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Arts Council announces grants

By Janelle Patterson

Staff Reporter

The Ohio Arts Council announced the investment of $20 million in CARES Act funding to arts organizations Thursday.

In Southern and Eastern Ohio, four counties saw a total of $480,500, while Belmont, Harrison, Jefferson, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan and Noble counties saw none of the federal funding awarded.

Justin Nigro, public affairs and operations director for the Ohio Arts Council, explained that the awards given were predominately marketed to current grantees of operating funds from the council.

“But it’s also been nice to get to know organizations that aren’t already grantees and begin to bring them into the fold,” said Nigro.

The grant funds can be spent on two types of cost categories, he said.

The first is costs related to reopening.

“That’s buying PPE like masks and sanitizer or setting up touchless interfacing,” described Nigro. “That’s also virtual programming costs where we’ve seen some of these organizations take their lessons and programs to a virtual platform.”

The second eligible spend of the federal funds, he explained, is costs incurred which are no longer supported by revenue, including utilities, payroll, rent and mortgage payments.

According to Todd Burge and Hunt Brawley, with the Peoples Bank Theatre in Marietta, this years’ pandemic has long impacted not only payroll but also the cost to keep doors open without ticket revenues due to utility costs.

Burge said he was informed of the funding release Thursday, and plans to meet with Brawley today to discuss use of the $48,200 received by Peoples Bank Theatre.

Nigro said grantees may see their funds as early as December.

“As soon as a grantee accepts their award we begin processing their disbursement,” said Nigro.

Local grantees include:

Washington County

¯ Artsbridge will receive $33,100.

¯ Peoples Bank Theatre will receive $48,200.

Athens County

¯ Athens County Community Singers will receive $14,800.

¯ Athens Photographic Project will receive $23,800.

¯ Factory Street Studio and Moving Parts will receive $25,700.

¯ Ohio Valley Summer Theater will receive $11,300.

¯ Stuart’s Opera House will receive $130,200.

Muskingum County

¯ Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra will receive $19,300.

¯ Zanesville Museum of Art will receive $72,200.

Logan County

¯ Logan County Landmark Preservation will receive $61,900.

¯ Mad River Theater Works will receive $40,000.

The OAC will not retain any dollars for its own overhead or administrative expenses.

“This investment will go a long way in supporting the recovery and resilience of Ohio’s creative economy, which is among the pandemic’s hardest hit sectors,” said Executive Director Donna S. Collins in a release.

CARES Act funds were made available to the OAC through the initiative of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and state legislative leaders and through the approval of the state’s controlling board.

“In this season of thankfulness, I join with the OAC board to express my gratitude to Governor Mike DeWine and leaders of the Ohio General Assembly for investing in Ohio’s performing and cultural arts organizations,” Collins said.

Awards were determined through a tiered, need-based formula that considered each eligible applicant’s budget and reported expenses qualifying under the CARES Act.

“The value of this grant is more significant than ever before because the performing arts were one of the first industries to shut down as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic,” said Chloe Musick in a release for Stuart’s Opera House. “Stuart’s has made all of (its) arts education programs virtual, including (the) Performing Arts Camp … Afterschool Music Program, and … Old Time Music Week.”

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