Editorial: Ohio arts organizations need us now

In April of this year, the unemployment rate for those in Ohio’s arts and entertainment sector was 21%. Though employment in the sector improved a bit by May, the damage of more than a year of pandemic-related closures is clear. According to a report by Ohio Citizens for the Arts, its members suffered significant financial losses. These are organizations ranging from the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, and the Great Lakes Theater to the Zanesville Museum of Art.

Yes, CARES act funding was funneled toward the arts community, but it was a drop in the bucket.

” … Unfortunately, the organizations permitted to apply for CARES (Act) funding indicate in this new survey that the one-time relief aid had only kept their institutions afloat for an average of six weeks,” said Angela Meleca, executive director of the Ohio Citizens for the Arts, in a statement on the report.

That means the arts organizations we love need help from all directions. Remember, when we were cooped up at home, we turned to musicians, actors, authors, artists and other performers to keep us company and ease our minds. Support for the arts is essential.

Lawmakers and bureaucrats must therefore make sure that fiscally responsible arts organizations get whatever help is available to them at the state and federal level.

“No business can be expected to survive, by no fault of their own, on zero earned income for more than a year and then be presumed that they can stay alive without additional one-time assistance,” Meleca said.

But those of us who love and understand the value of these organizations must also show our support. Many are attempting to bring back concerts, exhibits, classes and other offerings on a shoe string. They are not up to full strength. Buy a ticket, register for a class or make a donation, anyway. If theses groups get the support they need, they will be back to providing the high-quality arts exposure and education we so desperately need in no time.

— Marietta Times, June 25