DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Millions of dollars in state funding is heading to arts organizations across Ohio, and some of that money could make its way into the Miami Valley.

The Ohio General Assembly passed and Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 45, a $5 billion state appropriations bill, which includes $50 million for arts organizations in the state.

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance (DPAA) is the Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet all under one name. DPAA President and CEO Patrick Nugent said this state funding comes at a crucial time as many arts organizations are just getting back on their feet.

“We’re very fortunate in Dayton to have a really rich arts community,” Nugent said.

Nearly three years since the COVID-19 shutdown caused arts organizations to close their doors, they’re finally rebounding in Dayton.

For DPAA, audiences are back to two thirds of what they were before the pandemic.

“We’ve actually sold more tickets this so far this year than all of the 21-22 season, and we’re only one third of the way through the season,” Nugent said.

Nugent said he is confident audiences will grow back, but in the meantime, the arts still face financial challenges. That’s why the $50 million approved for arts organizations in House Bill 45 comes at the right time.

“This aid would help us to continue to do that and to grow back the audiences that love the live performance,” Nugent said.

Nugent said seeing the support shows the state values what the arts bring to Ohio, both for quality of life and to draw in new businesses.

“Makes it a desirable and attractive place to live, to work, to start a business, to build a business,” Nugent said.

DPAA offers tickets to most of their performances as low as $5 to remove that barrier to the arts.

If awarded some of this funding, it will help DPAA continue their mission of making the arts more accessible to everyone in the Miami Valley.

“Part of the excitement has been seeing younger people and more diverse audiences coming in to these performances because they find them affordable,” Nugent said.

The $50 million in grants for the arts will be distributed through the Ohio Department of Development.