ArtsinStark Kicks Off $1.7 Million Campaign

On Wednesday at the Cultural Center, ArtsinStark kicked off the 2016 Annual Arts Campaign. Its goal is to raise $1.7 million for all the arts in Stark County during the 11-weeks from March 9 to May 25. The drive is being chaired by Jim Porter, CEO/Publisher of The Repository. The theme is how “Art Changes Lives.” On Wednesday morning, one after another, volunteers and community leaders took the stage to tell stories about the important impact the arts are having in schools, downtowns, and neighborhoods across the county. “It’s very impressive to be the only united arts fund drive in America that has ever made goal for ten years in a row,” said Porter. “But now to keep on growing, we need to get hundreds of new donors to join us in supporting this incredible arts explosion.” More information at

Over 200,000 people a year are reached by the arts here. The majority of these are impacted by our seven largest arts organizations: the Canton Ballet, Canton Museum of Art, Canton Symphony, Massillon Museum, Palace Theatre, Players Guild and Voices of Canton. Every day they bring us world class art, and over the last 10 years ArtsinStark has awarded those organizations more than $10 million in grants.

During that same time period, ArtsinStark has given out another $1.5 million in 600 little grants in every single community in Stark County. Those grants have gone to churches, YMCA’s, YWCA’s, Boys and Girls Clubs, universities, libraries, schools, theatres, museums, historical societies, festivals, hospitals, Girl Scouts, food pantries, and individual artists. “There is not a single community in Stark County that has not received an ArtsinStark grant or program of some kind,” says ArtsinStark CEO Robb Hankins.

In Canton, ArtsinStark created the Arts District with 26 art galleries and studios. It has produced over 100 monthly First Fridays for 175,000 people there, and installed 55 new pieces of public art. But it’s not just downtown Canton where ArtsinStark is working in. The County Arts Council’s programs and grants are also at work in downtown Alliance, Jackson, Louisville, Massillon, Minerva, Hartville, North Canton, and Canal Fulton.

“Our SmArts Program is changing our schools by integrating art and academics to supercharge learning,” says ArtsinStark board chair Max Deuble. “SmArts projects have reached 30,000 kids, and today we’re in every one of the 17 public schools systems in Stark County — and all of the Catholic elementary and middle schools as well.”

The County Arts Council is also trying to change tourism with the arts. The Pro Football Hall of Fame and ArtsinStark are creating a new tourist attraction in downtown Canton called The ELEVEN. This monumental public art series celebrating the 11 greatest moments in professional football history, is also part of the strategy for connecting the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s new “Village” to downtown.
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BACKGROUND: ArtsinStark — Kids, Jobs, Communities. We are a 46 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 — 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%.)

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