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2019 Governor's Awards for the Arts in Ohio winners at the luncheon ceremony on May 15

May 15: A Day For the Ages

May 15, 2019 was a day for the ages.

It marked the 49th Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio. We celebrated the outstanding contributions of amazing arts organizations, artists, arts educators, business supporters, and arts patrons. The awardees’ acceptance remarks brought us to our feet for ovations, had us searching for tissues to wipe our tears, and instilled in us a renewed resilience about the work we do and the power of the arts. Thank you to all who participated in-person and all who watched the live stream on Facebook. It was inspirational at the highest level.

May 15 also brought the announcement of National Endowment for the Arts funding for the Ohio Arts Council. Now, for 10 years in a row, the OAC has earned one of the top three largest grants in the nation for state arts agencies from the National Endowment for the Arts. The OAC will receive $1,007,950 to help support arts initiatives throughout the state. This is the fifth-highest National Endowment for the Arts grant awarded to the OAC in the agency’s 54-year history. The merit of our work—and your work in the arts—means Ohio keeps beating bigger states like Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York. And all of our federal funds are reinvested right into grants—nothing for overhead. In addition to the state partnership grant, the NEA also awarded a total of $403,000 in direct grants to 15 arts-related organizations in Ohio. You can read more here on the great work being done by NEA grantees throughout the Buckeye State.

Lastly, also on May 15, the U.S. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee recommended appropriations of $167.5 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2020! This is an increase for the National Endowment for the Arts of $12.5 million over the FFY 2019 funding level of $155 million. If this funding level holds, it will be the largest increase for the National Endowment for the Arts budget in a decade. The full U.S. House Appropriations Committee will consider this bill in the coming weeks and action on the House floor will take place sometime in June. Stay tuned, and we’ll bring you more information as it happens.

Here at home, the state budget process is moving along as anticipated. At present, we are grateful that both Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio House of Representatives have proposed increases to the Ohio Arts Council’s General Revenue Fund (GRF) budget. The Governor recommended $29.5 million in GRF funding for the OAC, and the House recommended adding an additional $2 million in grants, setting the agency’s budget at $31.5 million. While this is good news, the process is far from over. The full Senate and an anticipated House-Senate Conference Committee still must make and reconcile budget recommendations, all in preparation for the state budget’s June 30 deadline. Again, we will keep you posted as the process unfolds.

Spring has sprung and it’s exciting to begin with good news and celebrations at both the state and national levels. I can’t wait to see what summer has to offer! If May 15 is any indication, the arts have a bright future ahead this year!

Until next time,

Donna S. Collins signature

Donna S. Collins
Executive Director

Featured photo: The 2019 Governor's Awards for the Arts in Ohio winners at the luncheon ceremony on May 15. (From back left) Ronette Burkes-Trowsdell (Community Development & Participation), Dr. Mark Lomax II (Individual Artist), Don Rettig (Business Support of the Arts), Randolph Wadsworth (Arts Patron), RJ Thompson (Community Development & Participation), D. Lynn Meyers (Arts Education), Leslie Adams (Individual Artist), Phyllis Gorfain (Arts Administration), Sharon Rab (Irma Lazarus Award). Photo by Terry Gilliam Photography

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