Franklin County, (OH)

County Arts Leadership

The 2008 National Award for County Arts Leadership was presented to the Franklin County Board of Commissioners of Franklin County, OH, at NACo’s annual meeting in Kansas City, MO. The Franklin County Board of Commissioners was chosen for their ongoing support of the arts and culture in Columbus and throughout the county.

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners has become a leader in supporting arts education by engaging residents across the county with an array of education and community-building programs in the arts. Local public funding for the arts totals more than $2.1 million.

For 15 years, Franklin County has helped support the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s (GCAC) Community Arts Education Programs. In conjunction with the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, GCAC established the successful Artists-in-Schools program that reaches out to 100,000 students a year and helps generate over $200,000 in annual revenue for local teaching artists. Franklin County’s support for GCAC’s education department has contributed to the development of a strong partnership with Columbus City Schools (CCS), BalletMet Columbus, Opera Columbus, and the Jazz Arts Group to provide professional development in arts integration for more than 200 CCS teachers and local professional teaching artists, impacting over 14,000 Columbus City Schools students.
This year, the Franklin County Commissioners have expanded their support of educational arts programming by funding a new, comprehensive network of educational arts-based opportunities for youth ages 5–19, and their families, before or after school. The two primary programs—Art in the House, serving up to 500 students ages 5–12, and TRANSIT ARTS, serving up to 300 teens ages 13–19—are progressive initiatives that celebrate the exciting diversity of the surroundings while guiding youth as they discover and expand their creative minds and artistic talents.

Since the launch of GCAC’s Franklin County Neighborhood Arts small grants program in 2004, more than 200 awards, ranging from $200–$2,000, have been granted.