OCA Vice President Greenwood Testifies on Behalf of Public Funding for the Arts through the OAC

Ohio Arts Council

FY2012/2013 Biennial Budget
Mr. Timothy Greenwood, Vice President
Ohio Citizens for the Arts

Testimony – March 31, 2011
Finance Subcommittee – Higher Education
Ohio House of Representatives

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, my name is Tim Greenwood from Lucas County and I serve as Vice President of the Ohio Citizens for the Arts. Thank you for the opportunity to testify. I am here today representing hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who participate in the arts in every county in our state. Ohio Citizens for the Arts is a statewide arts advocacy organization founded in 1976 for the purpose of increasing public support for the arts in Ohio. Some of you may know Bill Joseph who is our Founder. You may also know Bill Blair (seated in the audience) who serves as our legislative counsel and Ginger Warner (seated in the audience) one of my fellow Board members. These folks along with our Executive Director Donna Collins (also in the audience) work day-in and day-out all year long with our board of directors and members to secure public funding for the arts at the state and federal levels.

Allow me to share a brief story as to how I became involved in this organization. [shared off script story about attending Arts Day luncheon – observed that no one from Northwest Ohio was one of the winners – by the way, you are all invited to Arts Day luncheon on May 11 this year – returned to district and recruited Bob Bell, Executive Director of the Toledo Symphony – Bob won the next year for Arts Administration – when I left the Legislature he recruited me to serve on the Board of the Ohio Citizens for the Arts – here I am today]

My service on the Ohio Citizens for the Arts’ Board has given me the opportunity to meet and work with the dedicated and loyal individuals and organizations who support the arts in Ohio – they are like you and me – they want to live in vibrant communities, they want their children to have a complete education that includes the arts, they want a thriving cultural scene that insures our cultural heritage, and they want to retain and bring new businesses and revenue sources to support the communities in which they live and work.

My job today is to share with you the goal the Board has set for securing public funding. At our Director’s Meeting in December, 2010, we set a goal of maintaining the current budget levels ($13,188,850 for the current biennium) for the Ohio Arts Council in the upcoming biennium. In other words, we are asking that funding for the arts remain the same as for the past two years – no more and no less. During the prior administration the arts suffered a 47% cut to an already meager arts council budget. The Governor’s proposal reflects a further 19.5% cut. Given the extensive cuts to the arts in previous years it is vital that we at least maintain the FY2010-2011 funding levels in the upcoming budget which is where we were 20 years ago in 1982.

The Ohio Citizens for the Arts goal for funding arts and culture thus is $13,188,580 for the FY2012-2013 biennium.

For those of you taking notes, my message today is simple: jobs plus education.

We have provided you with some very compelling data from the Bowling Green State University’s Center for Regional Development which is included in your packet (hold up the OCA folder). In 2009, the University’s Center for Regional Development, the Northwest Ohio Arts Exchange and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts produced a research report entitled Ohio Arts: A Foundation of Innovation, Creativity and Economic Strength. As noted by Michael Carroll, Director of the Center for Regional Development: “This study is relevant because there is a growing body of research that shows a thriving arts community is crucial to the health and vitality of regions. The quality of life within a region, of which the arts are an essential component, is inextricably linked to a firm’s decision about location. If Ohio hopes to secure a vibrant economic future, a quantifiable measure of arts activities is needed to retain and recruit companies within the State.” This study provides key data points that are rarely thought about when considering the arts and Ohio’s creative industries as an economic engine.

 The creative industries annually:

􀁸 contribute more than $25 billion to Ohio’s economy

􀁸 support 231,200 jobs in Ohio’s economy

􀁸 generate $1.06 billion in state and local tax revenues

􀁸 generate $1.78 billion in federal tax revenues

In April, BGSU will be airing a companion documentary to this research. We will provide you with show times and dates in our follow-up mailing to you so that you can learn more about the power of the arts and their impact on innovation, creativity and economic strength in Ohio.

 As Julie mentioned, for every dollar invested through the Ohio Arts Council grants, there is a matching $84 generating an aggregate $433 million in matching funds across the state. One of the common myths about state funding for the arts is that it causes a dependence upon public dollars. This data dispels that myth. Only a small percentage of any arts organization’s budget is based upon public funding. What it does do is “create entrepreneurship, catalyze new ventures, and create a vibrant market for the import and export of our state’s cultural goods.”

The corporate community typically sponsors blockbuster art events whereas our organization and the Ohio Arts Council emphasize grassroots arts development that place a priority on education programming and community outreach regardless of geographic location, political affiliation or economic status. We are talking about projects like: the Wick Poetry Center (Kent); Crosby Gardens Festival (Toledo); Blossom Music Center (Akron); Playhouse in the Park (Cincinnati); and the Black Swamp Arts Festival (Bowling Green).

When considering the budget for the Ohio Arts Council it is also important to remember the tremendous role that the arts can and do play in the education of young Ohioans.

Let’s talk about K-12 education for a moment. We have all heard the acronym STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). We in the arts community believe we should add the letter A, for the arts, to that acronym and make it STEAM. The knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors students acquire from studying the arts has been identified as the skills needed to be successful in a global economy. These skills include creativity and innovation; critical thinking and problem solving; communication and collaboration; flexibility and adaptability; and social and cross cultural skills. There is overwhelming evidence which demonstrates that students who participate in the arts consistently outperform non-art peers on their SAT scores.

The Ohio Arts Council funding is heavily involved in arts education related programs such as: the artist in residence program and much needed resources for arts and cultural organizations to provide arts education programs that compliment the curriculum in our schools.

But let’s forget the statistics and allow me to close by sharing with you a personal story that highlights the importance of arts in the education process and why I have remained deeply committed to funding the arts long after my service in the legislature. [shared off script story about artist in residence program in Toledo.] I am not asking for more money in this budget – simply maintaining the 2010-2011 funding level. Having been in your shoes, I know that it is difficult but as you deliberate and work with your colleagues across-the-aisle, I leave you with these words from the poet and recording artist, Bob Dylan: “we always did feel the same, we just started from a different point – of view.”

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