Creating Culture that Connects

 Creating Culture that Connects

Culture Works unveils the art community’s impact on Dayton.

Culture Works kicked off its 40th anniversary on Nov. 14 with the release of the economic impact study results as the first phase of Culture Connects 20/20, a cultural planning process for the Dayton region.

“Our theme for the year is ‘Honoring A Visionary Past … Celebrating an Innovative Future.’ Culture Connects 20/20 will be looking at steps that we can take now, to ensure that these cultural assets are there for the next generation,” says Amber Best, Culture Works board chair.

Representatives from arts organizations, educational institutions and the media joined Culture Works’ donors, community leaders and elected officials at the Loft Theatre to learn more about the cultural planning initiative and to discuss the impact of arts and culture on Dayton.

The economic impact research, which was commissioned by Culture Works, was part of the first phase of Culture Connects 20/20. It revealed that 266 nonprofit arts and culture organizations in an eight-county area contribute $161.3 million into the economy each year and generate more than 4,800 jobs. This emphasizes the need to undertake a planning process that establishes specific goals to help develop and sustain the area’s cultural life and institutions for decades to come.

“The report suggests the Dayton region’s nonprofit cultural sector is strong,” says Marc Goldring, an associate principal at arts and culture consulting firm WolfBrown in Boston. Goldring is assisting Culture Works to implement the cultural planning process in collaboration with the following: Richard Stock, director of the University of Dayton Business Research Group, and Jane Dockery, associate director of the Wright State Center for Urban and Public Affairs. The project received funding from the Dayton Foundation, Miller-Valentine Group, Morris Home Furnishings, and the PNC Foundation, with additional funding pending.

“There is a lot of interest in figuring out a way to strengthen the existing organizations, to build audiences, and to perhaps come up with a funding mechanism that addresses the loss of major corporate supporters and to regain that money from other sources,” adds Goldring.

Culture Connects 20/20 will look toward the region’s next 10 years and identify recommendations and action steps that will define the responsible parties, timelines and expected outcomes.

To view video excerpts from this event, visit

Economic Impact of the Dayton Region Nonprofit Cultural Sector

JOBS (fulltime equivalents)









$85.4 million

$71.6 million

$3.5 million

$4.1 million



$75.9 million

$45.1 million

$3.8 million

$4.8 million



$161.3 million

$116.6 million

$7.3 million

$8.9 million