February 27, 2020

Hannibal, MO. – Corey Mehaffy, Executive Director of the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council (HREDC) announced today that MU Extension representatives GK Callahan, Community Arts & County Engagement Specialist in Community Economic Development, Lisa Overholser, Field Specialist in Community Development, and Christopher Kempke, Community Engagement Specialist, will be in Hannibal on March 1st & 2nd  for community tours and an asset mapping exercise.

The goal of the exercise is to identify Hannibal’s Arts Community assets, draft a plan to build on those assets and work toward enhancing the creative community. According to Kempke, during the visit the MU Extension representatives will conduct the asset mapping exercise, a readiness survey, and deliver all the information in a written report following their visit. Kempke added, “GK and Lisa would also like to take a few minutes to introduce “Passport to the Arts,” Extension’s newest Community Arts program to the attendees of the mapping exercise.  They think this might be a good fit for the community moving forward.”

According to Mehaffy, a recent economic impact study concluded that the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $5.09 million in annual economic activity in the Hannibal area—supporting 126 full-time equivalent jobs and generating over $506,000 in local and state government revenues. https://www.missouriartscouncil.org/most-recent-missouri-data/  Mehaffy added, “Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations make their communities more desirable places to live and work. Aside from the significant economic impact, the arts assist employers in attracting and retaining quality employees.”

Mehaffy indicated that a group of local artists approached him in early 2019 to share information on the successes of the Provenance Project. The project was undertaken in the late 1990’s and led to the 50 Miles of Art. “The group was interested in building on the success stories in Hannibal. What impressed me the most about the Provenance Project was unprecedented ROI from the project considering the limited initial investment. Given the strength and magnitude of our creative community today, we have a strong base to build from.”

A group of local citizens will be participating in the day and a half event which will include a driving tour of the entire community, walking tours of historic downtown Hannibal and the asset mapping exercise.  The hope is that the asset mapping would act as a “road map” for future investment and recruitment efforts. “In addition to the tours, we will talk with the MU Extension representatives about what the creative community means to Hannibal and to the region overall — from an economic development standpoint — in terms of our ability to recruit and retain good quality employees in the area, bring more visitors to the area from a tourism perspective and just enhance the overall quality of life for residents.”