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CO-LAB from CreativeOhio

CO-LAB is CreativeOhio’s quarterly webinar series to empower our members with a full embrace of effective and active resources to sustain, innovate and grow their creative organizations.

UpComing CO-LAB Events


Thursday, June 20, 2024 | 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Special Event: Open to the public

Is advocacy an afterthought for your arts organization? Feeling unprepared and under-resourced to engage with policymakers or pursue public funding? In this webinar, we’ll discuss not only the fundamentals of advocacy literacy, but how you can start to develop a culture of advocacy at your organization. By implementing a few basic steps and learning how to share your story, successful advocacy can become a throughline in all of your work. We’ll talk to a national expert in arts advocacy about the key components you need to create a compelling case for support. We’ll gain insights into how to make your advocacy efforts productive and impactful at the Ohio Statehouse, and we’ll look at an example of a successful grassroots advocacy model at one Ohio arts organization that could be replicated in your own operations.


Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research, Americans for the Arts

Since 1991, Randy Cohen has been empowering advocates at Americans for the Arts—the national advocacy organization for the arts. Cohen is known for balancing rigorous research methods with accessible and actionable results. He recently published Arts & Economic Prosperity 6: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts & Culture Organizations and their Audiences and Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2023, a national public opinion study about the arts. Randy led the development of The National Arts Index, the annual measure of the health and vitality of arts in the U.S., and the National Arts Policy Roundtable, an annual convening of leaders who focus on the advancement of American culture—launched in partnership with Robert Redford and the Sundance Institute.

In the 1990s, Randy collaborated with the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities to create Coming Up Taller, the White House report on arts programs for youth-at-risk; and the U.S. Department of Justice to produce the YouthARTS Project, the first national study to statistically document the impact of arts programs on at-risk youth. He is the 2024 recipient of the Sidney Yates Advocacy Award for outstanding advocacy on behalf of the performing arts in America. His 10 Reasons to Support the Arts blog received the Gold Award from the Association of Media & Publishing—their top honor for best blog post of the year. Randy has given speeches in all 50 states, and regularly appears in the news media—including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and on C-SPAN, CNN, CNBC, and NPR.

Robert Klaffky, President, Van Meter Ashbrook & Associates

When Robert joined Van Meter Ashbrook & Associates in 1986, he was instrumental in fashioning its unique and highly successful approach to enhancing the political action programs of some of the firm’s largest corporate clients. In that process, he conducted over 500 political education seminars around the country, training approximately 15,000 individuals in civic involvement, campaign strategies, issue advocacy, and community engagement. In addition to directing the firm’s legislative and executive agency lobbying, Robert has also developed a successful practice in grassroots public affairs campaigns. He has managed complicated and diverse coalitions for corporate public affairs, issue advocacy, and statewide ballot issues.

Prior to joining VAA, Robert worked in the Ohio legislature in varying capacities for the Ohio Senate Republican Caucus. His practical campaign experience spans more than 35 years and includes local, state and federal elections. He has served as a key advisor to Ohio statewide office holders, state legislators, and many county and municipal officials. In 2016, he advised the presidential campaign of former Ohio Governor John Kasich, directing the governor’s debate prep for all 12 of the nationally televised presidential debates during the primaries.

Edward Gallagher, Vice President for Education, Beck Center for the Arts

A Board Certified Music Therapist, Ed Gallagher holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy from Cleveland State University and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He founded Beck Center’s Creative Arts Therapies program in 1994. He is co-chair of the Ohio Music Therapy Task Force and has been appointed to serve on the Ohio Arts Council’s Artists with Disabilities Access Program and is on the Advisory Committee for the West Shore Career-Technical District Theatre Arts program. He is Past President of the Cleveland Arts Education Consortium as well as the Great Lakes Region of the American Music Therapy Association (GLR-AMTA) and the Association of Ohio Music Therapists (AOMT). He has received the GLR-AMTA Service Award, the AOMT Past President’s Award, and has been inducted into the Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame.He is Director of Operations for the All-Ohio State Fair Band and Youth Choir, two organizations featuring the talents of 400 high school instrumentalists and vocalists from throughout the state. Ed serves on the Board of Directors of CreativeOhio, and has been instrumental in the Beck Center’s advocacy efforts, including their annual advocacy day at the Ohio Statehouse.





Tim Birch, B Scene Arts Consulting
Randy Domain, Consultant, B Scene Arts Consulting
Carol Payto, Chief Marketing Officer, Mont Surfaces
Ryan Robbins, Vice President Business Development, Football Hall of Fame & Village

CreativeOhio Members can contact us at for a link to the presentation.