A state agency formed in 1967 is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The Nevada Arts Council preserves and supports the arts in the Silver State and they plan to continue doing it well into the future.

This year, there's a new man at the helm.... Executive Director, Tony Manfredi. We sat down with him to learn more about what the organization does. "It’s really helping to shape - and reshape - who we are as a city region and a state," explains Manfredi.

We're talking about art, in all its forms - from sculptures and murals to music and dancing. The Nevada Arts Council is the agency in charge of enriching cultural life in our state and Manfredi is passionate about it. "That is through advocacy, that's through grant making, through program enhancement and development."

The festivals enjoyed throughout the year, art and music in the schools, our museums, even The Seven Magic Mountains near Las Vegas - exist in great part because of the Arts Council. Manfredi says their work supports quality of life here  - and increases tourism;  "It really shapes who we are and the more people who come in and see that, really get a better sense of what this state is really like."

The Council protects Nevada’s history with the Folk Life Program - among other things, showcasing Native American and Basque heritage. “All of those cultures are - there's a richness there, that it's not lost, that it's created, it's crafted, it's encouraged to continue.”

The council is funded by the state, the National Endowment For The Arts and private donors. But most of the money they raise is given away, says Manfredi. “We push out nearly a million dollars’ worth of grant funding to organizations, individual artists, arts organizations.”

That's a million per year. Our schools are big beneficiaries as well. 

Manfredi says he feels fortunate to step into an organization with such a strong foundation. And while the council celebrates 50 years, the group also looks to the future “…work to see how can we make sure we're a critical component in the economic vitality of the state" says Manfredi.

To learn more about the Nevada Arts Council click below