Ohio Arts Council Turns 40

If all the artists and arts organizations that have been supported by The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) showed up in grand form to honor the organization on its 40th anniversary, the line would stretch for miles and miles.

The OAC, a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically, has faced many challenges on a day-to-day basis since its inception.  With funds from the Ohio Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the OAC has provided financial assistance to individual artists and arts organizations across the state.

Wayne P. Lawson was appointed by the Council’s Board to be the fourth executive director of the OAC in May 1978, and he has been its skipper for more than half the agency’s existence, quite an impressive feat in itself.

As the OAC moves towards the half-century mark, Lawson says the organization must continue to grow.  “The OAC is moving forward with a philosophy that argues that the public value of the Arts can be found in communities small and large throughout the state,” he says.  “We must tell those stories as part of this appreciative journey.”

With that said, much is planned as part of OAC’s anniversary celebrations.  “We have invited former council members and the former directors to a celebratory dinner the night prior to our October council meeting,” says Lawson.  “In addition, our website will list events going on around the state during October, which is National Arts and Humanities Month.”