It was touch and go Wednesday morning, but by noon, ArtsinStark's 2017 fundraising campaign found itself with more than enough to fulfill this year's goal. The final amount raised was $1,651,000.

"This was a very tough campaign," said Robb Hankins, CEO of ArtsinStark. "There were so many surprises in this past week. We woke up this morning not meeting goal. We were $45,000 short of $1,650,000 goal. Dave Grabowsky, owner of Standard Plumbing & Heating, made more calls and dug up more new money. Lots of exciting things happened, but the important thing is we did it for the 12th year in a row."

The first $1.1 million will benefit the seven largest arts groups: Canton Museum of Art, Canton Ballet, Canton Symphony, Massillon Museum, Players Guild, Voices of Canton and the Palace Theatre. The rest will allow ArtsinStark to provide grants to smaller organizations and artists, and other arts programs.

"It was a great campaign with a lot of people working it," said Grabowsky, chairman of the fundraising campaign. "There was a lot of participation by a lot of companies. Certain people give a lot, but there is an enormous amount of people who give something to show their support. It all adds up. My focus was let's get them on board and maybe we can build on that in the future."

The noon luncheon Wednesday was at Conley's Towing, across from the Cultural Center for the Arts. In addition to announcing the final results of the campaign, Hankins also announced ArtsinStark's vision to rebrand the 100 acres around the Cultural Center and Civic Center as North Market by 2020, when the buildings mark their 50th birthday. The neighborhood will stretch from Sixth Street NW and McKinley to Walnut avenues. ArtsinStark already owns six acres, including the Cultural Center, parking deck, all surface parking and four outbuildings. 

"We envision apartments for young professionals, mini conference center, an arts motel, and mixed retail," said Hankins. "It is time to connect North Market to the Arts District."