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Ohio Arts Council Executive Director Donna S. Collins and OFP Productions' Nate Leone at The Gratitude Project in Dayton on Aug. 16.

‘Tis the Season – And It’s Not Christmas!

Artist Albert Paley (left) and Ohio Arts Council Board Chair Ginger Warner at the Aug. 22  Percent for Art dedication ceremony for Paley’s sculpture, “Progression.” Paley’s work is located on the lawn in front of the University of Cincinnati’s Health Sciences Building.As summer winds down and autumn nears, I’m reminded of the transition of seasons, how everything can be connected—summer vacation and school, retirements and new hires. It seems that we blink and we’re in transition, a lot like the way lines blur between art forms. From poetry to dance, from performance to installation, I am eternally grateful for every season and collaboration in the arts!
In that spirit, I am always “wowed” by meeting with Ohio’s many arts leaders, artists, and constituents, and August was no exception. This month, I’ll offer you just a sampling of the amazing creativity abounding here in the Buckeye State.
On August 16 in Dayton at the PNC Arts Annex, OFP Productions presented The Gratitude Project featuring Ohio Poet Laureate Dave Lucas, award-winning poet Ruth Awad, and Governor’s Award winner and poet Sierra Leone. It was a night of joy and appreciation for the arts—for healing, for people, and for Dayton. Special thanks to all the talented performers who touched and mended our hearts.
Artists who performed in OFP Productions’ The Gratitude Project take the stage with  2018 Governor’s Award winner and Dayton-based poet Sierra Leone (center).Then, on August 22, Ohio Arts Council (OAC) Board Chair Ginger Warner joined staff to participate in the dedication of Albert Paley’s Percent for Art piece, “Progression,” at the University of Cincinnati’s campus. Mr. Paley spent time with us sharing his experiences, offering advice, and expressing his love of art. Students, staff, parents, and the public now have the opportunity to enjoy “Progression” on the East Campus Open Space in front of Health Sciences Building (3223 Eden Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio, 45229). “Progression” is beautiful in all of its nearly 8 tons of glory—it measures 9’ x 40’ x 4’—and can’t be missed! I hope you’ll stop by the next time you’re in town.

I had visits from Johanna Burton from The Wex and Gina Vernaci from Playhouse Square within a few days of each other. Both of these outstanding professional arts leaders are taking their organizations to new heights. We had in-depth conversations about their visions and values and how the Ohio Arts Council plays a significant role in their successes. Check out what’s happening and get to know Johanna and Gina—these women are making the arts in Ohio even more spectacular than we can imagine.
Ohio Poet Laureate Dave Lucas reads a selection of poems at The Gratitude Project,  presented by OFP Productions in Dayton on Aug. 16.Next up is the Arts Midwest Conference (AMW), where we will say goodbye to long-time executive director, David Fraher, who has served as the leader of our regional arts organization since 1984. Staff at the OAC were able to give a personal send off to David when he joined us in Columbus a few weeks ago. In this season of transition, at AMW we will welcome Torrie Allen as the new CEO when we gather in Minneapolis in early September.
And finally, on a personal note, the school bells are ringing and my grandgirl has transitioned from a little girl to a sophomore in high school. Cierra loves playing flute in the Canal Winchester High School Marching Band, and we love watching the band! My grandboy Chance is busy with the Central Ohio Youth Athletic Association playing baseball and football—and now he has fourth grade homework to tackle, too!
Do the seasons of your work and transitions in your personal life seem to fly by, too? I’m quite sure we wouldn’t have it any other way. Lucky for us, we are rooted in a state that values the arts and season after season, as our governor and the Ohio legislature provide resources for arts and culture. Together we are good stewards of public dollars across all 88 counties in Ohio.
So, as fall descends on us, ‘tis the season to spread our love of the arts and the economic, educational, and cultural significance that makes Ohio a smART place to live, work, and play!
Until next time,
Donna S. Collins signature

Donna S. Collins

Executive Director

Featured photo: Ohio Arts Council Executive Director Donna S. Collins and OFP Productions' Nate Leone at The Gratitude Project in Dayton on Aug. 16.

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