The roots of the Arts Council of Westerville reach back to a meeting held Nov. 3, 1996 when 65 local art enthusiasts gathered to discuss how an arts commission could serve the citizens and arts community in Westerville. The group agreed to meet on a regular basis to develop the purpose and makeup of the commission.  

On April 7, 1997, the Westerville Arts Commission was adopted as a subcommittee under the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. A second arts forum was held on May 4, 1997, in City Council chambers to update citizens on the commission’s progress.

City Council agreed on Dec. 9, 1997, that the Westerville Arts Commission would be created as a stand-alone commission. Nine residents were appointed, the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors & Convention Bureau had no-voting representation, and a liaison was named between Parks and Recreation and the commission.

The commission identified its duties as preserving, developing and enriching the lives of citizens by providing diverse and quality arts facilities, programs and services; providing services to local artists and arts groups via networking; and providing technical and financial support for local artists and art groups.

On Feb. 18, 2003, City Council voted to help the group set up as a private, nonprofit, tax-exempt group.  Members met for the first time as a stand-alone organization on Feb. 27, 2003, and the first Westerville Arts Council Community Open Forum was held the following March.