Message from Jeff Rich, Chairman, Ohio Arts Council

Dear OCA Board, Members, and Friends:

I am writing to you today to express my deep appreciation for your tireless advocacy work on behalf of the arts in the State budget process.

While we have two more legs of the race to finish (Conference Committee and final approval of Governor Kasich) the first two have been exceptional!  With leadership from the Ohio Citizens for the Arts’ Board of Directors and professional staff reasonable but aggressive goals were set to secure funding for the arts in Ohio.

The OCA membership went to work right away contacting their House of Representatives’ members and really made the case for public support of the arts.  In fact, your efforts coupled with the dedicated support from House members allowed us to exceed our original goal of maintaining the OAC budget. We were fortunate to have the House add $3,000,000 to the proposed Executive budget!

When the Ohio Citizens for the Arts’ Board of Directors met in May, they cautiously took a bold step to revise the maintenance goal and seek additional support from the Senate. Our goal was $17,600,000.  We were once again met with support from the Senate which resulted in an additional $3 million in the Ohio Arts Council’s budget.

As the Conference Committee prepares to meet we find ourselves with a 56.5% increase ($6,000,000) from the combined efforts of the House and Senate compared to the Executive Budget proposal (March, 2011).   However, as OCA legislative counsel, Bill Blair, often reminds us we must be cautiously optimistic and stay on message about the need for public funding for the arts until the ink dries on the final/approved State budget.

I received today’s OCA action alert from Donna requesting that we be in contact with our House and Senate members delivering a message of appreciation for what has been done thus far in the budget.  I’ve made my calls and I hope you will too!

Ohio Citizens for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council are the best statewide arts organizations in the country. I’m proud to be a part of both organizations working together to support the arts for everyone in Ohio.

Best Regards,
Jeff Rich
Ohio Arts Council

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