Arts' economic impact on northwest Ohio to be announced

BGSU’s Center for Regional Development has undertaken what is thought to be the first study of the economic impact of the arts and cultural organizations in this region. Results of the study will be announced during a 6 p.m. event Tuesday (Oct. 2). at the Valentine Theatre in downtown Toledo. The public is invited to attend.

The research was commissioned by the Northwest Ohio Arts Exchange (NWoAX), a group of artists and arts educators and administrators, business leaders and others dedicated to fostering the growth and development of northwest Ohio's arts community. Founded at BGSU in 2003, the group meets annually for discussions of the state of the arts in the region. Those discussions identified the need to measure the impact of the arts economically.

Dr. Michael Carroll, an economist and director of the Center for Regional Development, said that many might be surprised by the size of the arts' role in northwest Ohio's economy. His research is focusing on the arts and cultural organizations in a 27-county area.

“This study is particularly relevant because there is a growing body of research that shows a thriving arts community is crucial to the health and vitality of a region,” he said.

Dr. Katerina Rüedi Ray, director of the School of Art and a NWoAX Advisory Board member, said the arts are “big business and, as businesses, they make money for our economy. The study will show our region to have a strong creative economy—a creative hub in a creative state.”

In addition to Carroll, speakers will include special guest and Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland; Steve Weathers, president and CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership; Toledo Mayor Carleton Finkbeiner; Dr. James M. Smith, BGSU vice president for regional growth and economic development; Ohio Arts Council board member Mary Wolfe of Perrysburg, and Richard Anderson, chairman and CEO of The Andersons.

October 1, 2007