ArtsOhio Blog

The ArtsOhio Blog is the Ohio Arts Council's way to share stories that highlight the arts in Ohio, feedback from the field, interviews with artists and staff, and more. Sign up for the ArtsOhio newsletter to receive a curated selection of posts each month.

A crèche from the Philippines

#TraditionsTuesday: The Sherrick Crèche Collection at Otterbein University

A crèche from Alaska. 2007. Made of soapstone and bone. Height: 1 1/2 inches - 2 3/4 inches. 6 pcs. Carved stone Holy Family with four animals. Removable carved bone tusks and horns on the animals. Photo courtesy of Otterbein University.The concept of using art to teach is not new; in fact, arts integration has some surprising connections to the holidays, which we’re excited to delve into in today’s Traditions Tuesday. In 2019, an extensive collection of nativity sets, or crèches, was donated to the Otterbein University Department of Art and Art History, and each of the more than 660 individual pieces has its own story to tell.

Donated by Otterbein alumni Richard Sherrick (’54) and Carolyn Brown Sherrick (’53), the collection comprises crèches from around the world that are made of an incredible array of materials. While many are traditional ceramic, metal, and glass, more surprising mediums like gourds, sand dollars, eggs, and even orange peels make an appearance. Each set is representative of the culture and style of its place of origin. This is the aspect of the collection which excites Janice Glowski, director of the museum and galleries and an art historian at Otterbein. The collection, rooted in a single subject matter and viewed through a global lens, allows audiences and researchers alike to consider the cultural variations represented and promotes discussion of topics such as cultural heritage, the migration of ideas, and trade routes and their influence on people.

A crèche from Cameroon. 2012. Ceramic. Height: 2 inches - 8 inches. 12 pcs. Rich dark brown finish. Large animals. Mary and Joseph seated as sign of respect. Photo courtesy of Otterbein University.Sets from around the world can feature unique interpretations of the nativity story. A soapstone set from Alaska, for example, features an unusual array of animals: a moose, bison, bear, and walrus with tiny, removable carved bone horns and tusks. And while the traditional nativity set may feature Joseph standing protectively over Mary and the baby, the crèche from Cameroon features both the Mary and Joseph figures seated as a sign of respect.

Catholic friar St. Francis of Assisi is widely credited with creating the first crèche in 1223 A.D. At the time, church services were performed only in Latin, so few people truly understood what was being taught. The arts were used in several ways to bridge this gap, and Francis staged a live nativity scene for his parishioners in a cave outside of town. The spectacle soon evolved into a diorama which could be displayed throughout the advent season—a classic example of arts integration at work.

At Otterbein, there are no current plans in place for a public display, but the crèches will continue to be used for learning. Students and faculty will be able to use the Sherrick Collection in classes and arts-professional training in curatorial skills, collections management, conservation, and more. In this way, the vision of St. Francis and the dedication of the Sherrick family will be able to serve as an inspiration for learners of all backgrounds, cultures, and faiths.

Take up the #TraditionTuesday:

A crèche from China. 2001. Glass. Height: 6 inches. 9 pcs. Stylized tall figures, each in a different color. Photo courtesy of Otterbein University.EXPAND: The crèche is not the only artistic item used as a tool to pass down traditions of faith, especially this time of year. Many of the decorations used in the winter holidays feature candles or twinkling lights to brighten a dark time. Explore the backgrounds of the Menorah, the Kinara, and even the Yule Log to see how beautiful, decorative pieces are an important part of lighting up the season and connecting us to the past.

EXPERIENCE: Consider the holiday traditions which are special and sacred in your family and create a piece of art together that celebrates that experience.

EXPLORE: Learn more about the origins of the crèche, or nativity scene, here:

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


Article by Amy Ruggaber, Ohio Arts Council Folk and Traditional Arts Contractor
Featured photo: A crèche from the Philippines | 2004 | Natural materials (brushes), wood, metal | Height: 13" | 12 pcs. | Figures are made of brushes, painted wood heads, dressed in fabric. Photo courtesy of Otterbein University.

Thank You ceramic gears from Benjamin Logan Middle School

By All Indications

On November 25, 2020, the New York Times published Ohio Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour’s poem “By All Indications.” The newspaper had asked poets laureate from across the country to discuss what people in their respective states had to be thankful for despite the difficult year—our first full year living through the coronavirus pandemic.

What a treat it was then to read poems from across the country. You could almost look past the challenges of our times and toward the promise of the future we strive to live in, here today.

I am reproducing Kari’s poem below because I believe that Ohioans were, and still are, grateful. Give yourself a moment to reflect on Kari’s words from last fall and how they might resonate with you today.

By All Indications

I spent time today studying

forehead lines, linked into yet another

Zoom meeting, my screen a window

of windows inside a dollhouse.

I like to think I have good ears

and what I hear from Ohioans

is this — grateful.

Grateful for a governor who believes

in masks and distancing, feeding

displaced school children, and poetry.


Grateful for an unusual autumn of sun

and balmy breezes prevailing

well into November, leaves clinging

to their colors like a Matisse painting

or a toddler with a fist of Crayolas.

The election is over. Time moves,

then moves again, and forehead lines

are bar charts, flesh and bone

diagrams of courage.

— Kari Gunter-Seymour, Ohio Poet Laureate

By all indications, the arts sector is, indeed, grateful. Our arts leaders are holding fast to their visions and strategies. Elected leaders continue to demonstrate historically strong levels of local, state, and federal funding for our sector, and the arts are coming back in a big way!

Like Kari, I have good ears and the message is clear: Folks are grateful. To follow are excerpts from you, representing just a few of the many letters of thanks that we’ve received at the Ohio Arts Council:

“The Museum weathered the pandemic and we are back to operating at full capacity…” – Jessimi Jones, executive director, Springfield Museum of Art

“OAC’s support helps to protect our beloved historic theatres, teach our community’s students, support Columbus’ resident arts organization, celebrate tomorrow’s stars today, and build bonds among people in our community who share in the joy of live performance together. All this and more are possible because of you. Thank you.” – Chad Whittington, president and CEO, Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA)

“I just wanted to reach out and give you big virtual hug & thank you for helping me get through the recent OAC application process - your assistance made all the difference and we were awarded the grant!” – Kris Harrison, secretary, Mt. Victory Community Improvement Corporation of Hardin County

“We believe the performing arts enhance the life of our community. We are following COVID developments closely and we will keep the safety of our audiences and performers our top priority. Regardless of how things develop, we are prepared to share the arts, in person or virtually.” – Patrick J. Nugent, president and CEO, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance

“After having to fill out numerous federal grant applications this past year-and-a-half, I have developed a new level of appreciation for how well the OAC runs its grants process and how clear the instructions are on the grant applications. Thank you for all you have done to support arts organizations during the pandemic.” – Meeghan Humphrey, executive director, Ashtabula Arts Center

In celebrating this season of thanks—and in acknowledging Kari’s thanks, Ohioans’ thanks, and your own thanks—please allow me now to add my thanks, on behalf of all of us at the OAC:

Our staff is honored to support the arts sector. At the Ohio Arts Council we are grateful for the people we have the privilege to engage with each day.

We are grateful to our board who is dedicated to our mission to fund and support quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.

Our agency is grateful to Governor Mike DeWine, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, and the Ohio General Assembly for their generous support of the arts through the Ohio Arts Council. In the current fiscal year and next, a total of $40 million has been allocated for the arts, and last autumn the arts sector received $20 million in one-time CARES Act funds. That’s millions of reasons to be grateful.

By all indications, the Ohio Arts Council is here to serve you and the entire arts sector, and we are grateful for it. Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season of thanks.

Until next time,

Donna Collins signature

Donna S. Collins
Executive Director

Featured photo: A ceramic mosaic project from Benjamin Logan Middle School in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Davis, Benjamin Logan Middle School.

Fellowship Opportunity

Ohio Arts Council Seeking Arts Administration Fellow

Fellowship Overview

The Ohio Arts Council (OAC), a national leader in arts administration, is seeking a dynamic, motivated candidate for a high-quality professional learning opportunity and fellowship focused on government communications and multimedia content production. Designed in partnership with the Columbus Arts Marketing Association (CAMA), this is a yearlong, paid fellowship. The person accepting the fellowship will gain hands-on, practical experience with Ohio’s state arts agency.   

The Arts Administration Fellow works with the OAC Operations and Public Affairs Office, which is responsible for the agency’s communications and several major events throughout the year. The fellow will have opportunities to gain experience in communications and marketing, special events, project management, and research. The fellow will also engage in professional learning and leadership development through CAMA and through participation at one national-level conference.

The ideal candidate will have prior experience working in audiovisual storytelling, video production, journalism, or communications.

Fellowship Objectives

  • Gain hands-on experience producing original multimedia content for a state agency.
  • Develop public sector communications experience and working knowledge of state government.
  • Produce videos and other multimedia content showcasing the work of the OAC that can be added to a portfolio or reel.
  • Complete a capstone project that focuses on an arts-related topic of interest that can be added to a portfolio or reel.
  • Establish connections and expand professional networks within the Ohio nonprofit arts community.

Fellowship Duties

Audiovisual Media Production

  • Assist with video production and editing for various OAC and OAC Riffe Gallery projects, including ongoing video series, social media video content, livestreamed presentations, and other multimedia projects that develop during fellowship tenure.
  • Assist with content development, recording, and editing for the OAC’s ArtsChat Ohio audio blog.
  • Research, pitch, and produce reported content showcasing constituent success stories for the OAC’s website and e-newsletter.
  • Develop, plan, and execute a longform capstone feature focused on an arts-related topic of your choice.

Communications & Events

  • Assist in executing the OAC’s media strategy by tracking the agency’s traditional media coverage and performing social media analysis.
  • Contribute to the planning of social media content and complete analytics-informed performance reports.
  • Develop a working understanding of OAC identity and style while working with the OAC’s communications strategists to ensure consistent voice across platforms and publications.
  • Assist with special events (e.g., Arts Impact Ohio conference, Governor’s Awards for Ohio) as needed.

Professional Development

  • Participate in periodic professional learning opportunities designed to strengthen the fellow’s understanding of effective leadership, including an arts-related national conference.
  • Participate in CAMA meetings and events, work with a designated mentor from CAMA, and engage with CAMA committees to gain practical experience as a member of a professional organization.

Term & Compensation:

  • 24 hours per week, hours may vary due to special projects or events, beginning as early as January 3, 2022 and ending December 31, 2022.
  • The selected individual will be paid $18/hour, not to exceed $1,728/month.
  • Paid annual membership to Columbus Arts Marketing Association (CAMA).
  • Financial support to attend one national conference focused on grantmaking, marketing and communications, or other arts administration fields during the fellowship.

Preferred Qualifications & Requirements:

  • One year or more of practical experience in multimedia content creation, video editing and production, journalistic writing, communications, or public relations OR completion of/enrollment in a degree-granting program in multimedia journalism, media production, documentary film production, communications, or a related field is required.
  • Computer proficiency with Adobe Creative Suite (Premiere Pro or a similar video editing software preferred), Microsoft Office, and Outlook.
  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Ability to interact with the public with an enthusiastic, positive attitude.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and adhere to deadlines.
  • Ability to learn and apply brand standards as conveyed in an agency style guide.
  • Ability to work both collaboratively and independently.

NOTE: To make this opportunity available to as many deserving applicants as possible, fellows may take part in one OAC fellowship only, and may not apply in the future for this or another OAC fellowship.

Schedule & Location:
Flexible daytime hours are available, generally between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Regular schedules are preferred (e.g., specific days of the week). Some early morning, evening, and weekend hours and some travel may be required infrequently. The fellow will work in a hybrid setting, remotely and at least one day per week at the OAC’s office at 30 East Broad Street in the Rhodes State Office Tower in downtown Columbus.

Application Instructions and Timeline:
Please submit the following items to OAC Operations & Public Affairs Director Justin Nigro by email:

  • A one-page cover letter describing: 1) why you are interested in working with the OAC and 2) your relevant experience for this opportunity
  • Resume
  • Up to three links to completed video or multimedia work

The deadline to apply is Thursday, December 16, 2021, at 5 p.m. Only complete application packages will be considered. Interviews will take place during the last two weeks of December, with the fellowship beginning Monday, January 3, 2022, if the selected applicant is available. The fellowship ends December 31, 2022, regardless of start date.

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at

Art Around Ohio

Video: Art Around Ohio Mini-Series

Art Around Ohio is a special four-part mini-series hosted by Aimee Wissman, marketing and exhibitions fellow at the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery. Originally published on the OAC's Instagram page, Art Around Ohio takes you inside the homes, studios, and workspaces of artists around the state and explores the creative communities that call Ohio home.

Episode 1 | Julie Woodrow (Marysville, Ohio)

We begin our journey in Marysville, Ohio, located about 27 miles northwest of Columbus in Union County, where Ohio artist, ceramicist, and arts educator Julie Woodrow creates whimsical pieces inspired by the plants and animals right in her backyard.

Julie’s sculptural work invites viewers to delight in what she calls “a playground for the eyes.” Looking around her home, where her kitchen table doubles as her studio, feels a lot like looking at her artwork. The house is positioned in a rural oasis, a world unto itself: a potter’s wheel sits outside near the chicken coop and all the outdoor cats are named after comfort food. Inside, the home is filled with Julie’s collection of her work and plenty of hidden treasures. Watch as Julie demonstrates the sculpting process and talks about how she approaches her work as a teacher at Worthington Kilbourne High School —and keep an eye out for a cameo by Julie’s chickens, who often serve as her models!

Julie (@julie.woodrow) is represented by Sherrie Gallerie in the Short North Arts District. To view more of her work, visit or


 Episode 2 | Wellston High School Art Club/Make Wellston Beautiful

Art Around Ohio Episode 2 takes us to Wellston, Ohio, where local high school students have teamed up with the nonprofit organization Make Wellston Beautiful to design and paint community murals.
Hear about how this creative partnership came about and how young artists are making their mark on their hometown, one colorful building at a time.


Episode 3 | Laura Donnelly (Malvern, Ohio)

In this episode, Art Around Ohio journeys to Malvern, Ohio, to speak with Laura Donnelly, an Ohio artist and founding resident artist with Market Street Art Spot (@marketstreetartspot) a co-op gallery in Minerva, Ohio.
In this video, Laura discusses how she uses clay to create a canvas on which she paints and draws portraits, flora and fauna, as well as whimsical characters and designs from her imagination.
You can explore more of Laura's work on the Market Street Art Spot website:



 Episode 4 | Jasper Elementary (Piketon, Ohio)

In this final episode of Art Around Ohio, we're traveling to Piketon, Ohio, where students at Jasper Elementary worked with teaching artist Pam Kellough (@pamelakelloughmurals) to create removeable table-top murals inspired by jungle animals. As art teacher Samantha Walls explains, this project incorporated artwork by all students and staff members, and working with Pam opened students' eyes to potential career paths in the creative arts.

The painted panels sit atop a rainbow of picnic tables when the weather is nice and can be moved inside and displayed on the wall during other times of the year. The mural project was supported by an Ohio Arts Council grant.



The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


Videos produced and edited by Amanda Etchison, Communications Strategist; Aimee Wissman, 2020-21 OAC Riffe Gallery Marketing and Exhibitions Fellow; and Cassie Rea, 2021 Ohio Arts Council Arts Administration Fellow

A photo of the Riffe Gallery

2021 Biennial Exhibition Delights Audiences

The Biennial Juried Exhibition at the Ohio Arts Council’s (OAC) Riffe Gallery is highly anticipated by artists and audiences alike for its sweeping views of Ohio’s artistic talent and craftmanship. 2021 is the fourth iteration of the gallery’s Biennial, and a record-breaking number of artists shared their work in the hopes of being juried into the exhibition. Jessimi Jones, Kevin Lyles, and April Sunami went through several rounds of jurying to select the final 56 pieces, a mere 3 percent of the submitted works. The resulting show is an incredible display of 53 Ohio artists working in a variety of processes, materials, and concepts.  

installation view of artwork in gallery

Many of the works in the show seem to have a depth and density that draw the viewer in deeper and release them back into the space. Nicki Crock’s “Packed” is full of ideas, inspiration, and questions about the significance of our personal spaces on a collective scale.  

Nicki Crock, Packed

Walking by Leah Wong’s “Shape and Reshape,” you can almost feel the ebb and flow of her sculptural work washing over your eyes and drawing out a deeper conversation about environmental and personal creation and erosion.  

Leah Wong, Shape and Reshape

Unique craftsmanship and a kind of obsessive appreciation of material and process permeates the space. Lori Kella uses photography to document the miniature landscapes she creates in her studio using paper and photographic effects. Her work in the show, “Along the Edges,” requires careful examination to realize that the iceberg emerging from the frigid landscape is a manufactured scene. Such close consideration rewards the viewer with a whole new perspective of nature and reality.   

Lori Kella, Along the Edges

Michelle Stitzlein’s transformative use of everyday materials like hoses and extension cords creates largescale, textile-inspired sculptural works that command viewership from any distance.  

Michelle Stitzlein, Horizon Fringe - Boucheroite Series and Toklat - Fynbos Series

Subtle beauty and labor-intensive processes fill the gallery with moments of repose and reflection. The work of the artist's hand and the strength of concept, design, and execution is palatable in the space. 

Hiroshi Hayakawa, Vanitas 23

This exhibition has something for everyone. Whether you are looking for oil paintings that rival photography in their realism; sculptural works and installations that reimagine form and material; or intricate, precise craftsmanship in figurative and representational work that reflects diverse artists and audiences the 2021 Biennial Juried Exhibition will not disappoint! 

The 2021 Biennial Juried Exhibition will be presented at the OAC Riffe Gallery through January 7, 2022. For more information about upcoming programming, and to view a virtual exhibition experience, visit

The Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery showcases the work of Ohio's artists and the collections of the state's museums and galleries. The Riffe Gallery is located in the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, 77 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215. 

Visit, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


Article by Aimee Wissman, 2020-21 OAC Riffe Gallery Marketing and Exhibitions Fellow 

Chaz O'Neil

Meet the Staff: Chaz O’Neil, Artist Programs Coordinator

Get to know Chaz O’Neil, who recently joined the Ohio Arts Council staff as the Artist Programs/Percent for Art coordinator. Chaz is a visual artist whose work is inspired by science, math, and experimental exploration of material. In this interview, he talks about what he’s most looking forward to in his new role and how he hopes to draw upon his experiences and artistic journey to help Ohio artists on theirs.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about your background in the arts?
My background in the arts started at a young age. I was kind of always artistically inclined, even as a young kid. I started going to CCAD Saturday art classes, and then I went to an art primary school for a couple of years.

I am originally from Columbus, but then we moved away for a little while—my mom was in the military, so we moved around a bit. Then I came back after high school to attend Otterbein University. That’s kind of where I got most of my formal training in the early years of being an artist. Learning from instructors such as Nicholas Hill and Paula Nees and Joanne Stichweh, they taught me the professional part of being an artist in a community.

During my time at Otterbein, I got connected with the Ohio State Fair. I started as a gallery intern in summer 2005, and I went back every year. Eventually, after about five years, I was asked to be an assistant director. And then after about eight or nine years, I was still an assistant director, but basically the director of the exhibition.

I enrolled in grad school at Bowling Green State University in 2011, and I got to work in the gallery there under Jacqui Nathan. After grad school, I moved back to Columbus and started at Otterbein as the museum and gallery assistant.

I was in charge of installing exhibitions and managing the collection of the university. We had three gallery spaces and now we have four gallery spaces there. I eventually started to teach classes because they knew I had the background anyway. And so, that was what my previous job was prior to coming to the OAC.

Chaz O'Neil on the Charles Bridge in Prague in 2019.Q. You’ve had a busy past two years showing your work and traveling for various residencies. What have you been working on recently?

I have been afforded some great opportunities through the Greater Columbus Arts Council with the Dresden Exchange Program, which I received in 2019, and the Ohio Art League, which also sent me abroad to Can Serrat, Spain in 2019.

Otterbein also sent me to teach in Shanghai, China, twice: once in May 2018 and again in May 2019. It was at Otterbein’s partner school there called Shanghai Publishing Printing College. We would go for the month of May and teach in-person classes for students who would one day transfer to Otterbein to finish their bachelor’s degrees. I would teach the foundations of drawing classes with a class of like 50 students. Living in Shanghai for a month was amazing.

One of the pinnacles of my career so far was being included in the Greater Columbus 2020 exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art. That was such an honor. And I was recently juried into an exhibition at ROY G BIV in 2020. That just concluded at the end of September.

Q. How do you see your artistic background coming into play in your work at the OAC?

I have definitely been in the artists’ shoes before. Many, many, many times. Through success and rejection, which is a big part of being an artist. You don’t always get chosen for things. You don’t always get into exhibitions or get funding for things, so you just have to kind of learn to deal with that. So, I’ve seen it from that side.

I’ve also learned the importance of being aware of opportunities. Keep your mind open to art calls, calls for submissions, calls for proposals, grant deadlines, and stuff like that.

Now, being on this side of the process, I’m able to help artists with their applications and help get the word out to as many people as possible. I’m still learning about what the job will entail, but I can definitely be sensitive to artists’ needs when it comes to approaching our office.

Q. Is there any Ohio Arts Council program or initiative that you’re specifically looking forward to getting involved in?

Definitely Percent for Art. It’s a two- or three-year process for each one. I can’t wait to learn more about the artist selection process, do site visits, and go physically be in the places where this art will be on display.

It’s definitely a different world for me. I am usually more of a hands-on kind of worker. I like to work with tools and paint walls and patch and hang artwork. But being a facilitator is something that I am excited for. I am here to be of service to other artists. Which I was originally doing as far as being a gallery director at the State Fair and Otterbein, but it is just a different way of looking at it. I am appreciative to be here and be a part of this agency to help in a different way.

Q. What inspires your art?

Terraform at the Columbus Museum of Art during Greater Columbus 2020.My work is based loosely on space travel and abstract forms, science, and math. I kind of intermix all of those things together. My work is also very material-driven. I’m very interested in working with and playing with new materials.

My most recent body of work came out of my experiences in Dresden and Spain, specifically a visit I made to a museum in Freiberg, Germany, called the Terra Mineralia. It’s like five or six floors of amazing specimens of geodes and stones and minerals collected from all around the world. I took so many photographs of these specimens, like super close up, and saved them away for a while. Once we returned to the U.S. and we were kind of quarantined for a while, I was able to revisit these images that I took.

I kind of messed with them in Photoshop, played around with them, collaged them together, and then I wanted to print them. I got involved with the makerspace called The Point at Otterbein University, and I decided I would print those photographs on largescale-format printers onto vinyl. So, basically, they were like vinyl-adhesive decals. Then I would paint the photographs as well. There was that process of making abstractly or kind of haphazardly, there’s that control-versus-chaos that kind of comes into play in my work. Things are plotted and sort of grid-like, but then there’s kind of this messy happenstance that happens.

Q. How has your process or approach to artmaking changed?

The piece that I created for the Greater Columbus 2020 Exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art, was a mural made of vinyl that was 11-feet-wide-by-18-feet-tall. So, it went floor-to-ceiling.  I had never attempted anything like that before, but that’s kind of the way I work. I kind of just go for it, and I deal with the roadblocks or the challenges as they come up. I’m kind of quick on my feet when it comes to my practice.

The pieces that I made for ROY G BIV were kind of standalone pieces that were 4-feet-by-4-feet. There were six of them on display adhered to the wall. So, they looked like they were kind of cemented into the surface.

I created two murals on the wall there as well. For these, I drew two images with graphite pencil on the wall: one was a photo from the Mars Perseverance rover and one was from Curiosity. From these photographs they took, I kind of re-imposed them onto the wall in 4-foot-by-4-foot squares as well.

Each drawing took me about six hours to complete. And then after the show was over, we had to erase it, basically. So, it was kind of a new thing for me as far as the permanence of an art piece. I just kind of wanted to see what happened, what my feelings would be after I put all of this time and effort into this piece, and now it was just going to be washed off.

I think the people who got to see it are that much more connected to it now that it’s gone. Of course, there’s photos and videos of me making it, so we’ll always have that. But seeing it in person for those four weeks, you kind of had to be there for it.

Q. What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of the office?

One of my favorite hobbies is cooking. I think I’m a pretty good cook, and I come from a line of good cooks, as well.

I also enjoy rooting for my Central and Northeast Ohio sports teams, and I have recently picked up golfing as a hobby during the quarantine.

Traveling is definitely high on the list for my wife, Margarita, and I. Spain was probably my favorite place to visit. We spent our second wedding anniversary in Barcelona.

And we just bought a house in Westerville—we just moved in September—so we’re first-time homebuyers. We’re sort of learning the ropes on all of that, and we’re getting the new studio is getting set up in the new house.

Other than that, we just like spending time with our family, including our Pomeranian-Chihuahua, Scooter, and our cat, Frida.

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


Article by Amanda Etchison, Communications Strategist
Photos courtesy of Chaz O'Neil


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