Matt Michels is South Dakota’s 38th Lieutenant Governor and the Chair of the National Lt. Governors Association (NLGA) where he has designated the State Military and Veterans Arts Program as his chair's initiative.  Matt is the perfect champion for this program given his background as an elected official, a naval officer, a nurse and as an arts advocate. 

Art is a fundamental commodity of humanity. The arts and business are intricately linked and I firmly believe that one does not exist without the other. As an artist, arts entrepreneur, curator, and arts administrator who grew up and remains immersed in the economic and community development and small business world, I clearly see this truth which has played out in many ways in my lifetime.

"As a former dancer and arts administrator, the question I kept hearing was 'where is the next generation of audience member/patron/board member?' When I started our arts program at IVY, I realized our 20k+ members (made up of young professionals from diverse fields and backgrounds in 7 US cities) are the key to sustainability for the arts for my millennial generation.

Veterans living in rural areas face many health disparities and have greater difficulty accessing needed care. Heather Spooner works with the University of Florida's Center for Arts in Medicine telehealth-based art therapy clinical demonstration project at the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center, which addresses the needs of rural Veterans by providing them with supervised art therapy in their own home.

During National Arts and Humanities Month, Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) photographed “Dignity,” a 50-foot sculpture of a Native American woman created by Sturgis artist Dale Lamphere. The sculpture is on the banks of the Missouri River in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

"The partnerships between business and the arts are essential–our sector provides the creative capital and business provides the capital investment that makes the project a go. I don’t think I’ve ever initiated a major new program without the support of the business sector. The arts are the entrepreneurs of creativity–unlike any other sector, the arts create programs that touch almost every aspect of community life in substantive, meaningful, long lasting ways. Businesses are often looking for creative, impactful programs in which to invest.