There are 59 UAF’s and 4600 LAAs in the United States—Culture Works is one of only 28 agencies that are both a UAF and an LAA. Culture Works, our local United Arts Fund, raises money through the annual Campaign for the Arts. The campaign is more than just a fundraiser, it’s also a community engagement program. Collaborating with community businesses, artists, and arts organizations, Culture Works bring arts experiences into workplaces across the region, showcasing the richness and diversity of arts offerings in our region. The Campaign invites intentional investment by community stakeholders, people like you. Your gift makes it possible for Culture Works to offer general operating support grants to arts organizations in our region. Operating support is crucial to maintaining a vibrant arts community because no matter how much program funding an organization receives, one cannot run programs without staff, or lights.
The campaign provides community engagement in the workplace, but also on the grantmaking side of the program. Culture Works distributes campaign funds using an outcomes-based grants funding process, like those used by the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Under this model, a panel of citizens evaluates applications in a public review, using an established scoring rubric. This process provides fairness, transparency, and accountability for the applicants and the community a voice in cultural investment. Panelists see firsthand the impact our community dollars have on our arts organizations and the impact the arts have on our community.
Culture Works, our Local Arts Agency, advocates for the arts in our region, representing arts organizations and artists on a local, state, and national level, asserting the importance of the arts in community development and economic growth. As our LAA, Culture Works forges partnerships that help to grow our creative economy. For example, Culture Works secured $500,000 in American Recovery Plan funds for regranting to arts organizations and artists in our region. Only 66 Local Arts Agencies were awarded such funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Culture Works has also received a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Creative Placemaking grant. We’ve partnered with the Greater Edgemont Community Coalition to create a public artwork for the grounds of the Edgemont Solar Garden that articulates Edgemont’s community identity and brings attention to the Greater Edgemont Community Coalition’s mission to address food scarcity and nutritional education. The Edgemont Solar Garden invites participation from the wider community at events, like their “Spring into Summer” event on Saturday June 24, 2023. from 12-4.p.m. Artists from the Our Town project will be on site talking to members of the community about Edgemont and the Solar Garden to gather inspiration and members of the Edgemont Solar Garden leadership will be on hand to share and showcase their sustainability initiatives.
Culture Works believes we should support the arts because the arts support us. The arts are good for us—they enlighten, entertain, foster innovation, and generate income. The arts contribute 4.3% of the nation’s economy—a larger share of GDP than oft reported sectors such as agriculture, transportation, and construction. In our region, the arts generate 214 billion dollars annually. Culture Works, like UAFs and LAAs across the country, is working to bring the arts into bigger community conversations and undertaking bigger community challenges. We believe that our community benefits and will continue to benefit from exploring, planning, implementing, and integrating the arts into our region as a whole.
According to Americans for the Arts, seventy-four percent of people believe the arts unite us. Culture Works sees that impact in our community. Our region has many communities, like Edgemont, communities individual in character and diverse in culture, heritage, ethnicity, and experiences. The arts show us how we are connected, they reveal our shared humanity, celebrate our differences, and unite us, and change us from many communities into one. By supporting Culture Works, you support the arts, and person by person, community by community, gift by gift, the arts will change the world.
Culture Works Campaign for the Arts is running now through June 30. https://cultureworks.org/support-the-arts/ Thank you for supporting the arts.