State Budget Update We are pleased to report Governor Mike DeWine’s executive budget proposal was released on March 15. The $150.4 billion proposal for Fiscal Years 2020-21 has an increase for arts and culture through the Ohio Arts Council, bringing the agency’s General Revenue Fund appropriations to $29.5 million over the biennium. We believe this is an indication that the administration values the arts and their impact on the economy, jobs, education, and cultural heritage. We now await our opportunity to testify before the House and Senate Finance subcommittees. Our testimony is built on the foundation of great work our grantees carry out every single day. The investment and engagement with citizens across all 88 counties makes for a great success story and we’re proud to work with all of you to demonstrate that the arts are a sound investment with big returns! We’ll keep you updated on the state budget process now through the end of June. National Connections, Statewide Results The Ohio Arts Council is a national leader—that’s a fact! It’s through following our values—leadership, engagement, investment, and innovation—that our work is known and others seek to emulate our successes. Our colleagues across the nation look to us for program replication, new tools and resources, and arts education innovations. We’re often able to stay ahead of trends in the arts, audience engagement, and education because our team is always setting the standard, making key connections, and learning. We are also fortunate to have a trusted group of national colleagues who support our work and provide solid research and resources. Take a moment to read about the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Arts Midwest, and the Ohio Kennedy Center Collaborative. As I think about the connections we have with our grantees, I also think it is important to take stock of our national connections. As a follow-up to our Arts Impact Ohio conference in December, we want to continue the Arts & theme … Arts & Health Care, Arts & Social Change, and Arts & Education . Take a few minutes to check out the rest of this article and the resources highlighted. Following your investigation of the resources shared, send me an email about the ideas that resonate with you, align to your strategic plan, and inspire you to consider something new. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) is the professional association of the nation’s 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies. NASAA is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization that champions public support for the arts in America. Together, NASAA and the nation’s State Arts Agencies advance the arts as an essential ingredient in the well-being and prosperity of our nation’s individuals, communities, and families. I’m honored to be an elected member of the NASAA Board of Directors and experience first-hand the dedication of the NASAA staff and board to making the arts a priority across the nation. This month NASAA released three new resources: Creative Aging , Arts and the Opioid Epidemic , and Arts in Clinical Settings . These strategy samplers are designed to help us develop programming and partnerships to foster Arts & Health interventions. I’m encouraging you to read these resources and have a conversation in your community and propose how we might work together on the Arts & Health Care efforts. Arts Midwest , our regional partner, promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. For a few years I’ve been very interested in Creating Connection —a national social change movement focused on advancing the position of arts, culture, and creative expression. It builds on previous efforts by Arts Midwest and the Ohio Arts Council to promote arts and culture, and is grounded in new research and a unique approach to building public will that creates lasting change. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read the Creating Connection research report . We would love to know if you and your organization are interested in learning more about Creating Connection – we would be thrilled to host an informational meeting for everyone who is interested. Imagine what we might do together Creating Connections! Ohio’s Kennedy Center Collaborative (OKCC) is comprised of three Ohio Partners in Education teams from Mansfield, Springfield, and Wooster; the Any Given Child site in Youngstown/Warren; and the Ohio Arts Council. Together, we form the Ohio Kennedy Center Collaborative (OKCC). This statewide team strives to increase arts integration opportunities across Ohio by providing professional development for teachers and training for teaching artists. The mission is to foster partnerships among arts organizations, schools, and communities. The primary purpose of this partnership is to provide professional learning in the arts for teachers and artists so that they are better equipped to implement arts integration strategies in local schools. For the second consecutive year, the OKCC will offer a summer professional development opportunity entitled, "Destination Education: Arts Integration." This year’s session will be hosted by SMARTS (Students Motivated by the ARTS) in downtown Youngstown on June 5-6, 2019. Each summer, this arts integration professional development rotates to a different location around Ohio in order to reach a broad audience. If you want to know more about this summer’s “Destination Education: Arts Integration” opportunity send me an email ! It’s these strong, national and statewide partnerships that create meaningful engagement. From across the nation, with an emphasis on the Midwest, and a concentrated focus on opportunities for Ohio—at the OAC we remain committed to our vision to provide leadership and voice for the arts to transform people and communities. Remember, if it’s good for the arts, it’s good for all Ohioans! Until next time, Donna S. Collins Executive Director Featured photo: Representatives from Ohio arts organizations attend the Kennedy Center LEAD Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The Ohio Arts Council is fortunate to have a trusted group of colleagues who support our work and inspire us through national connections and statewide partnerships. Photo courtesy of Kim Turner.