Bringing the arts to Youngstown

“The Arts Mean Business; Really They Do!” is the second presentation in the Arts Mean Business series presented by Robb Hankins, president and chief executive of ArtsinStark, on Thursday at the Raymond John Wean Foundation in Warren.

Youngstown State University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts as well as the community arts and the group Power of the Arts sponsor the free presentation.

The ArtsinStark was founded in 1968 to build the Cultural Center for the Arts within Stark County.

Hankins has been affiliated with ArtsinStark for the last 30 years, where he directs the city, county and state art agencies in eight cities.

“Arts Mean Business connects arts to revitalize cities within Ohio. Throughout my presentation, I will discuss four main topics: how the arts can change the downtown area, schools, football and tourism” Hankins said.

When Hankins began his career with ArtsinStark, there was only one art gallery in the city and no art studios. Now the city has eight galleries and eight studios.

“These techniques have shaped the county of Stark, and I plan to bring the success to Youngstown” said Hankins.

Hankins said the arts and economics intertwine. Bryan DePoy, dean of the YSU College of Fine and Performing Arts and co-chairman of the Power of the Arts, agreed.

“We now can validate with real numbers what we have only assumed up to this point, which is the Arts in Mahoning Valley are a major driver of the regional economy,” DePoy said. “Everyone wins when we support Arts and Culture, which can aid in business attraction and retention, in addition to improving the overall quality of life for the Valley’s residents.”

Hankins describes how he used one topic, tourism to revitalize the county of Stark.

“For example, we used arts to trigger tourism in Stark by a presentation on the blockbuster film ‘Kimono’. Considering the county only has seven Japanese people, we didn’t think we would get that big of an outcome. In the previous shows our audience consisted of 38,000 people. But this show, we had a huge audience of 100,000 people,” Hankins said.

DePoy explained what he wants the audience to leave the presentation with.

“We want not only students to attend this presentation but the community as well. We want to engage the audience to become stronger at what they do at a business standpoint by using arts and culture to achieve a quality of life,” DePoy said.

The presentation is free, but registration is required.

Attendants can register at or by calling Cary Wecht at 330-941-2337.

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