“There’s nothing to do around here!”
Over the years, have we not all heard that a time or two? That particular statement has always made me chuckle. In the Mahoning Valley, I would put our leisure activity options per capita up against anywhere in the state.
From the historic Stambaugh Auditorium to The Butler Institute of American Art; from Covelli Centre to the Youngstown Playhouse. How about Packard Music Hall or the community amphitheaters? The opportunities are staggering.
Now, as we all stay at home across this great community without those choices, it seems so easy to look back and see there was always so much to do.
The detrimental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our nation has been unthinkable and unprecedented. Virtually no business sector is unscathed. For those of us in the arts, creative, and entertainment fields, our businesses were among the first to close. Unfortunately, we are also likely to be among the last to reopen.
However, it’s not our COVID-19-troubled industry that leads me to write this today. I simply want to share the priceless and immeasurable effect and the cultural impact these venues have on our local communities.
Arts and entertainment hubs make a massive impact. They are important economic multipliers for our local economies and tax bases as employers and tourism destinations. Just as important, they are revenue generators for neighboring businesses such as hotels, restaurants and retail sites.
Nationally, one Chicago-impact report estimated that for every $1 spent on a ticket, a total of $12 in economic activity is generated.
The economic impact of the arts on Ohio’s economy is staggering.
The arts industry contributes $41 billion to Ohio’s economy and employs nearly 300,000 people generating $4.5 billion in federal, state & local tax revenue. In the Mahoning Valley alone, $341 million is generated by the arts industry. It supplies more than $143 million in wages and income.
As a proud board member of Ohio Citizens for the Arts, we will work diligently to safely and effectively reopen the arts industry at the appropriate time.
Soon enough, we will be back in full swing generating arts, culture and economic impact for this great community and look back at this time when there was really nothing to do.
— Eric Ryan is president of JAC Management Group/JAC LIVE and a board member of Ohio Citizens for the Arts.