ArtsinStark announces $1.2 million in grants

At its December board meeting ArtsinStark’s Board of Directors approved $1,182,000 in grants to 74 organizations, schools, and individual artists across Stark County. The grants were awarded in four different categories: Operating, Special Project, SmArts, and 20/20 Vision. “These programs and projects touch every single community in Stark County,” says ArtsinStark board chair Max Deuble. “And they show the incredible impact of the arts on community and economic development, and just how far ArtsinStark has come in the last 10 years in serving all of Stark County.”

The projects we support through our Grants Program reach 200,000 people a year. Over the last 10 years we’ve awarded $10 million in grants to the 7 largest arts groups: Canton Ballet, Canton Museum of Art, Canton Symphony, Massillon Museum, Palace Theatre, Players Guild and Voices of Canton — and another $1.5 million in grants to 600 small non-profits, artists, and schools in every community in Stark County.

New Operating Grants will go to the seven major arts organizations in Stark County. They total $1,064,835. “These are the crown jewels of our region,” says ArtsinStark board Vice Chair Emil Alecusan. “They operate at the highest professional level and are key to attracting visitors and growing tourism.”

New Special Project Grants will go to 25 smaller arts organizations, non-profits and individual artists. They will be awarded $34,900. Projects like Canton Parks and Recreation offering art programs during the summer, the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps providing classes and equipment for the students of En-Rich-Ment, and local artist Craig Joseph producing a musical on the lives of our presidents, were among the winning ideas. “We received applications from lots of new agencies and artists this year, and it will be exciting to see the results of their programs,” says Anne Wadian, ArtsinStark Office Manager, who runs the Grants Program.

New SmArts Grants will go out in two forms: Mini-Grants and Partnership Grants. To date this year they total $53,450. Every one of the public school systems in Stark County is receiving a SmArts Grant of some kind, as well as Holy Cross Academy, Central Catholic High School, and Heritage Christian School. SmArts Grants support projects that integrate the arts with the core curriculum to do things like use photography to teach Chemistry, create artistic ecosystems to teach 5th grade Science, and make ceramic art to connect different cultures in Social Studies. “Over 5,000 students in Stark County will use the arts this year to learn Math, Reading, Language Arts, and Social Studies,” says Justy Boggs, ArtsinStark Planning and Education Consultant. “And the total dollars being spent, old and new, by the County Arts Council and all the school systems to support SmArts Program total more than $90,000.”

20/20 VISION GRANTS awarded so far this year will go to 17 organizations and artists that are helping move the 20/20 Vision plan forward in Stark County. Projects range from banner murals in Louisville, to mini-fests in Alliance, to the Polar Bear public art project in Jackson. “20/20 Vision is a plan we developed for the whole county,” says ArtsinStark Board Secretary Greg Luntz, “and covers everything from downtown revitalization, to public art, to increasing cultural tourism.”

Specific awards can be found on our website at

BACKGROUND: ArtsinStark — Kids, Jobs, Communities. We are a 45 year old private, non-profit organization that gives out grants, manages the Cultural Center, and runs the Annual Arts Campaign — and much more (Canton Arts District, First Fridays, SmArts Program in the schools, 20/20 Vision, and the ELEVEN). More at Our annual budget is $3 million. What we don’t earn, we raise each spring through the Annual Arts Campaign. In May 2015 the Campaign raised the highest amount in 45 years: $1,775,000 — to become the only united arts fund drive in America to ever make goal for 10 years in a row. (Over the last decade we have increased private sector giving to the arts by 85%.)