Ohio Arts Council approves grants

Investment in Southeast Ohio continues as the Ohio Arts Council announced recent funding awards and Marietta City Council discusses investment of federal recovery funds.

The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) board approved $18,479,247 in grants to support Ohio artists, arts and cultural organizations, students, educators, and public arts programming when it met on July 21 for its summer board meeting.

This marked the largest amount of grant dollars distributed to constituents applying to OAC funding programs in the agency’s history.

The 746 grants approved at the meeting constitute the initial and major state fiscal year 2022 funding round for the OAC.

Among the 56 grant recipients in Southeast Ohio were artists and arts organizations in Athens, Belmont, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Hocking, Jackson, Monroe, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Tuscarawas and Washington counties.

Morgan County did not see funding in this awards cycle, but is still a target for the council’s Fund Every County initiative, according to Justin Nigro, operations and public affairs director for the state agency.

In Washington County, four recipients were named; in Monroe County, River High School will see continued benefit from the 40-day residency of local artist Rick Morgan ($12,000); and in Noble County, the Noble County Chamber of Commerce saw support for its Appalachian Foothills Fall Festival scheduled again to run Sept. 18-19 this year($2,450).

“It’s a festival that celebrates the heritage of the county’s origins, its Appalachian heritage through live demos of demonstrations, music plays with craft vendors,” Nigro described.

But the selling point as noted in panel comments about the application, he said, were an appreciation for the historical connections, success measurement structures, proof of local income support and the venue’s handicap accessibility.

Washington County recipients included Artsbridge and the Hippodrome Colony Historical Theatre Association (Peoples Bank Theatre) for sustainability funding which Nigro explained is on a four-year cycle with both organizations ($18,234 to the theater and $12,330 to Artsbridge).

Amanda Stevens, executive director of Artsbridge, explained the aid the funding will do for the organization that spans both sides of the Ohio River. She said sustainability funding helps as a stop-gap while the organization reviews which programs did well and which suffered during the pandemic.

Two new fund recipients of the ArtSTART programming with the Ohio Arts Council also saw smaller investments from the state agency in Marietta.

The Ely Chapman Education Foundation was awarded $3,180 to work on restoration of the interior wall mural and the “Living Rivers Water Display” during summer camp this year by engaging local artist Geoff Schenkel to work with students in the process.

“The panel was excited about the way that students would be engaged in the process and the sensible budget,” said Nigro.

Marietta Main Street was also awarded mural funding ($1,514) with artists scheduled to gather after the Marietta Noon Rotary Club primes the tunnel beneath the Putnam Street Bridge on the eastern side of the Muskingum River next week.

The downtown nonprofit’s executive director, Cristie Thomas explained that the goal is to then have artists painting in the tunnel between Aug. 9 and 13.

Thomas also appeared before Marietta City Council’s Finance Committee on Monday to ask the three legislators present to consider the downtown when identifying priorities for separate federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“We try to curate art that’s local to us,” said Thomas to three voting members of council during Finance Commmittee when prefacing a proposal that the city prioritize ARPA funding with a $250,000 allotment to the Enrich Marietta initiative that started with Community Development Block Grant investment from the city legislators.

Finance Chairman Mike Scales noted the requests and priorities would be reviewed first by council before additional discussion and questions.

See detailed review of the request and that of the Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau in future edutions of the Times before the legislators are expected to review legislation next week.

Janelle Patterson may be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com


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