Arts leaders from around the state have signed a letter to Ohio lawmakers arguing for expanded public funding of arts and culture. Fred Bidwell, chairman of the Cleveland-based Arts & Culture Action Committee, took that case to the House Finance Committee in Columbus on Thursday. Bidwell is acting as spokesperson for a coalition of over 80 arts and cultural organizations looking to increase the scope of arts funding through an existing cigarette tax in Cuyahoga County, according to a news release from Ohio Citizens for the Arts.
The arts are often trumpeted as an amenity that makes Ohio a better place to live, but a new study suggests that the state’s writers, performers and other creatives account for a $41-billion contribution to the economy. The study also defines creative workers more broadly than people may typically think by including people working in fields like media and design.