The Ohio Arts Council has just completed re-branding itself, a necessary exercise in this era of quickly changing and ever-expanding methods and styles of communication, although an effort not demanded by those already in touch with the state agency whose mission is to “fund and support quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.”
For example, Andrea Jordan, executive director for Darke County Center for the Arts, says, “The Ohio Arts Council provides the backbone for everything that DCCA does. Because of OAC and their phenomenal staff which really cares about our success, we are allowed to do all the fantastic things we do!”
OAC has a new logo and a new Website, as well as a new Arts Plan created in response to the needs of everyday Ohioans who participated in focus groups, interviews, surveys, and site visits throughout the state. But never fear; while refreshing its identity, the ultimate goal of this highly respected agency remains unchanged. Created in 1965 “to foster and encourage the development of the arts and assist the preservation of Ohio’s cultural heritage,” OAC continues to provide financial assistance to artists and arts organization and make arts activities available to a broad segment of Ohio citizens.
The Ohio Arts Council truly makes possible arts experiences which enhance quality of life for people of all ages from all economic strata and ethnic origins throughout the state. Or, as their Vision Statement says, works “to provide leadership and voice for the arts to transform people and communities.” For Darke County, these lofty statements translate to exciting, entertaining educational performances for students in every grade level in all local public schools as well as a broad array of other high quality presentations.
DCCA’s season-closing Artists Series concert featuring Toledo Symphony Orchestra playing the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein probably could not happen without funds provided by OAC. The agency picks up one third of the tab for Ohio artists that meet their criteria for excellence, benefiting in this case TSO and its members as well as DCCA and its patrons. Multiply that exponentially, and you begin to comprehend the value of the Ohio Arts Council to cities, towns, and rural communities across the state.
Although the arts bring people together and nurture our cultural heritage, the value of the Ohio Arts Council is not only intrinsic. Ohio’s creative industries support more than 231,000 jobs and contribute almost $32 billion to the state’s economy. Exposure to the arts increases academic performance, helps develop problem-solving and interpersonal skills, and correlates to creating new business ventures. Ohio’s investment in the arts through the Ohio Arts Council also provides a quality of life that attracts new businesses and lures skilled workers to the state. Ohioans strongly support their tax dollars being invested in the arts, with 91.2 percent stating their belief that such investment is worthwhile.
So, the Ohio Arts Council has up-dated its identity, but will continue to work to achieve tried and true worthwhile goals. Regardless of OAC’s current interpretation of its brand, it remains a vital resource and a valued asset for all Ohioans not only in the present but also well into the future.
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.