Nominations for the 2023 Governor's Awards for the Arts in Ohio are now closed. Thank you to all who took the time to submit nominations for individuals, organizations, or businesses in your community. We look forward to celebrating with you next year!
Ohio is home to individuals and organizations who are transforming their communities through the arts. From the local business that volunteers each year at an annual arts festival, to the art educator who goes above and beyond to bring meaningful arts experiences to her classroom, our state is full of people who prove each day that the arts have the power to strengthen communities culturally, educationally, and economically.
The Governor's Awards represent an opportunity to share your story statewide and give these Ohioans the statewide recognition they deserve. The event showcases and celebrates exceptional Ohio artists, arts organizations, arts leaders and patrons, and business supporters of the arts.
Award recipients are honored at a ceremony in Columbus, where they are presented with the only arts award in the state that is conferred by the Governor of Ohio. Each award winner receives an original piece of artwork created specifically for the event by an Ohio artist.
We cannot wait to share your stories and demonstrate the strength of the arts in 2023!
Part I: Learn more how to put forward a competitive nomination in this short, 15-minute video covering best practices and tips for a successful Ohio Governor's Awards for the Arts nomination.
Part II: Tune in for a panel discussion with successful nominators of Governor’s Awards past. Panelists reflect on the experience of coordinating a nomination and offer advice on establishing a strong narrative, enlisting a diversity of voices for support letters, and more.
About the Nomination Process
Governor’s Awards nominations are accepted through an online form during a 6-8-week nomination period, typically in late summer/early fall (dates are subject to change). Nominations may be submitted by organizations or individuals. This is a highly competitive process; nominations of previously unselected nominees are encouraged.
A nomination consists of:
Eligibility & Selection Process
Nominations are open to organizations or individuals who work or reside in Ohio. Nominees must be living—no awards will be presented posthumously. Nominations are reviewed by Ohio Arts Council board members, and the Governor's Office determines final award winners.
ARTS ADMINISTRATION | Individual who has shown sustained, impactful, and visionary leadership of an arts organization.
ARTS EDUCATION | Individual or organization that has made significant contributions through leadership and creativity to advance arts education in Ohio's schools and community organizations.
ARTS PATRON | Individual, or individual or family foundation, that, over time, has sustained and enhanced the arts in their community or the state of Ohio through contributions of their time, effort, or financial resources.
BUSINESS SUPPORT OF THE ARTS (Large) | Private or nonprofit business with 100 or more employees that has, over time, provided extraordinary support to the arts locally, statewide, regionally, or nationally through a contribution of personnel, financial, or other resources. Nominations will be considered in both a small and large category.
BUSINESS SUPPORT OF THE ARTS (Small) | Private or nonprofit business with fewer than 100 employees that has, over time, provided extraordinary support to the arts locally, statewide, regionally, or nationally through a contribution of personnel, financial, or other resources. Nominations will be considered in both a small and large category.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND PARTICIPATION | Individual or organization that works to create or strengthen interactive arts participation among diverse community members while increasing public awareness about the role of the arts in community life.
INDIVIDUAL ARTIST | Ohio artist whose work has made a significant impact on his or her discipline locally, statewide, regionally, or nationally.
IRMA LAZARUS AWARD | The Irma Lazarus Award goes to individuals or organizations who have helped shape public support for the arts through their work as advocates and have brought national and international recognition to Ohio through sustained dedication to artistic excellence.
Since its beginning in 1971, the Governor's Awards has recognized individuals and organizations who have been vital to the growth and development of Ohio's cultural resources. One of the most prestigious arts events in Ohio, the Governor's Awards showcases and celebrates exceptional Ohio artists, arts organizations, arts leaders and patrons, and business support of the arts. Governor's Awards recipients are honored at a luncheon ceremony in Columbus, where they are presented with the only arts award in the state that is conferred by the governor. Each award winner receives an original piece of artwork created specifically for the event by an Ohio artist and the opportunity to share their story with other arts supporters statewide.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about past winners.
Gladisa Guadalupe, a dancer and teaching artist, is the co-founder and artistic director of the Cleveland Ballet and the founder of the School of Cleveland Ballet. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ms. Guadalupe started her dance training at the age of 13 with Ballet de San Juan, becoming one of the company’s youngest members. A scholarship alumna of the School of American Ballet, the official training academy of the New York City Ballet, Ms. Guadalupe’s career in professional ballet has included principal dancer roles with Ballet de San Juan; Ballet Nuevo Mundo de Caracas (Caracas, Venezuela); the Cleveland – San Jose Ballet (San Jose, California, and Cleveland); and the Cleveland Ballet.
After retiring from the stage, Ms. Guadalupe founded the Cleveland School of Dance (now known as the School of Cleveland Ballet), where she also served as director and principal teacher upon the school’s establishment in 2000. In 2014, Ms. Guadalupe and her husband, Dr. Michael Krasnyansky, established the Cleveland Ballet, the resident ballet company of the City of Cleveland. Under Ms. Guadalupe’s guidance and artistic excellence, the Cleveland Ballet has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing ballet companies in the United States. With a dynamic and practical approach to instruction, Ms. Guadalupe has assisted students in effective training and application of their objectives and was recognized by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. In 2015, Ms. Guadalupe was invited to serve on the Alumni Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion at the School of American Ballet and that same year received the Festival Internacional del Baile honor from San Juan. She has also served as a consultant for various Northeast Ohio organizations, and her leadership was honored in 2021 with the YWCA’s Women of Achievement award.
Richard “Duarte” Brown is a master artist with the TRANSIT ARTS Youth Arts Program and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education’s (OAAE) Art in the House program. For more than 30 years, Duarte has dedicated his talents to helping young people in Columbus through countless programs including CAPACITY (the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts’ youth arts program), the Short Stop Youth Center, the King Arts Complex, the OAAE Artists-in-Schools program, the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s (GCAC) Children of the Future, Ebony Boys, Art Safe, and Art Possible Ohio. A member of the Ohio Teaching Artist Roster, Duarte has worked as a high school art instructor at the Arts and College Preparatory Academy in Columbus. He has also led hands-on artmaking experiences at Whitehall City Schools and Berne Union Schools in the Village of Sugar Grove in Fairfield County as a resident artist supported by the Ohio Arts Council’s TeachArtsOhio arts learning grant program.
Through his own mixed-media paintings, Duarte connects people through the sharing of narratives that unveil layers of personal development and stir individual strength, wisdom, and courage. He encourages the innate creative voice in all of us through visual demonstrations of ethnography that show a quest for growth, provoke dialogue, and draw out the brilliance of the lifelong alumni of his creative influence. In 2022, Duarte received the Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Fellowship from GCAC and the Columbus Museum of Art. His murals can be seen throughout Columbus, bringing comfort and inspiration to countless viewers.
K12 Gallery & TEJAS is an artist-centered regional visual arts center offering innovative arts programs in the Miami Valley. Created in 1993 by Jerri Stanard as a grassroots effort to engage people through art, this nonprofit organization has grown into an established leader for the visual arts in the Dayton community. K12 Gallery & TEJAS is focused on promoting creative construction over destruction, a mission achieved through art classes, in-school and after-school hands-on making programs, summer art camps, field trips, professional exhibitions, public art, and workshops for artists of all ages and skill levels. A unique and encouraging environment, the K12 Gallery features a constantly changing slate of exhibitions and offers more than 400 on-site art classes and 1,000 off-site classes at 15 urban locations. Partnerships with local professional artists help low-income students, justice-involved individuals, adults with disabilities, and survivors of violence achieve equal access to the educational and healing qualities of the arts. K12’s members are geographically diverse and represent a wide range of activity areas, while TEJAS (Teen Educational Joint Adult Studio) programming expands artmaking opportunities to those beyond high-school age.
Located in the heart of Dayton, K12 Gallery & TEJAS engages talent in the service of the community, leading through the arts to problem-solve and creatively address local challenges. Programs such as its Advanced Placement Studio Art classes, Artist in Training after-school program, month-long Saturday Youth & Adult Drawing Studios, and community partner events and classes work in pursuit of the organization’s goal of supporting the creative mind through timely, relevant, and accessible artmaking experiences that focus on personal creative development.
For Burt and Alice Saidel, a shared love of the arts is inextricably entwined with their love for each other. The couple, who have been married for 65 years and have lived in Dayton for 64 of them, are familiar figures in the West Central Ohio arts community. They have served on arts boards for many of these years, and Burt is currently a member of the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. They’ve worked in fundraising for organizations close to their hearts. The Saidels are an enthusiastically welcomed presence at concerts, gallery openings, and performances.
The arts have played an integral role in both Burt and Alice’s lives. Burt, a dentist like his father, often took his office staff’s children to watch dress rehearsals at the Dayton Opera. Alice, whose family hails from Cleveland, grew up attending concerts at Severance Hall and has held a volunteer job in the Dayton Art Institute’s library since the late 1980s. The Saidels’ patronage of the arts runs deep, as evidenced by the generous gifts of their time and talents. For 40 years, Burt’s weekly review column in The Oakwood Register has been a community touchstone for all things occurring in the Greater Dayton arts scene. Burt’s own artistry extends beyond the written word. His woodworking skills are on display in many venues throughout the Miami Valley, such as the hand-crafted podium he created for the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.
KeyBank is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies that provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states through a network of 1,000 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs. Headquartered in Ohio, KeyBank prides itself on actively engaging with local initiatives, charities, and arts and cultural groups located in the communities it serves. For 25 years, KeyBank’s support of organizations in Toledo and Lucas County has impacted millions of people in Northwest Ohio. Advocating by example, KeyBank - Toledo has offered support, guidance, and financial assistance to a variety of organizations and programs, including the Toledo Symphony’s Pop Series, WGTE’s “Thursday Night Lineup” and “Toledo Stories,” the Toledo Museum of Art, the University of Toledo, the Toledo Zoo’s Lights Before Christmas, and the Crosby Festival of the Arts.
KeyBank - Toledo has also supported Imagination Station, a nonprofit science museum in downtown Toledo, with the opening of the new KeyBank Discovery Theater in June 2021. The centerpiece of an $11-million expansion to the museum, this large-format movie theatre features state-of-the-art technology that enables immersive storytelling, bringing science and the arts alive for viewers. In concert with its capital support of the theatre’s construction, KeyBank - Toledo also provided funding for Project Discovery, a program that arranges free theatre admission and classroom engagement opportunities for Toledo Public Schools students.
William “Bill” Mullane is an artist, educator, administrator, and civic leader whose collaborative and creative leadership has shaped myriad arts and culture organizations and initiatives throughout the Mahoning Valley. A champion for the arts, community, and the inseverable connection between the two, Bill currently serves on the board of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley; the Raymond John Wean Foundation; the Trumbull Art Gallery; Friends of the Fellows Riverside Gardens; the Medici Museum; and the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra, where he has held the role of board president for several years.
As a current board member, former board president, and former acting director of the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County, Bill brings his expertise to an organization aimed at fostering the arts in Northeast Ohio. His work to connect and inspire collaboration amongst local organizations has cultivated partnerships with Warren City Schools, the City of Warren, the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, and Students Motivated by the Arts. In the 1980s, Bill’s cross-organizational, synergetic efforts resulted in the expansion of the Trumbull Art Gallery to incorporate creative programming; regular exhibitions; and the Kenneth Patchen Literary Festival, a multi-year project celebrating the life of Ohio poet Kenneth Patchen. Bill’s involvement in the visual arts has been furthered by his work at the Butler Institute of American Art, where he has co-curated several exhibitions, including multiple Northeast Ohio Scholastic Art Exhibitions and ceremonies. Currently, Bill serves as adjunct curator and exhibition designer at the Medici Museum of Art. A passionate facilitator of community connections and a tireless arts advocate, Bill is above all considered a source of inspiration for those with whom he has worked.
The Boneyfiddle Project is a nonprofit organization created to promote commerce through the arts in the historic district of Boneyfiddle in Portsmouth, the county seat of Scioto County. Founded by Robert and Julia Black, the Boneyfiddle Project is driven by a belief in music and the arts as healing forces capable of spurring lasting, positive change. In 2015, Robert and Julia hosted the first full season of “Final Friday in Boneyfiddle” outdoor concerts, which featured local artists and musicians sharing their talents in the Boneyfiddle district. “Final Fridays” continue to be a Boneyfiddle tradition and have since expanded to include regional and national musical acts performing alongside local groups and artists. The monthly summertime concerts have become known for regularly welcoming more than 500 guests and showcasing the work of local graphic designers who make collectible event posters, artwork for album covers, and merchandise. The concerts also serve as a catalyst for economic development as concertgoers partake in the local cuisine and shopping.
The success of the “Final Fridays” concert series has sparked renewed interest and local pride in Portsmouth’s arts and culture scene. In 2018, Robert and Julia opened the Three Bridges Outdoor Concert Venue, a permanent home for “Final Fridays” concerts that overlooks the Ohio River. Their most recent project, completed in April 2021, included the design and installation of a stone-and-wrought-iron entry sign that welcomes locals and visitors alike to the historic Boneyfiddle district and all it has to offer.
Alan Cottrill is a Zanesville-based artist whose monumental figurative sculptures have been exhibited and commissioned throughout the United States. Raised in Appalachian Ohio, Alan was the first in his family to graduate high school. After a stint in college, the U.S. Army, and truck driving, Alan founded a successful fast-food chain and soon became an international entrepreneur who was invited by the U.S. Department of Commerce to participate in various trade missions throughout the world. In 1990, Alan decided to leave the world of business with the goal of becoming one of the finest figurative sculptors in the world. He moved to New York City and studied at the renowned Art Students League; the National Academy of Design; and Columbia Medical Center, where he studied human anatomy, before returning to Ohio to set up his art studio and gallery.
Alan’s sculptures have been exhibited throughout the U.S., and his monumental and life-sized commissions can be found in universities, colleges, libraries, and other public spaces. His work has paid tribute to historical figures, many of whom also hail from Ohio, such as former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn, U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, Olympic athlete Jesse Owens, and Zanesville-born author Zane Grey. His statue of another Ohioan, inventor Thomas Edison, is part of the National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol Building. Alan and his friend, Charles Leasure, are co-founders of Zanesville’s Coppermill Bronzeworks, a bronze foundry where they have cast more than 1,000 of Alan’s sculptures and hundreds of other artists’ work.
Weichih “Rosa” Lee is a master artist, musician, and Ohio Heritage Fellow specializing in the performance of Chinese zither. Born in Taiwan, Rosa grew up in a household of Chinese musicians and began to learn the Chinese plucked zither, or guzheng, at the age of 7. While her mother, Mark RuiPin, taught her basic chord structures and the Chinese jianpu musical notations, Rosa later studied with Professor Teidon Wei to learn Chinese zither and music theory. She won the Taipei Musical Contest Youth Champion award in 1971, which encouraged her to pursue an advanced level in musical performance. In 1981, she had her first solo concert in the Taipei Musical Hall to a standing-room-only audience. It was the first time that 21-string guzheng plucking techniques were introduced to the public in Taiwan.
Rosa immigrated to the United States in 1985 and settled in the Cleveland area, where she has presented her art form and acted as a cultural ambassador. Her performances have been featured by WVIZ Public Television, the Cleveland Asian Festival, Palace Theater, and PM Magazine, as well as in museums, schools, and colleges. One of the first master artists to be awarded an Ohio Arts Council Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant, Rosa teaches both the instrumentation of the Chinese zither and the important cultural aspects of the music to her apprentices. In 2014, she was honored for her artistic excellence in performing arts with an Ohio Heritage Fellowship, a lifetime achievement award celebrating the vitality of Ohio’s folk and traditional arts. Rosa differentiates herself from others by demonstrating the artistic side of her music and connecting culture to the music while she pursues the highest level of artistic excellence.