MISSION

We enrich our communities, citizens, and culture through constant advocacy and relentless support of Ohio creatives and the creative economy.

CreativeOhio is the leading statewide advocacy organization for creatives and the creative economy – empowering, energizing, and establishing creativity as a core economic driver benefiting all Ohioans.

Our members, as “a power beyond one,” are all connected, forming a continuum of creativity, consensus, and collaboration that sustains our communities. We are dedicated to supporting and sharing the economic, educational, and emotional value of CreativeOhio members.

Mission
Vision

VISION

Our vision is to live in an embracing world of open minds, open hearts, and open arms.

VALUES

Integrity

Uncompromising character. Ethics and honor. Openness and transparency. Our worth as an organization is only as valuable as the integrity of each of our members.

Collaboration

We understand the deep value of collaboration. We may be seeking answers to different questions — or we may find different answers to the same question — but we are connected by a shared sense of passion and a respect for a multiplicity of perspectives. We are respectful of one another as we explore our questions, and our answers, together, reaching consensus though a concert of collaboration.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

We celebrate all people and viewpoints and support a culture of inclusion, artistic expression, and equal access. This is the philosophy from which our values are built.

Persistence

We represent Ohio artistry. We understand what fuels creatives’ expressions — tenacity and the courage to be an original. And along this creative journey, persistence is the artist’s true companion. As an organization, we use this same determination and diligence to champion and advance the creative causes of Ohio.

Accountability

We view accountability as a commitment, regardless of the outcome. As an organization, we understand that accountability yields trust. And at every touchpoint, we are equally accountable to our members, our constituents, and our community at large.

Photo of Sarah Sisser, Executive Director & CEO, CreativeOhio

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & CEO

Sarah Sisser brings ten-plus years of experience as a nonprofit administrator, community planner, and advocate for funding of public humanities and cultural institutions at the local, state, and federal levels.

Sisser’s leadership experiences also include serving on the board of Ohio Humanities (the state-based partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities) which she chairs.

In addition to Ohio Humanities, Sisser’s community leadership has included serving on the Hancock County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction, & Mental Health Services, the Findlay-Hancock County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and serving as President of the Findlay Rotary Club.

Personal and organizational recognition for Sisser’s work and accomplishments include the Scenic Ohio Award, Ohio Museums Association Emerging Professional of the Year, Greater Toledo 20 Under 40 Award, Ohio State Historic Preservation Office’s Public Education and Awareness Award, and the Findlay-Hancock County Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Hospitality Award.

Sisser earned a bachelor’s degree of Fine Arts in Historic Preservation at the Savannah College of Art & Design, and a Master of Community Planning degree from the College of Architecture, Design and Construction at Auburn University.

Officers

IMMEDIATE PAST President

Elizabeth Brown-Ellis
Executive Director
Lima Symphony Orchestra

President

Jack Jackson
CEO
3J Strategy LLC

VICE PRESIDENT

Sue Porter
Executive Director
BalletMet

Treasurer

Chad Whittington
President and CEO
Columbus Performing Arts Association (CAPA)

SECRETARY

Colleen Houston
CEO & Artistic Director
ArtWorks

Term Directors

Max Barton
Executive Director & CEO
Canton Museum of Art

Rebekah Beaulieu, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Taft Museum of Art

Tim Birch
Owner
B Scene Arts Consulting

Dr. Philathia Bolton
Associate Professor
University of Akron, Department of English

Stacie Boord
CEO
Shadowbox Live

Janet Chen
CEO
ProMusica Chamber Orchestra

Heather Clow
Executive Director
Marathon Center for the Performing Arts

Mary Duffey, J.D.
Retired
Dinsmore & Shohl LLC

Corey Favor
Senior Director of Community Engagement, Talent & Culture
Orange Barrel Media

Ed Gallagher
Director of Education
Beck Center for the Arts

David S. Guion, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Dublin Arts Council

Damian Hoskins
Executive Director
Elementz Hip Hop Cultural Art Center

Eric Kearney
President & CEO
Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce

Jordan Knepper
Executive Director
Piqua Arts Council

Abby Marcus
Managing Director
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

Jonathan Martin
President & CEO
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Michael McGiffin
Foundation Director
Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber

Eric Ryan
President & CEO
JAC Management Group/JAC Live

Emily Toney
SVP, Columbus Market Executive
Bank of America

Rhonda Sewell
Director of Belonging & Community Engagement
Toledo Museum of Art

Strategic plan

Our strategic plan identifies opportunities and strategies that will allow us to secure, enhance, and leverage CO’s core strengths and attributes to enrich our communities, citizens, and culture through constant advocacy and relentless support of Ohio creatives and the creative economy.

Image of Columbus Commons

HISTORY

CreativeOhio leads statewide advocacy for creatives and the creative economy

Inception

CreativeOhio (CO) was established in 1976 as Ohio Citizens for the Arts, a 501(c)4. Its purpose was to increase public funding for the arts through citizen-based lobbying in the state biennial budget process, a six month, every other year legislative cycle.

While that focus continues today, the effort has necessarily grown in scope and impact. The untapped potential of Ohio’s creative sector coupled with the critical needs of the recent pandemic catalyzed an evolution in the mission and reach of the organization’s work, extending to every day, all year advocacy.

Since 2020, CO has raised a historic, unprecedented $110 million for the arts and creatives in Ohio and repositioned the arts and creative sector as an essential, contributing component of Ohio’s economy.

Evolution

The new name, announced in January 2023, acknowledges the broad impact of creative practice in—and beyond—the arts. This progression in name, and critically our mission, enables us to stay closely connected to our existing members and open to the possibility of new members and alliances that expand our opportunities to fuse arts, creativity, community, citizens, and the economy.

CreativeOhio, also captures the spirit of our work, “A Power Beyond One.” Working collectively and collaboratively—statewide and locally—we can secure the public policies and investment needed to advance creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship throughout Ohio, and in so doing build a strong, sustainable creative sector.