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Ohio Arts Council Board Approves More Than $12.5M in Arts Grants

698 Grants Awarded to Artists and Arts Organizations throughout Ohio. 

The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) board approved $12,500,446 in grants to support Ohio artists, arts and cultural organizations, students, educators, and public arts programming when it met virtually on July 22 for its summer board meeting.

The 698 grants approved at the meeting represent the initial and major state fiscal year 2021 funding round for the OAC.


The Ohio Arts Council’s FY 2021 state funding is less than originally appropriated by about $3 million, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its fiscal repercussions on the state budget.

OAC Executive Director Donna S. Collins said the agency and board are grateful for the opportunity to support artists, organizations, and teaching artists through grants awarded in the midst of a spring and summer that has been devastating for the arts and culture sector due to the pandemic.

“Now, more than ever before, public funding for the arts is essential. Our hearts are with our colleagues in the arts throughout Ohio who are struggling and making tough decisions and sacrifices every day,” she said. “We thank Governor Mike DeWine, and members of the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate, for continuing to support the arts through the state budget’s appropriation to the Ohio Arts Council during such uncertain times.”

Collins said the OAC will continue to support the statewide presence of the arts in every way possible.

“The work of our grantees showcases the high level of quality synonymous with the arts in Ohio,” she said. “We are touched and inspired by the strength, courage, and innovation embodied by our constituents, and we know that we’ll get through this together.”


In a recent Executive Message, Collins explained that the OAC has taken steps to offset the unexpected $3 million state budget reduction with the agency’s annual National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) state partnership grant award, which amounts to $1,061,150, and the OAC’s share of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding through the NEA, which adds another $517,200. All of these federal dollars have been blended into the OAC’s distribution of grant awards for FY 2021, and none were used for OAC operating or administrative expenses.


The NEA also provided direct CARES Act grant funding to 855 nonprofit arts organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In July, the NEA announced that 27 Ohio organizations were selected for CARES Act grants and awarded each organization $50,000, infusing an additional $1.35 million into Ohio’s creative economy.

Earlier in June, the NEA also announced that 15 Ohio arts organizations received direct funding through its Art Works, Research Grants in the Arts, and Our Town programs. These awards, totaling just more than $1.4 million for Ohio organizations, were distributed separately from the NEA’s CARES Act grants.


The regional arts organization Arts Midwest is also directly supporting 11 arts organizations in Ohio with their portion of CARES Act funding, bringing an additional $86,000 to the state.

In coming weeks, an additional tranche of funding for Ohio arts organizations is expected thanks to the U.S. Regional Arts Resilience Fund. The fund is an initiative of the United States Regional Arts Organizations, including Arts Midwest, and made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Awards will range from $30,000 to $75,000 for small and mid-sized arts organizations, with priority going to those led by and serving people of color and indigenous people and/or led by and serving people from rural communities.


For a complete, filterable list of grant recipients, click here to view an Excel spreadsheet. To view the full list of awarded grants as a PDF, click here.

OAC grant funding was awarded in the following areas:

Operating Support

Sustainability supports ongoing arts and cultural activities in all genres. Awards support the largest and most administratively sophisticated organizations in the state's arts and culture ecosystem. This four-year funding supports a wide range of the state's arts providers that are positioning Ohio as a national leader in creativity, artistry, and cultural wealth.  

301 grants totaling $9,839,848

Arts Access supports ongoing arts and cultural activities in all genres that broaden opportunities for the general public to participate in the arts. This flexible two-year funding provides general operating support for small organizations.   

51 grants totaling $141,200

Project Support

ArtSTART provides accessible funding to help organizations complete short-term projects. Most awards support the programming of new or emerging organizations, first-time OAC applicants, and organizations in areas not served by other arts providers.   

149 grants totaling $338,523

ArtsNEXT provides competitive funding for innovative and experimental projects. These forward-looking projects help define Ohio as an exciting, cutting-edge place to make, consume, and experience the arts.   

56 grants totaling $441,684


Arts Learning

Arts Partnership supports arts education projects that address the needs of individual learners and their communities. By supporting these projects and programs, the OAC aims to strengthen arts education locally, regionally, and statewide. 

77 grants totaling $708,408

TeachArtsOhio brings schools and community organizations together with teaching artists to share engaging, personal, high-quality arts learning experiences.

49 grants totaling $801,000

Individual Artists

Traditional Arts Apprenticeships provide support for master artists to work with apprentices to build understanding and proficiency in folk and traditional art forms. These awards support the teaching and sharing of important cultural traditions and enrich the lives of Ohioans. 

9 grants totaling $20,751

Statewide Arts Service Organization Support

Statewide Arts Service Organizations (SASO) are qualifying organizations that provide statewide professional services to arts and cultural organizations. These organizations often serve as critical partners to the OAC’s work as they, along with their members or constituents, support our mission to strengthen Ohio communities through the arts. Statewide Arts Service Organizations are eligible to receive OAC support in a way that honors their unique and valuable contributions to Ohio’s arts sector.

6 grants totaling $209,032


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

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