Ohio Museums Join Effort to Preserve Federal Arts Funding

A traveling exhibition of Nelly Toll's Holocaust artwork, created by the Massillon Museum, was underwritten by federal funds [Massillon Museum]
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The Ohio delegation joins about three hundred museum people from around the nation, Tuesday, for the ninth annual Museums Advocacy Day.  It’s being organized by the American Alliance of Museums, which represents everything from volunteer-run historic houses to the Cleveland and Cincinnati art museums.  Although this event has gone on for nearly a decade, participants say there’s more urgency, this year.

Alexandra Coons, executive director of the Massillon Museum, says she and her colleagues --- from institutions large and small --- will be working as a united front.

"We're not advocating on behalf of Massillon or Canton or Cleveland," she says.   "We're advocating on behalf of all Ohio museums."

And their pitch to House and Senate lawmakers will be that agencies like the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) or the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) are only a small part of the overall federal budget.  

Coons says there would be a trickle-down effect to cultural organizations across the state if federal programs are reduced or eliminated. 

"The Ohio Arts Council receives the second largest distribution of NEA funds," she notes,  "second only to California.  And so Ohio stands to be impacted in a tremendous way if NEA funds are cut."

Coons says she hasn't heard anything concrete about federal arts cuts, but says the museums are being proactive and making their case before any decisions are made.


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