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Grim reality: Perception is that city lacks in arts

 MikeReed
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The Dispatch wrote Grim reality: Perception is that city lacks in arts

Monday, April 7, 2008

BY JEFFREY SHEBAN

The news hit the arts community like a ton of hicks: Columbus finished last in a 16-city comparison of arts and cultural establishments. “It’s damaging; we’re all concerned,” said Bill Conner, president and chief executive of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts.

“I was sad to hear it,” added Nannette V. Maciejunes, executive director of the Columbus Museum of Art. “I think we do fight against that perception.”

The ranking was part of a wider report released last week by the Columbus Partnership, a nonprofit civic-development group, to assess the region’s economic strength and cultural vitality. Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Nashville, Tenn., Kansas City, Mo., and Chicago were among the cities profiled.

But nowhere did the city fare worse than in the number of arts establishments per capita — a broad category ranging from video-rental stores and barber schools to museums and dance companies.

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