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Rep. Lepore-Hagan issues statement on resignation of Ohio Arts Council Board Member

Calls for stronger background checks on future gubernatorial appointments
January 8, 2021
Michele Lepore-Hagan News

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today responded to the resignation of Ohio Arts Council Board Member Susan Allan Block after she posted inflammatory remarks on social media regarding the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.

“Susan Allan Block’s remarks are degrading, offensive, and dangerous. They are absolutely beneath the distinguished reputation and work of the Ohio Arts Council and our arts community in the state,” said Rep. Lepore-Hagan. “I am thankful for her resignation from the board and hopeful she will never again be given the honor of serving the public.”

Initially appointed to the Board of the Ohio Arts Council in 2016 by Governor John Kasich, Ms. Block was reappointed in 2019 by Governor Mike DeWine. Toledo journalist Nolan Rosenkrans’ tweet on January 7th included a screenshot of her online comments such as, “No Peace! No Unity! No Concession! No legitimacy to a stolen election!" and calling Vice President-elect Kamala Harris a "whore,” sparking outrage and resignation calls from Democratic state legislators and local arts councils. 

“The arts community is unique and precious to me. It includes the most creative and wonderful people who have open minds and open hearts,” said Rep. Lepore-Hagan. “It is clear that due diligence and proper vetting of Ms. Block had not been conducted prior to her appointment and reappointment to the Board. Future appointments to the Ohio Arts Council must be subjected to stronger scrutiny.”

Rep. Lepore-Hagan has a long history of strongly supporting the arts in Ohio. She is a Cum Laude graduate of Ohio University where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance, and she also took post-graduate classes in Graphic Arts and Education at Youngstown State University. She served as Youngstown State University’s director of the performing arts series where she supervised employees, administered the department’s budget, and secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for YSU’s music and theatre programs.

Her father, Jim, was both a professor at Youngstown State University and a renowned artist whose abstract paintings have been displayed in numerous museums and galleries across the United States, including the Butler Museum of American Art.

Ms. Block’s affiliation with the National Museum of Women in the Arts and their advisory board has also been revoked.