OAC and an extended budget


Submitted photo A touring production’s cast with local kids at PAAC, which was funded through a partnership with the OAC.

Joseph Pratt

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Art is defined as the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination and has ranged from paintings on cave walls to the recent growth of holographic projection concerts. Art affects many people in various walks of life and Ohio will see a continuation of the fostering of the arts thanks to Ohio’s recent budget bill.

The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) will receive the largest increase in state funds in its 50-year history thanks to Governor John R. Kasich and Ohio legislators’ enactment of House Bill (H.B.) 64, the state’s biennial operating budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

HB 64 appropriates $28,944,100 from the state’s General Revenue Fund (GRF) to the OAC. The appropriation reflects an increase of nearly $6.25 million, or 27.5 percent, compared to the previous biennium.

The OAC’s budget is now within $3.3 million of its peak biennial GRF funding level of $32.2 million, achieved in fiscal years 2000 and 2001.

This budget is the largest biennial increase for the arts and culture through the OAC to date.

“On behalf of the entire Ohio Arts Council board, I deeply appreciate the support demonstrated by Governor Kasich and lawmakers in the Ohio House and Senate,” Jeffrey A. Rich, OAC board chair, said. “Our elected leaders have made a tremendous, unprecedented commitment to strengthening the arts in Ohio.”

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.

The OAC assists art organizations all over the country in staying active through grant opportunities.

The OAC assists local organizations such as the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center, Portsmouth Area Arts Council, Southern Ohio Performing Arts Association, many local schools, and more.

Through the partnership with the Portsmouth Area Arts Council (PAAC), the OAC is able to assist in providing quality performing art opportunities to the community.

“PAAC has a long-standing relationship with the Ohio Arts Council and their support is vital to continuing our programming,” PAAC Executive Director Becky Lovins said. “Not only do they provide operational support, but great incentives to work closely with other Ohio arts organizations. We have discovered some wonderful Ohio-based artists through their Ohio Artist on Tour program. Not only do we provide quality arts experiences with these companies, but we are in turn supporting Ohio’s economy.”

The OAC also played a heavy hand in the creation of the local children’s theatre through PAAC, which has touched thousands.

“OAC provided some of the startup funding for the Children’s Theatre program and without it, we wouldn’t have been able to get our first season started. Six years later, we have given hundreds of kids performance opportunities and thousands of students have seen the shows,” Lovins said. “In doing so, we have spent a lot in Scioto County on these productions contributing to the local economy.”

The Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center’s (SOMACC) Artistic Director Charlotte Gordon said that the museum has received countless benefits from the OAC and Gordon credits it all to the incredible staff that pushes the mission of art throughout Ohio.

“Twyla Tharp said, ‘Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.’ There are many people in our service area that don’t have the time or means to get away,” Gordon explained. “The OAC funding provides us with the opportunity to bring art, music, and performing arts to everyone; to enrich everyday lives, which in turn, enhances the whole community.”

Shawnee State University (SSU) just recently witnessed a benefit from the OAC, with a paid performance and workshop. The partnership has opened a performance of Tuvan throat singing, which will be hosted by Alash Ensemble on October 22, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. The OAC has paid for everything and admission is free to the public.

For more information on the OAC, visit them on Facebook, Twitter, or online at www.oac.ohio.gov.

All of the local entities impacted by the OAC also have their own social media following online as well.

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.

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