Dozens of arts organizations in Dayton are struggling to fund their operations at current levels amid declines in government funding, corporate donations, and foundation support, the Dayton Business Journal reports.
This year, the Ohio Arts Council awarded a mere $434,000 — nearly half of what it awarded in 2009 — to twenty-eight nonprofit arts groups in the city, and in 2011 the council expects to have almost $100,000 less to hand out. Moreover, with the state budget deficit projected to be $8 billion in 2012-13, OAC executive director Julie Henahan is worried the downward trend in arts funding will continue, putting additional financial stress on already strapped organizations, many of which have also seen reduced funding from foundations and corporate sponsorships.
Institutions like the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dayton Opera say they are weathering the storm by reinventing themselves, forging new partnerships, and cultivating relationships with individual donors, whose support has remained relatively steady. Still, many arts groups in the city have had to enact salary freezes, cut back on programming, and/or lay off staff.
Henahan said she hopes local residents keep in mind that arts organizations are not only cultural assets, but entrepreneurs and small businesses that provide jobs, stimulate commerce, spark tourism, and add to the region's quality of life. "Dayton is seen as a city of innovation and invention, and the arts are part of teaching this," she said. "These are things we should protect and treasure."