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Ohio Is The Art of It All

Dear friend,

As we begin a new state fiscal year, it’s a time of celebration and reflection at the Ohio Arts Council. Last week the OAC Board approved more than $18 million in grant awards. With this year’s budget, we accomplished several achievements. To follow are just three highlights of many:

  • The largest amount of money the OAC has ever invested into operating support for small organizations, via Arts Access.
  • More than quadrupling our investment into in-school residencies for teaching artists compared to five years ago. We are able to fund $1.5 million in TeachArtsOhio, compared to $340,000 in FY 2018.
  • The largest amount of money the OAC has ever invested into arts and cultural projects for newer organizations, via ArtSTART project funding.

In addition to our funding opportunities, the agency continues to offer DEI professional development and engagement in partnership with the Ohio Diversity Council. This calendar year, we’ve already hosted webinars, chapter meetings, and several symposia with both the Ohio and National Diversity Councils. I hope you will check out more opportunities on our website.

Thanks to all who participated with the State Poetry Out Loud finals in the spring, and congratulations to State Champion Pius Edzie of St. Francis DeSales High School in Columbus. Pius and other poets will participate in recitations at the Ohio State Fair. For the latest information, please rely on the Fair’s daily schedule, but for now, if you’re interested in attending, tentatively hold August 4, 2022, 1-7 p.m. for the Ohio State Fair Poetry Showcase, (at 717 East 17th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43211).

Speaking of showcases of artists for the public’s enjoyment, the next exhibition at the OAC’s Riffe Gallery is Watercolor Ohio 2022, on display from July 30 through Oct 7. This will mark the 45th annual juried exhibition produced by the Ohio Watercolor Society, featuring 60 artists.

Eight rural counties in Ohio (Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, and Washington) are working with Buckeye Hills Regional Council to carry-out Arts & Economic Prosperity research through Americans for the Arts. We encourage arts organizations in these eight counties to learn more about this opportunity and participate. If you have questions, please contact Buckeye Hills’ Development Specialist Jada Riley at 740-376-7636 or You can learn more about the survey at   

As we continue looking ahead, we hope you plan to join staff and board members from the Ohio Arts Council and arts leaders from across the state in Akron on October 5-6 for the OAC’s professional development conference—Arts Impact Ohio 2022! At the conference, we will provide relevant, action-oriented, forward-looking content for members of the state’s arts and cultural sector. The 2022 conference features two days of workshop sessions, keynotes, and plenaries; visits to nearby arts and cultural institutions; and opportunities to meet local and national thought leaders, with performances, arts experiences, networking opportunities, and plenty of other celebrations mixed in. Details on workshop sessions, presenters, performances, and more are updated regularly. Stay up to date on all things conference related by visiting the AIO webpage: or following @artsimpactohio on Twitter and Instagram. For questions, contact OAC Communications Strategist Katie Monahan at

Reflecting on the past, present, and future gives me an opportunity to say “‘thank you” to everyone who makes support for the arts possible – we’re all advocates for the arts in one way or another. We’re educating policy makers about the impact of the arts on Ohio’s economic vitality and jobs. We’re sharing the arts with students through artist residencies and Poetry Out Loud. We’re positively impacting the lives of older adults through the Creative Aging initiative. We’re supporting artists through the Individual Excellence Awards and professional development. The public is served by the hundreds of arts organizations funded through the Ohio Arts Council.

It’s all possible, all of these arts opportunities, because our Governor, Lt. Governor, and members of the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives said, “yes” to public funding for the arts through the Ohio Arts Council. It is a historic biennium of funding and we are grateful. Combined with our annual support from the National Endowment for the Arts, we’ve got a winning combination in Ohio … home to world-class arts from our smallest towns to our largest cities. I believe … Ohio Is the Art of it All.

Until next time,

Donna S. Collins
Executive Director


Featured photo (left to right): OAC Board President Ginger Warner, Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman, and OAC Executive Director Donna S. Collins
Photographer credit: Terry Gilliam

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