I continue to be inspired by the cultural fabric of our community. Every city strives to attract businesses, new residents, and visitors of all ages to their city. How we do that in Columbus is the secret in the sauce. In Columbus we have incredibly talented artists and world-class arts organizations that attract national and international attention. No other city has this collection of talent, these creative and talented people and organizations that make our city unique.
It’s the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s goal to help everyone understand the tremendous value the arts have for Columbus and the role our cultural organizations play in supporting the people in our community.
To help accomplish this we promote our unique collection of talent through the Art Makes Columbus/Columbus Makes Art campaign. Entering its fourth year, the campaign now features more than 60 Columbus artists in diverse disciplines and their video stories are getting hundreds of thousands of views. Each year the web traffic to ColumbusMakesArt.com and our event calendar grows, as more and more people engage in cultural events—from free festivals, like the Columbus Arts Festival, which the Arts Council produces, to original events only available in our city to internationally touring shows. The Art Makes Columbus campaign supports our cultural organizations in marketing their own events—in the past five years GCAC grantees saw an increase of more than 29 percent in their earned revenue.
A critical component of every nonprofit arts and cultural organization’s income is public support and this is true in cities across the country. The amount of public support directly impacts what kinds of programs organizations can provide for the community outside of their paid tickets and admissions. This is the critical support provided by the Arts Council through the hotel motel bed tax and soon the recently passed 5% ticket fee.
The Arts Council reinvests these dollars in our artists to build an environment where talented creatives want to live and work. This public investment positively impact our economy and quality of life as cultural organizations are able to expand programs in K-12 and in low-income neighborhoods and create critically acclaimed exhibitions and productions. In the last year Arts Council grantees provided more than one million arts education experiences for school children and created unique collaborations and productions that received national attention.
In 2018 we provided 400 grants to individual artists, which helped them to build their professional skills and gain access to needed resources. We produce a Community and Street Performer program that pays artists to bring creative vitality to our streets and open spaces. In the five years since the launch of that program, more than 500 artists have earned nearly $150,000. We also partner with other organizations like the Lincoln Theatre. Now in its’ sixth year, 77 artists of color have participated in the Lincoln Theatre’s Expand Your Horizon incubator program, designed to help them build the professional skills needed to be a successful artist and businessperson.
Research proves that a thriving cultural community helps attract creative talent and businesses, supports economic development and jobs, improves our neighborhoods, and positively impacts the lives of young people.
When we each do our small part, we are each investing in our city’s success. Columbus, I encourage you to support the arts and cultural organizations, programs, events, and artists that are the special sauce that helps our city thrive.
To discover more about what the Arts Council does year round explore our 2018 Annual Report to the Community.
— Tom Katzenmeyer, connect with Tom on LinkedIn.