Ohio Arts Advocate Warns Federal Funding Still to Be Decided

Sep 4, 2017

Bill Behrendt of Ohio Citizens for the Arts speaks to a crowd at the Akron Art Museum.
Credit Mark Arehart/WKSU News

Arts is big business in Northeast Ohio, accounting for nearly 1,800 jobs in Summit County alone. State funding for the arts is holding steady, but as one arts advocate says, there’s still work to do at the national level. 

Dozens of people squeezed into an auditorium at The Akron Art Museum last week to hear Bill Behrendt of Ohio Citizens for the Arts speak about the state of arts funding in Ohio. He said people are often surprised to find out how much money the sector brings in.

About "$32 billion are associated with the creative industries in the State of Ohio. That generates about $3.4 billion in tax revenue.”

He said it’s up to Ohioans to help elected officials see the arts as an economic driver.

President Trump has proposed zeroing out the National Endowment for the Arts, which Behrendt said would deprive the state of about a million dollars per year. But that funding is ultimately up to Congress, which has yet to settle on a federal budget. So Behrendt said national arts funding is still very much in limbo.