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In late June, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens vetoed a bipartisan bill that would match funds for the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s proposed arts conservatory.

The self-identified "conservative outsider" took to Facebook to explain his actions in an open letter to his constituents.

Politicians are addicted to spending your money.This year, they passed a bill that would put taxpayers on the hook for...


Posted by Eric Greitens on Wednesday, June 28, 2017

In his statement, Greitens described the move as strictly fiscal, but he doesn't miss the opportunity to take a jab at the project, describing the campus as "a conservatory for dancers and art students."

He later told the press "I like the arts" but currently doesn't see them as a priority for the state.

"I think that when we look at all of the priorities that we have in the state of Missouri — funding K-12 education, funding adult high schools, making sure that we’re taking care of the most vulnerable citizens in the state of Missouri — we have to make tough choices," he said.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. Photo by Michael Thomas/ Getty Images.

But Kansas City Mayor Sly James released a public letter of his own, standing up for his city and the creative students and professionals who call it home.

For decades, Kansas City has been home to great jazz, world-renowned art museums, folk music festivals, and a storied opera, ballet, and symphony. It's also home to the headquarters of Hallmark Cards (full disclosure: I used to work for Hallmark), where you'll find hundreds of artists, illustrators, designers, and writers bringing ideas to life. Walt Disney even had his first studio there.

Creativity is in Kansas City's DNA.

As Mayor James wrote:

"The arts are vital to our city’s collective personality and history and we must support this industry if we wish to remain a world-class city that welcomes and encourages everyone to pursue his or her passion."

Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images for Legendary Pictures.

If fiscal concerns were behind Greitens' veto, James brought the receipts.  

"In 2015, the arts added an astounding 7,515 jobs to our local economy. It also added $7.9 million in revenue to our local government and $10.9 million in revenue to the state government. I don’t hear the Governor saying he doesn’t want the revenue our arts community creates for the state."

"If the Governor thinks politicians are “addicted to spending taxpayer money” and cites the arts as a an example of the problem – then may the taxpayers of Kansas City have that $10,900,000 back, please?"

The arts scene isn't just a fun way to spend a weekend in KC — it's a serious economic engine.

Sly's got receipts — and jokes. Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images.

UMKC announced it will pursue the project without matching funds, but not every arts education program will be so lucky.

In Missouri and across the country, most local arts initiatives can't afford to go back to the drawing board or rely on wealthy donors to pick up the slack. What does that mean for their future?

Arts education and creative initiatives matter to our citizens, communities, and economies. Full stop. With federal arts money for humanities frequently on the chopping block, state and local funding is absolutely vital if we hope to create and maintain world-class cities for generations to come.

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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