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.

Ohio Arts Council logo

Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards Announced

Members of the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) board have approved $375,000 in grant funding to be awarded to Ohio artists through the OAC’s Individual Excellence Awards program for state fiscal year 2020.

Individual Excellence Awards are peer recognition of a creative artist’s body of work that exemplifies their specific discipline and advances the larger artistic community. These awards support artists' growth and development and recognize their work in Ohio and beyond.

During this funding cycle, applications in choreography, criticism, fiction and non-fiction, music composition, playwriting/screenplays, and poetry were accepted. Each award is $5,000. The grants were approved at the OAC board’s winter meeting on Jan. 29.

Awarded through an open panel review process focused on the basis of exceptional merit of an artist’s past body of work, Individual Excellence Award funding gives artists the resources to experiment and explore their art forms, develop skills, and advance their careers.

“The Ohio Arts Council’s Individual Excellence Awards give artists the opportunity to be recognized and rewarded for their exemplary artistic achievements,” said OAC Executive Director Donna S. Collins. “Through their art, the individuals selected for these grants have expressed visionary ideas, spoken in a diversity of voices, and explored thought-provoking topics and themes from a variety of viewpoints. We congratulate the Individual Excellence Award recipients and thank them for enriching Ohio’s creative community.”

For a complete, filterable list of grant recipients, download the Excel spreadsheet here. For a PDF list of grant recipients, click here.

 A list of Individual Excellence Award winners follows:


  • Alice Blumenfeld (Oberlin, Lorain County)
  • Kimberly Karpanty (Akron, Summit County)
  • Russell Lepley (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Samuel McIntosh (South Euclid, Cuyahoga County)
  • Alysia Ramos (Oberlin, Lorain County)


  • Melissa Barrett (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Jeremy Glazier (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Joel Oliphint (Columbus, Franklin County)


  • Seth Borgen (Akron, Summit County)
  • Valerie Cumming (Westerville, Franklin County)
  • Terry Dubow (Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Bradley Felver (Toledo, Lucas County)
  • Erin Flanagan (Kettering, Montgomery County)
  • Billy Hallal (Lakewood, Cuyahoga County)
  • Michelle Herman (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Karen Frank Kotrba (Columbiana, Columbiana County)
  • Lee Martin (Grove City, Franklin County)
  • Lynda Montgomery (Shaker Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Susan Petrone (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)
  • Robert Pope (Akron, Summit County)
  • Valli Jo Porter (Solon, Cuyahoga County)
  • Doug Ramspeck (Lima, Allen County)
  • Jason Sanford (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Jamie Lyn Smith (Mount Vernon, Knox County)
  • Toni Thayer (Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • John Thorndike (Athens, Athens County)
  • Gina Ventre (University Heights, Cuyahoga County)


  • Sayuri Ayers (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Amy Butcher (Delaware, Delaware County)
  • James Cummins (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
  • James Fox (New Concord, Muskingum County)
  • David Hassler (Kent, Portage County)
  • Michael Loderstedt (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)
  • Sarah Lohman (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)
  • Joe Mackall (West Salem, Ashland County)
  • Sarah Minor (Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Jenny Patton (Dublin, Delaware County)
  • Mary Quade (Madison, Lake County)
  • Eliza Smith (Columbus, Franklin County)


  • Daniel Bruce (Lakewood, Cuyahoga County)
  • Christopher Coles (Cuyahoga Falls, Summit County)
  • Brian Harnetty (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Mikel Kuehn (Sylvania, Lucas County)
  • Daniel McCarthy (Akron, Summit County)
  • Robert McClure (Athens, Athens County)
  • Jeffrey Mumford (Oberlin, Lorain County)
  • Adam Roberts (Akron, Summit County)


  • George Brant (Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Vera Brunner-Sung (screenwriting) (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Anton Dudley (Mount Vernon, Knox County)
  • Thomas Hayes (Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Les Hunter (Shaker Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Lisa Langford (Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Faye Sholiton (Beachwood, Cuyahoga County)
  • Erik Sternberger (Westerville, Franklin County)


  • Ruth Awad (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Melissa Barrett (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • George Bilgere (Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Schyler Butler (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Akhim Cabey (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Babette Cieskowski (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • James Ellenberger (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
  • Becca J.R. Lachman (Athens, Athens County)
  • Paula J. Lambert (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Keith Leonard (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Rebecca Lindenberg (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
  • Aimee Noel (Dayton, Montgomery County)
  • Douglas Ray (Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Robin Beth Schaer (Wooster, Wayne County)
  • Meg Shevenock (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Joel Showalter (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Ann Townsend (Granville, Licking County)
  • Christina Veladota (Athens, Athens County)
  • LaWanda Walters (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
  • Catherine Wing (Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County)

For more information about the OAC’s grant programs, visit


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

Comments are closed.


Sign Up for the Monthly Newsletter

From deadline reminders to artist interviews--sign up to receive the monthly ArtsOhio newsletter directly to your inbox.

* indicates required
OPTIONAL-Select additional opportunities: