Arts Council finishes year with small gain in funds

Despite losing funding from the last city administration, the Columbus Area Arts Council finished the year in the black.

Last year, the organization which sponsors arts, artists and performances in the community, was projected to lose as much as $50,000.  Instead, the council saw a small gain of $3,926.

The council held its annual meeting yesterday at Yes Cinema, thanking donors and volunteers for their generous support.

Outgoing director Karen Shrode talked about the year’s successes.

“It was a truly remarkable year in every sense of the word,” Shrode said. “The fact that we barely broke even does not tell the deeper story. Which is the fact that we banded together to sustain this organization, because we all believe in its mission and in the benefits it brings to the community.”

Shrode said that Rock the Park and the downtown Block Party both made record or near-record amounts — $30,000 for the Block Party, and $35,000 for Rock the Park. The annual unCommon Cause fundraiser netted more than $118,000. She said that sponsors were asked to contribute more for events last year and they came through for the community organization.

During the 2014 budget process, then-Mayor Kristen Brown cut the arts council’s funding from the city. Over the previous 10 years, the arts council has received $148,000 to almost $192,000. Instead, Brown wanted the council to compete with other community organizations for $50,000 in possible grants through the parks department.

Shrode said that there is hope that the new city administration will restore the lost funding.