New coalition aims to support local arts, culture

(WKBN) – The Mahoning and Shenango valleys have a new coalition to advance arts and culture in the region.

Many of the leading organizations have formed the Cultural Alliance, including groups like the Butler, Youngstown Playhouse, YSU and even the Ballet Western Reserve.

They will work together to leverage their power of creativity.

“The Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania regions boast a proud history of a strong and vibrant arts and culture environment,” said Dr. Chester Amedia Jr., Alliance president. “The Alliance seeks to build upon that history, bringing together all parts of the arts and culture community to further amplify the important role that diverse arts and cultural activities play in the continued vibrancy of our region.”

Their goals are promoting appreciation and engagement in the arts and cultural initiatives, even supporting local artists, arts and culture organizations.

“We know that communities that have a vibrant arts and cultural program or footprint, they always do better in every single area, including the development of our young people,” said Warren Mayor Doug Franklin.

“I think we’re going to make a strong impact on the region as a whole and enhance on what all of these organizations do for the Valley,” said Ken Bigley of the JAC Management Group.

The Cultural Alliance has already started a website and started a group event calendar.

The idea for the Alliance dates to July 2019, when YSU engaged a consultant to conduct a general assessment of the region’s cultural and creative sectors. The study found that, despite significant economic challenges and population decline, a strong arts and cultural heritage with world-class, historic venues has remained a central part of the region.

YSU then convened a group of arts and culture leaders to begin planning for a community arts coalition. The group conducted additional research and interviews with groups around the country to look at best practices, and in February 2021 adopted formal mission/vision statements and bylaws.

In May 2021, the group earned nonprofit status from the state of Ohio and is now pursuing federal tax-exempt status.

Alliance membership is open to nonprofits, businesses, organizations and individuals who support, coordinate or facilitate cultural or artistic venues, presentations, festivals and other activities that are intended to engage the public and enrich the artistic or cultural life of the region.

For more information on The Cultural Alliance, call XCD Management Services at 330-781-6212 Ext 0.

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