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Governor's Awards Spotlight: Puffin Foundation West

ABOUT Puffin foundation west | ARTS patron

LOCATION: Columbus | Franklin County


BIO: Led by Java Kitrick, president, Puffin Foundation West, Ltd., (PFW) seeks to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artist activists and arts organizations often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to race, gender, or social philosophy. PFW believes artists are able to reach across the borders of our imagination and in doing so often peaceably transform society’s ideas about social justice issues. Creative expression and innovation have always helped move society towards a more progressive democracy and allows for the recognition of universal humanity. PFW is committed to supporting such grass-roots artists and organizations. PFW partners with and also helps build community partnerships with other concerned groups and individuals to insure that the arts continue to grow, enlighten, and enrich lives. The foundation accepts grant applications from individuals, educational, cultural, and social justice organizations for projects that utilize art, dance, music, theater, photography, film/video, writing, poetry, and public interest platforms.


Puffin Foundation West LogoPatricia Von Niessen | Summer Jam West | Executive Director

“All of their [Puffin Foundation West] grants focus on social diversity, activism through art, and social or environmental awareness through art. Puffin West chooses to “give from the bottom up”, funding artists and organizations that don’t fit in the mainstream grant guidelines. Their giving is diverse, encompassing performance art, murals, exhibitions, film, photography, peace movements, social justice, civil rights, environmental awareness and independent journalism.”

Sherri Geldin | Wexner Center for the Arts | Director

“A fervent and unequivocally tireless advocate for the arts, artists, literacy, and education… in Ohio and beyond, Java has directed Puffin West’s generous support for the Wexner Center toward an array of programs in the areas of education, film/video, and the visual and performing arts.”

Tim Veach | Columbus Dance Theatre | Artistic Director/Founder

“Java Kitrick, and her work through Puffin, is fortifying the arts sector through grass-roots funding activity that lifts up artists and arts organizations in an egalitarian way that celebrates diversity, encourages excellence, and affords opportunities for growth from non-traditional artists and their constituents.”

Wolf Starr | Atlas Community Partners

“As quiet and humble as they are, once you know to look for the Puffin, you will find it everywhere. They have invested in hundreds of ideas over the years.”

Erin J. Hoppe | VSA Ohio | Executive Director

“Puffin West was one of the earliest supporters of the ReelAbilities Film Festival Columbus in 2012, and has been a partner each year since. Puffin West took a chance on a new program and now hundreds of people from central Ohio and beyond have attended this multi-media festival dedicated to promoting awareness, and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.”

Roger Williams | Deconstructive Artist (verbatim)

“java kitrick and the puffin foundation have been very helpful with my many murals around columbus town with grants for labor and materials as well as other artist with there murals. she gives support and incouragement parties for artists from all neighborhoods , franklinton old town east hilltop and west gate . south parsons .”

The Governor's Awards for the Arts in Ohio is a statewide program that showcases and celebrates Ohio artists, arts organizations, arts patrons, and business support of the arts. The public is invited to nominate individuals and organizations in seven awards categories. A selection committee, made up of Ohio Arts Council board members and three individuals selected by Ohio Citizens for the Arts, chooses the winners. The program is presented by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation. The 2017 Arts Day & Governor's Awards Luncheon will take place Wednesday, May 17, noon, at the Columbus Athenaeum. Visit for more details.

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