It was fitting that the site for a jubilant ArtsinStark victory lunch on Wednesday was the new Hercules apartments at 1000 Market Street South. President and CEO of Beaver Excavating Mark Sterling, who chaired this year’s Annual Arts Campaign, began by praising the arts for bringing downtown living back to Canton and communities across Stark County. “I’ve watched the Arts District absolutely transform this downtown, and seen what the arts are doing in Minerva, Alliance, Louisville, Massillon and other places,” said Sterling. “That’s the first reason why I agreed to chair this campaign.” Sterling also said that then he was inspired by how the arts are supercharging learning in our schools and changing the way we attract tourists. The tradition is that, before announcing how much the campaign has raised, the chair has to do something artsy. To the delight of the crowd, Sterling tried his hand at playing drums with students and staff from ENRICHMENT. Then, following his debut performance, Sterling shared the news that the campaign had raised just over $1,660,000 to make goal for an historic 13th year in a row. “Mark Sterling has become a mountain mover for the arts,” said ArtsinStark Board Chair Emil Alecusan, CFO of Brewster Cheese. “He has fought for the arts every step of the way to get us to goal, and is truly an inspirational leader.”
There are only 40 united arts fund drives in America that go out every year and try to raise dollars for all the arts in their communities, in efforts similar to what the United Way does in nearly 1,600 places. ArtsinStark hosts the only one that has made its goal every single year since 2005.