ArtsinStark kicks off Annual Arts Campaign “Start with Art”

Canton, OH—ArtsinStark launched its Annual Arts Campaign “Start with Art” on Monday, April 5, with a raffle contest, an all-new campaign website and newly created video series featuring eight community leaders and honorary campaign chairs who discuss the importance of contributing to the campaign.

The raffle and virtual campaign are a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has restricted traditional campaign activities and events. Anyone can make a pledge now at

“We hope to engage with the community at this time, when it’s hard to meet in person, to ensure the arts and creative sector in Stark County will be there and will be strong when it’s time to come back to fully functional operations,” said ArtsinStark President and CEO David Whitehill. “We hope community members will support the campaign and also find ways to ‘Start with Art’ in their own lives.”

Funds raised through the campaign, which will last into the summer, will support ArtsinStark’s mission in the following areas:

  • Improve the CULTURAL CENTER, creating a true community space for the arts.
  • Provide $1.1 MILLION IN ARTS GRANTS to the Canton Ballet, Canton Museum of Art, Canton Palace Theatre, Canton Symphony Orchestra, Massillon Museum, Players Guild Theatre, and Sing Stark.
  • Reach thousands of kids—30,000 and counting—through ArtsinStark’s SMARTS PROGRAM.
  • Host arts experiences throughout the county, including FIRST FRIDAY in the Canton Arts District, which has welcomed 250,000 people to date.
  • Invest in STARK COUNTY COMMUNITIES—a total of $2 million over the past 12 years.

The “Start with Art” campaign honorary chairs this year are County Commissioner Janet Weir Creighton; City of Canton Mayor Tom Bernabei; Visit Canton President Ally Bussey; Visit Canton Executive Vice President Tonja Marshall; Lamar Sharpe, a Canton policeman and president of the Be a Better Me Foundation; Stark County Prosecutor Kyle Stone; Patrick Wyatt, community engagement director of the Downtown Canton Special Improvement District; and Cathy Wyatt, co-owner of Carpe Diem Coffee Shop.

Each honorary chair appears in one of the “Start with Art” videos that can be viewed on the campaign website. One video will be released each week during the month of April.

To incentivize donors this year, ArtsinStark has created a raffle for four one-of-a-kind arts experiences. Prizes include Play the Organ at the Palace with a movie party; Cultural Center plaza party and name the alley; mural painting party and dinner; and a night out in downtown Canton. The more an individual donor contributes, the more chances the donor has to win.

The Annual Arts Campaign wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for many supportive area workplaces that support the mission of ArtsinStark by hosting their own Workplace Arts Campaigns. If your workplace would like to participate, contact David Lee at

The arts are a vital part of our community and ArtsinStark needs your support to keep Stark County a vibrant place to live. Want to help? Make your pledge now at

BACKGROUND: ArtsinStark uses the arts to create smarter kids, new jobs, and healthier communities. It is a 50-year-old private, non-profit organization that gives out grants, owns and operates the Cultural Center for the Arts, runs the Annual Arts Campaign, and ensures arts programs are in Stark County schools though the SmArts Program and Genius Project. The annual budget is $3 million. ArtsinStark raises funds each spring through the Annual Arts Campaign. ArtsinStark is the only united arts fund drive in America to ever make its goal for 15 years in a row. More at

Start with Art Annual Campaign Logo 2021

News & Profile Submission Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in sharing your arts and culture news or profile in ArtsinStark’s feed! Please make sure your news meets the following guidelines before submitting, or we may be unable to include it on our site:

  • News or profile must be related to an artist or organization in Stark County, Ohio.
  • News or profile must be arts, entertainment or culture related. 

Event Submission Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in sharing your event in ArtsinStark’s event calendar! Please make sure your event meets the following guidelines before submitting, or we may be unable to include your event:

  • Priority will be given to events organized by or in support of local non-profit organizations. 
  • Event must take place in Stark County, Ohio.
  • Event must be arts, entertainment or culture related. 
  • Event must be open to the public. No private events.
  • Event can be free or ticketed but must include a link to a website or social media event where more information is available. 
  • Event must be submitted at least one week prior to the start date.