Mineral Area Council on the Arts (MACOA) began in 1982 as a steering committee formed by Dr. Dixie Kohn at Mineral Area College called the Mineral Area College Arts Council. The charge of the group was to bring cultural events and a broader exposure of fine arts to the college campus. From this organization developed the independent Mineral Area Council on the Arts, which, in 1989, established its own bylaws and shortly after received IRS 501(c)3 non-profit tax designation. At that time the organization, through a partnership with Mineral Area College was able to hire its first Executive Director, Betty Schaper, who served in the role for many years until her retirement in 2010. In addition to the Executive Director, the Council is led by a Board of Directors of up to 18 men and women from throughout the region who dedicate themselves to bringing quality arts and cultural events to our community. To this day, MACOA maintains a close relationship with Mineral Area College and you will find the office in the Fine Arts Building on the college’s campus.
Initial programs of the Mineral Area College Arts Council included concerts by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the St. Louis Brass Quintet. Many in our community will recall the annual presentation of the full St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in the Mineral Area College Field House, which was the organization’s main event throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. More recently, MACOA has focused on bringing a diverse series of events to the community, including a long-running K-12 Student Art Show which draws thousands of art entries from local school districts each spring. A typical performance season now includes a mix of free and ticketed shows concerts, performances and exhibits by local, regional and national artists.
The current Mineral Area Council on the Arts Board takes seriously the responsibility to continue the traditions established years ago by Dr. Kohn and the original Mineral Area College Arts Council. We look forward to the future and providing opportunities for our region to experience the arts locally.