Mark Corna Remarks
Mark Corna, Recipient of the Michael B. Coleman Arts Partner Award at the Greater Columbus Art’s Council’s 2017 Community Arts Partnership Awards.
“Any award such as this recognizes an individual, but it is really the accomplishment of a whole team, and I thank everyone at Corna Kokosing Construction Company who helped make this possible.
I am also absolutely delighted to accept an award named after our former Mayor Michael B. Coleman, whose vision helped develop the dynamic, exciting city in which we live today. Mayor Coleman was also instrumental in securing more public funding for the arts at a crucial time.
We are fortunate to have an incredible amount of high quality cultural offerings to enjoy in Columbus. We have extremely committed, tremendously talented executive directors running our arts organizations along with world-class artistic directors. We are lucky to have Tom Katzenmeyer leading the Greater Columbus Arts Council, as
well as a mayor, city council members and county commissioners who all support the arts. We are also blessed to have Doug Kridler and the Columbus Foundation.
That said, the cultural community in Columbus demands our ongoing attention. This room is full of the usual suspects who consistently attend arts events and support our arts organizations and institutions. All of us here today know that the arts enrich the soul, serve as an economic development driver and help attract and retain the creative class that is needed for the new economy. But the needs of our arts community require that we extend our networks outward. A survey conducted a few years ago indicated that Columbus is next to last among nearly two dozen peer cities in per capita contributions to the arts. Another survey performed at about the same time indicated that the total endowments for all arts organizations in central Ohio totaled approximately $64 million. The endowments in our peer cities were in the hundreds of millions of dollars and for some cities, such as Cleveland, the total endowments for arts organizations exceed one billion dollars.
We need to encourage our family and friends to attend events and make contributions. We need to urge co-workers to get involved with boards and committees. We need to educate attendees to locally
produced arts events that the price of a ticket does not cover the cost of the production; additional support is required. We need to seek out the newcomers to Columbus, and the owners of the many successful new startup companies and encourage them to get involved. We need to consider our wonderful arts organizations in our estate planning to help build the endowments to where they need to be. And we need to continue to advocate for additional public funding of the arts.
I am reminded that this award is an acknowledgement of previous partnership efforts and past advocacy, but we are not done.
A great city deserves great art — and together, through our support and ongoing advocacy, we can ensure our arts community is well funded and strongly positioned to continue to provide the best artistic experiences for everyone to enjoy today and into the future.