(Columbus)— Councilmember Priscilla R. Tyson, chair of the Finance Committee and a Greater Columbus Arts Council board member, today served on a panel of experts to discuss the economic importance of the arts to Columbus and Central Ohio. She was joined on the panel by PNC Bank regional president Michael Gonsiorowski and Randy Cohen, vice president of research and policy for Americans for the Arts, an organization that studies the economic impact of the arts on communities across the country.

“The arts are an engine for economic development in our community, supporting 8,500 jobs and spurring more than $226 million in economic activity every year,” said Councilmember Tyson. “As a city, we will continue to enhance our community’s quality of life by supporting the arts at every opportunity.”

In November, Columbus City Council President Andrew J. Ginther and Mayor Coleman announced an increase in funding for the Greater Columbus Arts Council, following more than a year of public meetings and a series of recommendations made to city leaders by the Funding Review and Advisory Committee, a group brought together by President Ginther and Mayor Michael B. Coleman to study the way that the city funds economic development, human services, cultural arts, and the promotion of travel and tourism.

“Arts organizations spend $131 million every year in Columbus, and they are good business citizens,” said Mr. Cohen. “Nationally and locally, right here in Columbus, the arts mean business.”

Today’s discussion was held at the weekly Columbus Metropolitan Club luncheon, with Ann Fisher of WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher serving as moderator.