Lately it may seem as if all of my focus is on public funding for the arts. It’s important and I’ve written about the necessity of keeping our public revenue streams on par with the cities that we compete with for business, tourism and residents. Today, however, I would like to turn the focus to the support that our nonprofit arts organizations get from the private sector.
So many programs that are offered in this city are of public value, but do not generate revenue. Consider a free concert series, like the Heritage Concert Series currently running at the King Arts Center. It costs them to produce this concert series. Skilled people need to run sound, lights, and electric. Then there are artists to pay, plus staff to set up and clean up after the event. There is no charge to the public so how do all of these bills get paid? If you go to the King Arts Complex’s website you’ll see a list of sponsors. Many of these are for-profit businesses who provide cash and in-kind support because they see the value of programs like a free concert series for the Columbus community.
Each year, the Greater Columbus Arts Council hosts the Community Arts Partnership awards to recognize and celebrate businesses and individuals that go above and beyond to support the arts in Columbus.
Columbus nonprofits work hard to raise funds for their programs, and our business community is very responsive, however, there are always businesses that take their philanthropy to the next level.
For example, last year’s winner in the large employer category, G&J Pepsi Cola, leveraged their marketing savvy and reach to support several Columbus arts organizations and the collaborative Harlem Renaissance at 100 project through a “can panel” promotion—imagine tens of thousands of cans of Pepsi including messaging promoting local arts events.
Another 2018 winner, Ologie, has a history of giving back to arts organizations. Their win in 2018 was related to their “Brand Camp” initiative, where Ologie chooses two worthy organizations to benefit from an intensive, strategic, pro-bono exercise to reshape each organization’s brand—a process that would normally cost an organization thousands of dollars.
I could write a book with all of the examples of ways in which individuals and organizations large and small step up to support the arts, but it is time now to look for nominees for the 2019 awards.
I urge our arts organizations, partners and advocates to consider nominating a business or individual for a 2019 award. These worthy supporters deserve our public recognition and an afternoon of celebration, at the Community Arts Partnership Award, Oct. 31. Their generosity of time, money, sweat and skill are vital to the health of our arts community.
Find more information on nominations, including categories and criteria, at the CAP guidelines & elgiblity page on the Arts Council’s website, gcac.org.
— Tom Katzenmeyer, connect with Tom on LinkedIn.