Columbus Symphony rates low in city investment

A letter to the editor of the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio. I tried to search the Dispatch archive for the tourism article mentioned in this letter, but the Dispatch website has trouble finding its archive. I got the text of the tourism article referred to in this letter. It's posted below.

Here is the link to the story on the downsizing of the Columbus Symphony.

Orchestra rates low as city investment
Monday, March 15, 2010 2:51 AM

Columbus' provincial attitude toward the arts became apparent once again in a comparison of the March 3 Dispatch article "Columbus' appeal to tourists growing," which detailed sizable investments into the city's tourism profile, with the March 5 Dispatch article "Musicians accept another cut in pay," making clear that salaries for Columbus Symphony Orchestra musicians, who played so brilliantly two weekends ago, will have been cut by nearly 40 percent in two years, after this latest round of concessions.

Amid the orchestra's precipitous decline, where is any discussion of the kind of public-private partnership that is making these tourism projects possible? It is almost as if the symphony is being scripted out of existence.

Clearly, whatever "brand image" Columbus Partnership has been seeking for the city does not include the arts.

NANCY RAABE
Bexley

Columbus' appeal to tourists growing
City has new image, center’s CEO says
Wednesday, March 3, 2010 2:51 AM
BY MARLA MATZER ROSE
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

If you are interested in reading the comments in response to the article below, go to Comments.

With a convention hotel and new attractions on the way, Columbus will be able to raise its profile as a destination, creating positive momentum both locally and nationally, said Paul Astleford, Experience Columbus CEO, at the group's annual meeting yesterday.

Developments on the horizon include the 532-room convention hotel, a project set to break ground near the convention center this year; the planned casino; a new polar bear exhibit set to open soon at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; and the Columbus Commons and Scioto Mile park projects that are on the way.

Best of all, Astleford said, even with these new amenities, Columbus will remain a "value destination," which is highly desirable in "the new world economy" where spending has been reduced. He spoke to a crowd of 850 in the overhauled Battelle Grand ballroom at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

"Many corporations, associations and leisure tourists are looking for more for their money ... steering away from more-extravagant, high-priced destinations to explore a different measure of worth and return on their investment," he said.

"And the more they explore, the more they like what they see of not only our authentic Midwestern values, but also the incredible value propositions we offer as a meeting and visitor destination."

Astleford praised the work of other local groups, including the Columbus Partnership and the Columbus 2012 bicentennial planning committee, which have been working on developing a new brand image for the city.

"After talking about it for 50 years, we are well down a path of an unprecedented new image-development process," he said.

Experience Columbus depends on bed-tax revenue and financial support from the county and city for most of its budget, and Astleford stressed the value of public-private partnerships. The new convention hotel is being publicly financed, and the new Downtown parks are being created through public-private partnerships.

Also the result of a public-private partnership is Huntington Park, the Downtown baseball park that opened to accolades last year. The Franklin County commissioners and several dozen other partners that helped make the venue a reality took the stage early in the program to accept one of the three Expy awards that Experience Columbus hands out each year to projects that make a significant contribution to tourism.

The other two awards went to: the Egypt in Columbus exhibition, which had complementary exhibits at the Columbus Museum of Art and COSI and participation from the Columbus Metropolitan Library system; and the Pelotonia bike ride to benefit cancer research at the Ohio State University medical center, a project that NetJets sponsored.

mrose@dispatch.com

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