there has been tremendous growth including new organizations and growth for others; many new galleries and arts spaces; and new festivals and annual events. Columbia as a community truly values the arts and demonstrates that by supporting these groups.
What is the favorite program/service your organization offers?
I also manage the City’s public art program. We are one of a few cities in Missouri that have a Percent for Art program, allows for 1% of the cost of new city construction or renovation projects to be used for site-specific public art. Seeing these projects through from the call to artists to the final installation is very satisfying. Some of these projects span multiple years, and it is great knowing that our City’s public art collection continues to grow and leave a lasting impact on the community. We have a range of different projects that focus on local artists to large-scale projects involving artists from across the country.
What characteristics do you feel leaders must have?
Being a calm and confident leader who demonstrates consistency is something I strive for. Being one who listens intently and welcomes new ideas and innovation is key to moving initiatives forward.
How did you happen to find yourself as the leader of your current organization?
I had served as the Program Specialist for five years. At that time I was ready to move on up in my career, and the Manager position became available. It was a natural time and perfect fit for me to move into this role.
Have you been involved for some time?
It’s hard to believe I have just celebrated my 10 years anniversary with the City of Columbia! There have certainly been many changes over those years, and I am happy to have been part of the Office of Cultural Affairs for that time. I value working for an organization that supports an office like ours as well as the arts community as a whole.
Do you have background/training/interest in a certain art form?
I grew up very involved in the arts – starting dance at age 4 and piano at age 7. My family moved to Columbia when I was 10 and I participated in many of our local arts organizations’ programs. I went on to study piano performance at William Jewell College, where I also studied organ and was a member of the choir. Though I am kept very busy today, I still participate in making music as a member of the MU Choral Union.
Work Phone: 573-874-7512
Work Email: [email protected]
Agency Website: www.CoMo.gov/arts
Agency Facebook: @comoarts