More than two decades ago Nebraskans created the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, the only endowment in the country supporting bot the humanities and the arts. The Cooper Foundation was one of the founding donors and has continued its support with grants totaling $250,000. NCE raises private funds, which are matched by a State of Nebraska fund, to provide ongoing income to the Nebraska Arts Council and Humanities Nebraska. With NCE funds, the two councils have distributed over $4 million to cultural organizations and events across the state.
The Nebraska Arts Council, a state agency founded in 1947, supports artists, organizations, schools and communities to promoted, cultivate and sustain the arts for the people of Nebraska. Recently it initiated repair and maintenance of the Nebraska Intersate-80 Bicentennial Sculptures. Begun in 1973, the I-80 Sculpture Project was both groundbreaking and controversial. It showcased contemporary sculpture accessible to all Nebraskans and visitors at rest areas along one of the longest and busiest highways in the country. In the 1970s the Cooper Foundation provided $20,000 toward creation of George Baker’s Nebraska Wind Sculpture near Kearney and recently provided $10,500 for the first phase of the conservation project. NAC used those funds to refurbish Memorial to American Bandshell near the Platte River between Lincoln and Omaha, and Arrival, near Milford.