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Council President Unveils Arts Alliance Funding Strategy

New Funding Model to Promote Creativity and Stabilize Facilities

[COLUMBUS, OH] On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, Council President Shannon Hardin unveiled the Columbus Art Alliance, a new funding strategy to invest in creativity and stability of public facilities. 

“This proposal is a direct result of what we do in Columbus: radical collaboration,” said Hardin. “We listened, we looked at the research, and we balanced public needs with economic reality. We must take responsibility for our aging buildings and for the next generation of arts, artists and arts education for local families and their kids. This plan offers a path forward for two important challenges.” 

The Columbus Art Alliance financially supports Columbus’ cultural and performing arts community with a 5% fee on tickets to concerts, local arts performances and major sporting events. The funds raised will be invested in two major areas – Creativity and Stability, through grants managed by the Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC). 

The Creativity Fund is a 5% ticket fee on performance and sports events at venues with more than 400 seats and on tickets more than $10. The fund will help increase inclusion and access to major venues and arts performances, and nearly double the amount available for grants to local artists and arts groups. The Creativity Fund will collect revenue at venues other than events held at Nationwide Arena or Ohio State University sporting events. This Creativity Fund of the 5% ticket fee is projected to generate $6 million annually.  

“The public benefits by keeping our arts organizations strong, and our kids benefit from creativity at every age,” added Councilmember Priscilla Tyson, who also represents the City on the GCAC Board. “We are ever more connected in a vibrant economy that demands arts and culture to attract talent. We also are increasing investment for new artists, small groups and those that represent all the diversity of Columbus.” 

The second part of the new strategy is the Stabilization Fund, from a 5% ticket fee on events at Nationwide Arena. This Stabilization Fund will be invested in maintaining buildings with an estimated $3 million in revenue annually. This ensures that only revenue raised from events at Nationwide Arena can be used to support building improvements at the Arena. From this Stabilization Fund, 80% will be reinvested for long-term capital and maintenance projects at the Arena, with museums, theaters and other critical civic gems receiving the other 20%. 

On September 17, 2018, Council received GCAC’s detailed proposal for a 7% ticket fee across the board to support the Arena and arts organizations. After receiving the document, Council solicited community input through the first of two public hearings, stakeholder meetings and an online survey to develop an equitable, sustainable plan that invests in the arts and public facilities. Council will host its second public hearing on November 29, 2018, 5pm, in Chambers to consider legislation for the December 10, 2018 meeting. If enacted, the plan would be in place July 1, 2019. 

“We have a responsibility to keep the doors of art and culture open and accessible,” Hardin continued. “Investing in our creative economy, investing in our aging public arts and events spaces will have immeasurable returns for everyone who works, visits and calls Columbus home.”