David Robinson Letter

Many of you may have seen this letter, which appeared in the Other Paper last week and in the Dispatch a few days ago. It states the case for the arts as vital to both the economy and our city's well being.

The Orchestra, the Arts, Our Community

The well-publicized and documented troubles facing the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO) are part of an even bigger picture that I find troubling. The CSO is a key contributor to our quality of life in Columbus, well beyond the seasonal performance schedule. The education programs and outreach, and our accomplished Youth Orchestra, bring music and more to our children.

In terms of the business case for our Orchestra, many writers and economists emphasize the importance of the creative class as a central driver of the new economy. The CSO employs significant numbers of artists who live here, raise their families here, and spend their money here. Perhaps most importantly, for businesses small and large trying to attract and retain talent, the CSO represents an important part of our cultural fabric and our image as a great American city. Simply stated, no symphony, no great city.

The root of the symphony’s problems is our ailing economy. Working families in Central Ohio are being pinched at every turn for time and money. When one is forced to choose between food, fuel, and the finer arts, it is the latter which will suffer first. And without an audience, our performing arts organizations will need additional support from the same sources everyone else is tapping: individual donors and the business community.

So where are we investing in the creation of tomorrow’s jobs? Where is the support for innovation? Our region needs leadership and a long-term development strategy to help us take action and improve the things that matter. Yes, I need food to live, and fuel to travel, but I need the arts to make the journey worth taking.

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Robinson is the Democratic candidate for Ohio's 12th U.S. Congressional District running against incumbent Pat Tiberi this fall. For more information on David Robinson and his policies, go to www.robinson2008.com.

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