I had a very exciting day last Wednesday, Arts Advocacy Day in Ohio. I traveled to Columbus with other arts supporters to lobby our legislators on behalf of the arts. Ohio is in a budget crisis and the arts have taken a huge hit as state government wrestles with budget shortfalls and how to allocate limited funds. Last year the budget of the Ohio Arts Council was cut 47%. I and a large contingent of artists, arts patrons, arts lovers, and arts professionals from Dayton, along with groups from all over Ohio urged our government leaders to do their utmost not to cut us further, and maybe even add back some of what we lost last year. Arts related businesses contribute to the economic health of the state; as well arts education is an integral component of a well-rounded student (more on this later).
I want to get on to the next exciting part of the day: the Governor’s Awards! This year, two awards went to Dayton folk: Marsha Hannah and Kevin Moore, the dynamic duo behind the Human Race Theatre Company, won the Governor’s Award for Arts Administration; and Jim and Enid Goubeaux, long-time arts supporters, won the Governor’s Awards for Arts Patrons. As is usual for Dayton, it seemed half the city turned out at the luncheon to cheer them on. We have great arts and great arts supporters in Dayton and we are very proud of our artists!