The Power of the Arts Initiative – Mission Statement: To create and sustain a collaborative structure for the Arts and Culture community to effectively participate in our region’s revitalization and economic development and to positively impact our citizens’ quality of life.

Board of Directors

Terry  Cloonan , Chairman  / Becky Keck, Vice Chair   (Executive Director SMARTS – Students Motivated by the Arts) / Mark Mangie,  Secretary (Mark Mangie Law) / William Mullane, Treasurer  (Gallery Director, Trumbull Art Gallery) / Bonnie Burdman   (Youngstown Area Jewish Federation) / Rebecca Davis  (Butler Institute of American Art) / (Mark Gasser  (Gasser Chair Company Inc.) / Jamie Jamison (YSU, Instructor Dept. of Communication) / Sharon Letson   (Youngstown CityScape)

About POA

In modern America, the “Arts” are facing a set of unique issues as our society changes.  These issues include integration, engagement and funding.  One thing we know for sure…the well-being of Arts and Culture institutions and activity at all levels goes hand in hand with the economic stability of our urban centers.  The Mahoning Valley is no different.

In 2009, under the sponsorship of The Raymond Wean Foundation, The Community Foundation, and the Youngstown Foundation, 250 interested members of the arts and economic development communities gathered at the Butler Institute of American Art to examine these issues. The Power of the Arts Initiative was born.  Since that meeting, more than 1,000 people have engaged in achieving the goals of Power of the Arts.  They come from all walks of life…visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, design arts, public service, community development and the private business sector.

These people, organizations, and businesses understand the rich arts and culture heritage of the Mahoning Valley.  They understand that our arts and culture infrastructure and pool of talent surpasses many communities twice our size.  They understand the importance of preserving our rich heritage and the economic benefit that flows from that preservation and nurturing.

The goals of Power of the Arts are threefold:

1)             Develop an entity that will raise the visibility of, participation in, and community revitalization role of arts and culture in the Mahoning Valley. (The word “entity” was carefully selected rather than “organization”.)

2)                   Develop and implement a plan to secure public funding for arts and culture in the Mahoning Valley.    

3)                 Develop a method by which to assist local arts and culture entities and individuals to maximize exposure for their efforts and events, as well as to provide a structure though which these groups can communicate with each other, private businesses that may benefit from their events, and various public and quasi-public entities assuring mutual benefits to all.

Since its inception, Power of the Arts has gone through many changes as it strives to achieve its goals.  In 2015, it formed its own 501-C-3 organization to give it a more permanent structure.   Its members have also formed an independent Political Action Committee to help implement its goal of a steady stream of public funding for our arts and culture community.

Power of the Arts is stepping up its efforts to achieve our goals.  We are becoming pro-active in digital promotion of member events.  We are coordinating our calendar with those of local Visitors and Convention Bureaus to achieve maximum exposure not only for our members, but our community.  We are meeting all our members on a one-on-one basis to see what needs they have that Power of the Arts can provide.

Of note is the continuation of its Arts Means Business Professional Development series.  These quarterly events provide dynamic speakers that talk about the “business” of arts and culture…what business form should you use…how does digital marketing work…how to apply for grants…and the politics of the arts.  This series has been ongoing and has reached hundreds of individuals in the community. 

Finally, Power of the Arts is renewing its efforts for the formation of an Arts and Culture District within Mahoning and Trumbull Counties as provided for in the Ohio Revised Code.  This districts are semi-autonomous entities with the ability to place local funding options on the ballots to give local communities the chance to back its arts and culture entities with public support.  This ongoing effort is centered on legislative activity to give Mahoning and Trumbull Counties the same rights as Cuyahoga County to achieve our goals.

Power of the Arts is moving strongly and boldly into the future to fulfill the goals of our members, our institutions, and our communities.

You can view “Solidifying our Structure and Community Service Strategic Plan for 2015-2017”, developed in association with Janus Small Associates, by clicking on the link below.  


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