New data shows Ohio is lagging the nation in rebuilding the arts, culture economy

The study found:

– Arts and culture industries employed 158,206 Ohioans in 2021, totaling $11 billion in compensation.

– The economic output of Ohio’s arts and culture sectors ranks 11th in the nation, and growth by this measure ranks 35th. Since 2020, the sector’s output has grown 9.4% in Ohio, compared to a 14.4% increase for the nation.

– In 2021, Ohio ranked 8th among all states for arts and culture employment and 36th among all states for employment growth in this sector. As of 2020, arts and culture employment grew 3.5% in Ohio, compared to a 5% increase for the nation.

– In 2021, Ohio ranked 11th among all states for arts and culture compensation and 32nd among all states for compensation growth in these sectors. Since 2020, arts and culture compensation has grown 8.5 percent in Ohio, compared to an 11.3 percent increase for the nation.

– The median wage and salary job in Ohio’s arts and culture industries was $69,255 in 2021, compared to $72,771 for all paid jobs in the state.

The analysis shows that while the total national economic value added from the arts and cultural industries increased by 13.7% from 2020-2021, groups such as independent artists (as an industry), performing arts organizations such as theatre, dance and opera companies and arts-related construction, among other entities, has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

However, the overall arts economy in 2021 amounts to 4.4% of gross domestic product, or $1.02 trillion, which is considered a new record.

“The data reflects what many artists and arts professionals experienced in 2021 – a partial recovery and continued recovery, thanks to the resilience of many Ohioans working in the arts,” said Donna Collins, executive director of the Arts Council. the arts in ohio.

“While the pandemic has negatively impacted our sector, among the hardest hit in terms of economic losses and unemployment, we have persevered, thanks in large part to one-time funding with bipartisan support at all levels of government. There is work to be done to return to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity, but the data shows how important and integral the arts and culture sector is to a strong, vibrant economy and society,” she said.

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“A lot has changed”

Last summer at the 2021-2022 Dayton Live Annual Meeting, the organization reported more than $25 million in economic impact to the Greater Dayton area, bringing the equivalent of 776 full-time jobs to downtown Dayton. But in assessing the 2021 data, the organization acknowledges the hurdles that arose at the time, particularly the growing concerns surrounding the Omicron variant.

“We’ve had a lot of recovery in the arts, but the recovery has also been uneven,” said Ty Sutton, president and CEO of Dayton Live. “It was ups and downs, starts and stops. At the end of 2021, we thought everything was great — our recovery was starting for the first time — but then there was Omicron and everything started to slow down. But we still put on ‘Hamilton’ during the peak of the Omicron wave and managed to get through without having to cancel any shows.”



At the start of the pandemic, Sutton says Dayton Live cut 90 percent of its workforce. He says they are still in the process of re-hiring to get back to “full strength”, particularly training and development staff. He also noted that only in the past four to five months has there been a sense of a return to normal within the organization in terms of customer behavior and buying habits.

“A lot of things have changed, and in some ways we’ll never go back,” Sutton said. “Patrons buy later and make decisions later. The pandemic has caused many of us to not plan ahead in case (an event) doesn’t happen. So we had to change our advertising habits.”

He said it’s been a slower comeback for the older crowd, but they’re coming back.

“We’ve had tremendous support from the community,” Sutton said. “I’ve had people who own restaurants and bars tell us about the effect of being open on a Tuesday night with 2,500 or 3,000 people coming downtown when we have multiple shows. It makes a world of difference. For many, it’s the difference between succeeding and doing better.

“Commit to Keeping the Arts Strong”

Roediger said the Dayton Art Institute has seen a significant resurgence in the community’s desire to return to the museum since the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Although Ohio is a bit behind other states, I am encouraged by the return of our audience, members and donors,” Roediger said. “We’re seeing excitement and a return to the arts in the community and specifically at the Dayton Art Institute.”

“When we were able to reopen briefly at the beginning of the pandemic, we were only 30 percent—which was in line with the national average for most fine art museums—of our annual attendance of nearly 125,000. Today, we’re at 83 percent and we are excited to see people return to the museum, purchase memberships and support our exhibitions and signature events,” he said.

Roediger says the DAI continues to monitor stock market volatility and the likelihood of a recession. However, as a non-profit organization relying on the support of donors, sponsors, foundations and members, the organization trusts in the goodwill of the community to keep them financially secure and sustainable for future generations.

He also notes that DAI, which will host its 66th anniversary Art Ball fundraising gala on June 10, had an impact of nearly $10 million in the community before the pandemic.

“We need everyone to commit to keeping the arts strong in the Dayton region,” Roediger said. “Dayton is fortunate to have such a rich arts community, and we are a significant attraction for emerging performing talent and young professionals.”

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“People Are Coming Back”

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance reports that at the end of its 2021-2022 season, audiences have returned to 52% of pre-pandemic levels. The current stat is 70%. Organizers see the trend as an encouraging lead to build on, especially to attract a wider demographic and increase ticket sales.

“People are coming back,” said Patrick Nugent, president and CEO of the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. “Our core belief is that the arts are for everyone. Our overarching goal is to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to fall in love with the performing arts.”

Nugent said their $5 ticket program has sold about 5,000 tickets in the past 18 months.

“I’ve also seen the average age of the audience plummet, and I’ve seen its diversity expand,” he said. “We want to continue those trends.”

Nugent also says he’d like to see more of a push from the business community to promote the arts in the region.

“I would like business and government to understand that the arts are indispensable to the economic success of our state, region and city,” he said. “We appreciate the support we get from the business community, but the very prosperous business community that exists in the Dayton region now has not come close to the support the arts received from the major employers that closed or left the region 20 or 30 years ago.” But they still benefit. We would like to help businesses get much more involved in supporting the arts in Dayton.”

The inconsistent recovery of the arts is troubling, but Sutton hopes downtown Dayton in particular doesn’t overlook the need for arts and culture to continue the recovery. In the meantime, he’s determined not to lose sight of a higher purpose that applies not only to Dayton Live, but to all artistic groups in the region.

“People want to see a show and have a good time,” he said. “We should be in the business of bringing joy to people, something that lifts their soul. We should be in the business of providing a great experience. And there’s no substitute for experiencing it live, whether it’s seeing a great piece of art or spending time in a theater.”

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