Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky Named Executive Director of Missouri Citizens for the Arts

The Missouri Citizens for the Arts Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky of Eureka, Missouri to fill its position of Executive Director.

An award-winning artist, Ms. Ochonicky is the former Executive Director for BoardLinkStL, as well as the former Executive Director of Missouri Artisans Association /The Best of Missouri Hands. She remains one of that organization’s juried members.

She’s the Arts Editor for The Healthy Planet Magazine, an active arts educator with Partners in Education, St. Louis Community College and the Eureka Arts Council. As an arts advocate, Ms. Ochonicky serves on the Arts Education Collaborative in Jefferson City and the Grant Review Panel for Regional Arts Commission in St. Louis.

Missouri Citizens for the Arts provides advocacy for the Missouri Arts Council (MAC), which funds grants to arts organizations throughout the State of Missouri. MAC funding comes from the income tax on professional non-residents athletes and entertainers who work in Missouri. Each year budget restraints make it necessary to advocate for the actual release of this revenue so vital to sustaining arts organizations across the state, from the symphonies, ballets, art museums and operas in St. Louis and Kansas City to the Rolla Choral Arts Society, the City of Maples Repertory Theater in Macon and over five hundred other organizations.

This year, the Missouri Department of Revenue will collect about $30 million in new funds for the Arts and Entertainment Tax. The Missouri State statute specifies that 60% of that – an estimated $18 million – is to be allocated to the Missouri Arts Council.

Missouri Citizens for the Arts First Vice President, Kate Poss-Morency stated, “Ms. Ochonicky’s extensive experience in statewide and local alliance building is ideal for her new role in the perennial defense of voter-approved statewide funding for the arts. We look forward to welcoming a proven and skilled arts advocate to lead this essential work.”