City manager: Funds available for small and large arts organizations

This guest opinion column by Shelley Dickstein appeared on the Ideas and Voices page Sunday, October 4.



Arts and culture play a critical role in Dayton’s community and economy.

In a typical year, our region benefits from the nearly $215 million economic impact that results from our nonprofit arts and culture industry, which also generates over $20 million in local and state government revenues.

The city of Dayton decided to allocate part of its CARES Local Coronavirus Relief Funds (LCRF) to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in our community recognizing these important groups have had a significant negative impact to their existence because of COVID-19.

This opportunity for relief funds, with no matching fund obligation, is Dayton’s way of showing support for a critical and vibrant ecosystem in our community.

It is absolutely about the cancelled shows and closed doors, the reduced patronage because of the stay-at-home orders and social distancing precautions that are necessary to keep one another safe. It is also about acknowledging the organizations' efforts as they identify new ways forward and assisting them with what they need to safely reopen as soon as they can.

In the Dayton region, cultural attendees spent an average of $19.71 per person, per event, as a direct result of their attendance. This funding not only directly assists the arts, but also supports other hospitality and retail businesses where people also spend time and money when patronizing an arts venue.

We made the strategic decision to not identify a dollar figure for the relief fund, or establish minimum and maximum awards.

Our goal is to be as impactful as possible, to as many organizations as possible with the funds we have available. While we anticipate applications from nearly all of the larger organizations, we also hope smaller organizations will apply for these funds.

The simple and concise application is intentional and should not warrant a professional grant-writer to complete. We hope this article and our efforts to get the word out reaches a wide audience and that all Dayton arts and cultural nonprofit organizations feel encouraged to apply.

The relevant information, including the Notice of Funding Opportunity and application, can be found here: The application deadline is 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 12.

The city of Dayton values a lively and robust arts and culture ecosystem that positively impacts quality of life, benefits the business community, and provides educational opportunities for residents and visitors. Dayton wouldn’t be Dayton without these organizations, and we are happy to be in a position to provide relief funds as we all navigate these challenging times.

Shelley Dickstein was appointed Dayton City Manager in 2016. She has over 20 years of urban administration and economic development experience and a demonstrated record of success with business, community and government leaders. Guest columns are submitted or requested fact-based opinion pieces of 300 to 450 words. Proposed pieces should include links to any research or statistics cited. Have an idea? Contact Amelia Robinson at

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