The Missouri Fine Arts Academy was originated in 1996 in order to challenge, motivate and empower Missouri's most talented arts students. This year, the academy had 151 student participating from every region in the state, but these students have encountered a greater challenge than ever before. The state legislature cut funding by more than two-thirds. Next year, Missouri's budget does not account for any funding to this important program. Julie Bloodworth, director of the Missouri Fine Arts Academy, and two of the participants discuss the nature of the program.
In Springfield's downtown community, there is a collaborative effort taking place involving Missouri State University, major hospitals, technology firms, community groups, small businesses, individuals and many other stakeholders. It is called the IDEA Commons. Allen Kunkel, associate vice president of economic development at Missouri State and director of the Jordan Valley Innovation Center, discusses plans for the new Robert W. Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business Development and the IDEA Commons as a whole.