ArtsInStark Annual Arts Campaign: Art Changes Lives

by Todd Walburn

A month ago I attended the kick off to the ArtsInStark Annual Arts Campaign.  The room was filled with a lot of familiar faces; artists, executives, patrons and staff from many of the county’s arts organizations.  I entered the room a skeptic.  ArtsInStark had already been successful in reaching its fundraising goal ten years in a row.   This year’s goal of $1.7 million seemed enormous.  Had our community’s support for the arts found a limit?  Had we yet reached the peak of the bell curve of our artistic enthusiasm?  We all knew and understood the value of the arts in our communities, in our schools, for economic development but big goals also require an increase in the number of people who are willing to support your goals.  That clearly became this year’s challenge and it was clear that ArtsInStark had a plan to make that happen.

The impact that ArtsInStark has had in our county has been enormous.  Communities from Canton to Alliance to Minerva are witnessing the birth of new arts-related businesses; local artists are finding a place in the schools where they work with teachers of almost every subject to integrate the arts into their curriculum; area non-profits are finding unique and impactful ways to add arts programming to their services, affecting an entirely new group of clients in novel ways.  This year’s slogan “Art Changes Lives” is more than lip service: it is a statement of fact and we can all see the results.

This year we have been challenged to share our enthusiasm for these successes and bring new people on board as supporters of ArtsInStark and their county-wide outreach efforts.  “Arts1000” is an incentive in the workplace and through individual efforts to reach first-time donors to ArtsInStark while at the same time giving them a sample of the county’s artistic offerings by awarding each of these donors with an “Arts1000 Passport” with discounts and offers from a variety of local arts venues. New donors mean new investors in the growth of the arts in our communities.  It means new patrons to our venues and a new generation of arts professionals.  (New donors at the $40 or above levels also receive the traditional incentive of the ArtsInStark pARTiPass).

In a dozen years or so I can picture the room in which I sat filled with a whole new group of people who were helping ArtsInStark reach another seemingly impossible goal, excited about the future of our communities and our students and our economic growth.  If a lifetime career in the arts had taught me anything it’s that nothing is impossible if you are willing to push the boundaries, work hard and look at things in creative new ways.

ArtsInStark is slightly over 15% of its goal so there is a long way to go.  You can make a donation at www.artsinstark.com/donate. If YOU would like to be an Arts1000! Ambassador, contact Cindy Kilduff at ArtsinStark:  ckilduff@artsinstark.com