Ohio Arts Council

The Ohio Arts Council board approved a record $18,479,247 in grants to support Ohio artists, arts and cultural organizations, students, educators and public arts programming July 21.

The funding is a record for OAC and will be awarded in 746 grants to constituents applying to OAC funding programs for fiscal year 2022.

OAC is a state agency that funds and supports arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically. The grants are a step toward accomplishing the agency’s commitment to directly fund the arts in all 88 Ohio counties as it has done for the last six fiscal years, according to a July 22 news release.

The OAC’s grants followed the announcement of a record state appropriation of $40 million for the OAC’s 2022-23 operating budget, the release said. This will mark the most funding the OAC has ever invested into operating support for small organizations via the Arts Access; into arts and cultural projects for newer organizations via ArtSTART; and into innovative arts projects via ArtsNEXT. And, all operating support awards for large- and mid-sized arts organizations will exceed or equal the prior fiscal year.

“We are very grateful to Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and members of the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate for their continued support of public funding for the arts,” said Donna S. Collins, executive director of the OAC, in the release. “This investment will fuel the spirit of innovative resilience that defines Ohio’s arts and cultural sector.”

Awards for the Fund Every County program will increase by $235,000, aiming to ensure greater access and geographic equity in the arts to reach more Ohioans, the release said. The amount invested into projects for culturally diverse organizations, via the Building Cultural Diversity program, will double versus four years ago.

The amount invested into in-school residencies for teaching artists in pre-K-12 schools throughout Ohio will quadruple compared to four years ago, funding $1.4 million via the TeachArtsOhio program compared to $340,000 in fiscal year 2018.

Of those applying for OAC grants, 17% were new applicants to the agency and received funding.

“Throughout the past year and a half, we have been reminded time and time again that the arts are better when we work together,” Collins said in the release. “These grants will support the restoration of arts programming in communities across Ohio, the hiring and rehiring of arts professionals, and the renewed work and livelihoods of artists and arts educators.”

According to the release, OAC grant funding was awarded in the following areas:

Operating support

  • Sustainability: 298 grants totaling $14,382,577. Sustainability supports ongoing arts and cultural activities in all genres. Awards support the largest and most administratively sophisticated organizations in the state’s arts and culture ecosystem. This four-year funding supports a range of the state’s arts providers.
  • Arts Access: 51 grants totaling $179,829. Supports ongoing arts and cultural activities in all genres that broaden opportunities for the general public to participate in the arts. This flexible two-year funding provides general operating support for small organizations.
  • Statewide Arts Service Organizations: Six grants totaling $303,206. SASOs are qualifying organizations that provide statewide professional services to arts and cultural organizations. These organizations often serve as partners to the OAC’s work as they, along with their members or constituents, support the mission to strengthen Ohio communities through the arts. SASOs are eligible to receive OAC support in a way that honors their unique and valuable contributions to Ohio’s arts sector.

Project support

  • ArtSTART: 144 grants totaling $458,387. Provides accessible funding to help organizations complete short-term projects. Most awards support the programming of new or emerging organizations, first-time OAC applicants and organizations in areas not served by other arts providers.
  • ArtsNEXT: 72 grants totaling $770,997. Provides competitive funding for innovative and experimental projects.
  • Ohio Artists on Tour: 18 grants totaling $92,443. Enables Ohio organizations to tap into the creative potential of artists to enrich their programming and the vitality of their communities. This program provides awards in the form of fee support to institutions that present Ohio-based performing artists.

Arts learning

  • Arts Partnership: 81 grants totaling $809,405. Supports arts education projects that address the needs of individual learners and their communities. 
  • TeachArtsOhio: 61 grants totaling $1,430,400. Brings schools and community organizations together with teaching artists to share engaging, personal and high-quality arts learning experiences.

Individual artists

  • Traditional Arts Apprenticeships: 15 grants totaling $52,003. Provide support for master artists to work with apprentices to build understanding and proficiency in folk and traditional art forms. These awards support the teaching and sharing of important cultural traditions.

For more information, visit oac.ohio.gov.

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