ArtsinStark Kicks Off $1,650,000 Annual Campaign

With the theme “You Hold the Key to Creativity,” ArtsinStark hosted its Annual Arts Campaign Kickoff Luncheon at the Cultural Center on Thursday.  The goal, to raise $1,650,000 million for the arts in Stark County by May 24.  “I’ve watched the impact of the Arts District on the neighborhood around my business,” says Campaign Chair David Grabowsky, Owner: Standard Plumbing & Heating. “Today we have 30 galleries, artist studios, theatres, shops, eateries, and clubs.” ArtsinStark board Chair Emil Alecusan, CFO of Brewster Cheese, emphasized that since “We are now also using art as the key to creating more genius-like schools, to growing tourism, and to building America’s 21st century workforce — making goal this year is more important than ever.”  More info at  or by calling 330-453-1075.

Over 150,000 people are reached each year by the seven largest arts organizations: the Canton Ballet, Canton Museum of Art, Canton Symphony, Massillon Museum, Palace Theatre, Players Guild and Voices of Canton.  Over the last 10 years ArtsinStark has awarded those organizations $10 million in grants.  “But we’re also about supporting small organizations and individual artists,” says ArtsinStark Vice President of Advancement Steve Kleiber, “so during that same time period we’ve given out another $1.5 million in 650 little grants to churches, Boys and Girls Clubs, universities, schools, festivals, hospitals, and individual artists.”

While, in Canton, ArtsinStark has produced over 100 monthly First Fridays for 175,000 people, it has also created programs and awarded grants for downtown revitalization in Alliance, Jackson, Louisville, Massillon, Minerva, Hartville, North Canton, and Canal Fulton.  The SmArts Program, which integrates arts and academics to supercharge learning, operates today 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 partnering with the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the new tourist attraction called The ELEVEN, a monumental public art series celebrating the 11 greatest moments in professional football history.  Four of the eleven artworks have been completed, with two more scheduled to be done this year.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of the thousands of donors to ArtsinStark’s annual arts campaign,” says ArtsinStark CEO Robb Hankins, “and 92 cents of every dollar goes right out the door to support programs in schools, neighborhood, and downtowns that bring to life that little piece of genius that resides inside us all.”

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 2016 the Campaign raised $1.7 million to become the only united arts fund drive in America to ever make goal for 11 years in a row.  (Over the last decade we have increased private sector giving to the arts by 85%.)