Ohio Arts Council Engagement Tour

by Molly Rutledge

Donna, Janelle and Ken with Gallery Coordinator Tess Cortes at the Robert and Elaine Stein Gallery at Wright State University

Donna, Janelle, and Ken with Gallery Coordinator Tess Cortes at the Robert and Elaine Stein Gallery at Wright State University

This past November, teams of the Ohio Arts Council’s (OAC) staff hit the road and immersed themselves in the Ohio arts landscape. They traveled to the studios, stages, and classrooms of arts organizations across the state to personally meet and engage with constituents, arts leaders, and community members during the 2014 Fall Engagement Tour. Executive Director Donna Collins and Deputy Director Dan Katona both traveled to each of the four destinations accompanied by a rotation of OAC staff members. The team spent each day visiting a variety of destinations that make up each area’s greater arts community. During these stops, they met with the organizations’ staff, toured facilities, and witnessed art-making in action.

OAC Board member Jane Foulk welcomes folks to the engagement event at the Tecumseh Theater in Shawnee

OAC Board member Jane Foulk welcomes participants to the engagement event at the Tecumseh Theater in Shawnee

Evening public gatherings provided the greater arts community the opportunity to share visions, make suggestions, and engage in conversation. The evening engagements also included fun and informative Pecha Kucha-style presentations from the community’s artists and arts leaders. The Engagement Tour was designed to provide the agency with a better understanding of a broad range of Ohioans’ needs, including communities that have traditionally been underserved by OAC’s public funding. The team ventured to urban and rural Ohio including stops in Dayton, Shawnee, Canton, Piqua, and their surrounding areas.

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Brianna and Donna with gallery owner Tiffany Marsh and artist Pach Atomz at Bliss Art Studio and Gallery in Canton

Brianna and Donna with gallery owner Tiffany Marsh and artist Pach Atomz at Bliss Art Studio and Gallery in Canton

During the 2014 Fall Engagement Tour, the OAC staff interacted one-on-one with the people behind the art, performances, and projects. Many participants discussed personal visions for their communities. In Canton, for example, artist Pach Atomz shared his plans to invest in northeast Canton. Through Bliss Arts Studio’s projects, including a mural series, Atomz hopes to strengthen and improve a neighborhood through the transformative power of the arts. Some of the Engagement Tour destinations, like the Raise the Roof Arts/Sidney Historical Theatre in Sidney, do not currently receive funding from the OAC. While the team toured the facility, Raise the Roof Arts Executive Director Sarah Barr discussed the group’s current capital campaign, creative partnerships, and funding sources they use to supplement the ongoing theatre renovation project. These new relationships and conversations spread awareness about OAC funding to possible future constituents, and the OAC learned more about the current funding strategies and attitudes of arts organizations.

Donna and resident artist Mike Major at the Champaign County Arts Council in Urbana

Donna and artist Mike Major at the Champaign County Arts Council in Urbana

Staff will continue to cultivate these personal relationships and goals. Thanks to the Engagement Tour, the OAC became more actively engaged with communities throughout Ohio, and a wonderful dialogue began that will continue into 2015 and beyond. As a whole, communities were enthusiastic to learn and discuss the agency’s plans for the future. Audience member and presenter Tim Peacock, executive director of Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville, said during the evening engagement in Shawnee, “The OAC has been extremely supportive of my artistic endeavors, and I am very appreciative of what they provide for the Ohio arts community. I know everyone at the meeting really valued the opportunity to provide feedback. It was comforting to know the OAC is not making change for change’s sake.”  Many important desired changes were voiced, but the most common requests from the Engagement Tour included a simplified OAC grants system, an improved user-friendly website, more interaction with the OAC team in the field, and more data readily available about the arts regionally and statewide. The Ohio arts community validated the OAC’s current vision for the future of the agency and its constituents.

What’s Next

 The OAC has already started planning, and in some cases started implementing, many of the changes the community said they would like to see. OAC Constituent Investment/Grants Associate Janelle Hallett reflected, “The feedback we received very closely aligns with the OAC’s vision and changes for the future. I’m confident that where we are going is exactly what the Ohio arts community wants and needs.”

Technology The OAC was among the first state arts agencies to create an online grants system. Aligning with our history of successfully advancing with changing technologies, a new OAC grants system will be launched after the current grant season.“The new system will allow for online support material uploads, intuitive navigation, stronger data security, and improved mobile access,” said Deputy Director Dan Katona. “It will create a more streamlined and positive application experience.” In addition, new, user-friendly OAC website is in the early stages of planning and development.

Constituent Relations The fall Engagement Tour marks the first of many constituent visits across the state. The staff now works on an 80-10-10 model of time management: 80% will go into constituent-based work, 10% into professional development, and 10% into interacting in the field. Statewide visits will resume next year and will continue to give “a face” to the OAC.

Strategic Plan The 2015-2017 Strategic Plan for the OAC is underway and will reflect the voices of every Ohio arts community thanks in part to the visits, experiences, and conversations during the Engagement Tour. The plan will also include valuable data about the arts in Ohio which will be readily available to the public.

The 2014 Fall Engagement Tour gave the OAC team the tools to continue to be an active, diverse, thoughtful, and inclusive partner in the Ohio arts community. Most importantly, the OAC promises to continue the conversation. We hope you will too. An album of photos from the tour is available here.


Engagement Destinations at-a-glance

Dayton, November 17

OAC representatives

  • Donna Collins, Executive Director
  • Dan Katona, Deputy Director
  • Ken Emerick, Individual Artists/Percent for Art Director
  • Janelle Hallett, Constituent Investment/Grant Associate

Daytime engagement meetings

  • Wright State University’s Robert & Elaine Stein Galleries
  • Human Race Theatre Company
  • Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center
  • Downtown Dayton Partnership
  • CultureWorks
  • K12 Gallery for Young People
  • Dayton Visual Arts Center

Evening engagement

  • Where: University of Dayton River Campus
  • Hosts: OAC board members Sharon Howard and Jon Holt
  • Presenters:  Previous Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio winners Bing Davis, Neal Gittleman, and Michael Lippert

Shawnee, November 18

OAC representatives

  • Donna Collins, Executive Director
  • Dan Katona, Deputy Director
  • Kathy Signorino, Individual Artists/Percent for Art/Traditional Arts Apprenticeships Program Coordinator
  • Kim Turner, Constituent Investment/Grants Associate/ADA 504 Coordinator

Daytime engagement meetings

  • Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, Lancaster
  • Pioneer School, Zanesville
  • Zanesville Museum of Art
  • Muskingum County Community Foundation (MCCF), Zanesville

Organizations came together at MCCF and included representatives from:

  • Powerhouse of Southeastern Ohio, Inc.
  • Pioneer School
  • Artist Colony of Zanesville
  • Zanesville Prize for Contemporary Ceramics
  • Ohio Hill County Heritage Area Civic Tourism

Evening engagement

  • Where: Tecumseh Theater, Shawnee
  • Host: OAC board member Jane Foulk
  • Presenters: Stuart’s Opera House Executive Director Tim Peacock, Zanesville Prize for Contemporary Ceramics organizer Susan Gottlieb, and Michelle Ruskin-Robinson, Ohio Hill County Heritage Area Civic Tourism

Canton, November 21

OAC representatives

  • Donna Collins, Executive Director
  • Dan Katona, Deputy Director
  • Brianna Dance, Eastern Region Organizational Investment Coordinator
  • Justin Nigro, Executive Assistant/Leadership Liaison

Daytime engagement meetings

  • Just Imagine! at the Stark County Board of Development and Disabilities
  • Second April Galerie & Studios
  • Bliss Art Studio
  • Players Guild Theatre
  • Canton Museum of Art
  • Canton Symphony Orchestra

Evening engagement

  • Where: Cultural Center for the Arts
  • Host: OAC board member Robb Hankins
  • Presenters: Executive Director of the Akron Area Arts Alliance Toby Ann Weber, The Troll Hole Owner Sherry Groom, and artist Michele Waalkes

Piqua, November 25

OAC representatives

  • Donna Collins, Executive Director
  • Dan Katona, Deputy Director
  • Dia Foley, Constituent Investment/Grants Office Director
  • Jim Szekacs, Western Region Organizational Investment Coordinator

Daytime engagement meetings

  • Campaign County Art Council
  • Piqua Arts Council
  • Piqua Public Library
  • Troy-Hayner Cultural Arts Center
  • Raise the Roof Arts at the Sidney Historical Theatre

Evening engagement

  • Where: Edison Community College
  • Host: OAC board member Darryl Mehaffie
  • Presenters: Darke County Center for the Arts Executive Director Andrea Jordan and Artistic Director Keith Rawlins, Piqua Arts Council Executive Director Jordan Knepper, Raise the Roof for the Arts Executive Director Sarah Barr

2014 Engagement Tour: Ohio Family Album

Dayton, November 17, 2014

Donna, Ken and Janelle brave the wintry weather at Wright State University

Donna, Ken, and Janelle brave the wintry weather at Wright State University

Donna, Janelle and Ken with Gallery Coordinator Tess Cortes at the Robert and Elaine Stein Gallery at Wright State University

Donna, Janelle, and Ken with Gallery Coordinator Tess Cortes at the Robert and Elaine Stein Gallery at Wright State University

Donna and Ken at the Human Race Theatre Company with Executive Producer Tara Lail

Donna and Ken at the Human Race Theatre Company with Executive Producer Tara Lail

Behind the scenes at Dayton's Schuster Center with Victoria Theatre Association Executive Director Ken Neifeld

Behind the scenes at Dayton’s Schuster Center with Victoria Theatre Association Executive Director Ken Neufeld

Ken and Donna talk with K12 Gallery for Young PeopleFounder and Executive Director Jeri Stanard in Dayton

Ken and Donna talk with K12 Gallery for Young People Founder and Executive Director Jeri Stanard in Dayton

Shawnee, November 19, 2014

Teaching facility at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio with Susan Talbot-Stanaway and teaching artist

Teaching facility at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio in Lancaster with Susan Talbot-Stanaway and teaching artist

Kim, Kathy, and Donna join Arthur Ketner for a tour of the Pioneer School in Zanesville

Kim, Kathy, and Donna join Arthur Ketner for a tour of the Pioneer School in Zanesville

Kathy and Donna with Arthur Ketner at the Pioneer School in Zanesville

Kathy and Donna with Arthur Ketner at the Pioneer School in Zanesville

At the Zanesville Museum of Art with Executive Director Laine Snyder

At the Zanesville Museum of Art with Executive Director Laine Snyder

Donna and Kathy view the pottery collection at the Zanesville Museum of Art

Donna and Kathy view the pottery collection at the Zanesville Museum of Art

OAC Board member Jane Foulk welcomes folks to the engagement event at the Tecumseh Theater in Shawnee

OAC Board member Jane Foulk welcomes participants to the engagement event at the Tecumseh Theater in Shawnee

Canton, November 24, 2014

Visiting the Just Imagine! program at Stark Co. Board of Developmental Disabilities

Just Imagine! program coordinator Therese Heitkamp introduces Donna to artists at Stark Co. Board of Developmental Disabilities in Canton

2nd April Galerie and Studios owner Todd Walburn with Donna and Brianna

Second April Galerie and Studios owner Todd Walburn with Donna and Brianna in Canton

Brianna, Justin, and Donna with Ohio Citizens for the Arts Legislative Counsel Bill Blair in Canton

Brianna, Justin, and Donna with Ohio Citizens for the Arts Legislative Counsel Bill Blair at the Cultural Center for the Arts in Canton

Behind the scenes at the Canton Museum of Art with Executive Director Max Barton

Brianna, Donna, and Justin behind the scenes at the Canton Museum of Art with Executive Director Max Barton

Brianna and Donna with gallery owner Tiffany Marsh and artist Pach Atomz at Bliss Art Studio and Gallery in Canton

Brianna and Donna with gallery owner Tiffany Marsh and artist Pach Atomz at Bliss Art Studio and Gallery in Canton

Piqua, November 25, 2014

Donna and resident artist Mike Major at the Champaign County Arts Council in Urbana

Donna and artist Mike Major at the Champaign County Arts Council in Urbana

Jim, Donna, and Dia with Piqua Arts Council Executive Director Jordan Knepper

Jim, Donna, and Dia with Piqua Arts Council Executive Director Jordan Knepper

Dia, Donna, and Jim with Piqua Public Library's Jim Oda

Dia, Donna, and Jim with Piqua Public Library’s Jim Oda

Dan and Donna at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center in Troy

Dan and Donna at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center in Troy

Sweet Dreams!

Sweet Dreams-until we meet again!

Riffe Gallery News: December

By Molly Rutledge

Riffe Gallery Opening November-028 (1)

Artists featured in “The Urban Landscape” at the opening reception.

The Urban Landscape: A Tale of Grandeur and Abandonment opened at the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery on November 6. Curated by Christine Fowler Shearer, the exhibition features the work of 16 Ohio artists depicting various urban surroundings. From the Cleveland skyline, to the streets of Columbus, to endless concrete fields –there is surely an urban experience that will resonate with you. The exhibition will be on display until January 11, 2015.

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Poet Ray McNiece performing in the Riffe Gallery on November 6.

Riffe Gallery events highlighting the exhibition include a poetry reading and open mic session, as well as a family workshop.

On the evening of November 20, northeast Ohio poet, performer, and musician Ray McNiece gave an energetic performance that included singing, drumming, and poetry. An open mic followed McNiece’s performance where many audience members recited their own original poetry.

The Urban Landscape artist, Athens-based painter, and Ohio University Professor Emeritus Ron Kroutel led a free family workshop on December 7. Children and adults enjoyed a positive experience exploring negative space in the art of subtractive drawing using photos, memory, and objects all around us as inspiration. Learn more about Ron Kroutel in this Artist Spotlight.

Robert King, “Two Women on a Beach,” 1940, 22 x 28, Water medium.

The Riffe Gallery’s next exhibition will pay tribute to the Ohio Arts Council’s 50th anniversary in a special celebratory showcase: A Century of Ohio Watercolor, running January 29 through April 15, 2015. Curated by Southern Ohio Museum (Portsmouth) Artistic Director Charlotte Gordon, the exhibition will span the years 1915 – 2015 and display more than 45 Ohio artists working in the versatile medium of watercolor.

Please visit riffegallery.org for upcoming event information.

For more information, visit riffegallery.org or contact Riffe Gallery Director Mary Gray at 614/728-2239.

Photo credits: Kayleigh Kuhlman (Opening Reception), Mary Gray (Ray McNiece).  

 

Ron Kroutel

Artist Spotlight: Ron Kroutel

by Molly Rutledge

Ohio University Professor Emeritus, Ohio Arts Council Fellowship recipient, and Arts Midwest National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Fellow, Ron Kroutel, redefines the urban landscape in his surreal paintings.

painting = Pink House

Pink House (pictured, left), along with Green Wall and Old House/Factories, are on display, along with 60 other works by 15 Ohio artists, in the Ohio Arts Council’s (OAC) Riffe Gallery exhibition The Urban Landscape: A Tale of Grandeur and Abandonment through January 11, 2015.

Kroutel’s pieces at the Riffe Gallery are from a landscape painting series that one of his OAC fellowships helped support.

The series features images of comfortable modern life juxtaposed with dark, austere, and threatening environments. Melancholy symbols of suburbia blended with intimidating images of a menacing tree branch or a dominating cityscape, for example, produce a dark and ominous effect. Kroutel says he paints this way because “depressing art makes me happy.”

While his work is powerfully dark, it is surprisingly playful. Desolate intertwining highways dominate a familiar suburban home in Pink House, yet the home is gleefully pink. Kroutel’s work conveys a mood that lures in viewers then injects them with a realization of familiarity and understanding of place. While the artist’s interpretation of the urban landscape is ominous, surreal, and even detached, it is also hauntingly realistic and familiar.

Some of the images are drawn from views that are very close to home. In Pink House, the interlacing freeways in the background are views from the Arena District in Columbus, and the pink house is from a suburban Athens neighborhood—both common subjects Kroutel sketched exhaustively.  Back in the studio, he uses a natural and intuitive process, beginning his paintings with multiple sketches of his surroundings. “I like to take something common and somehow transform it,” he says, explaining that he never expects or plans for his sketches to share a canvas until he returns to the studio.

Kroutel’s artistic influences are diverse and wide-ranging. While he sometimes draws and paints literal places around him, he is also greatly influenced by his past and history. He cites Chicago, where he grew up and attended college at The Chicago Art Institute, as a large influence to his work. His parents are from the Czech Republic, and having grown up among mostly immigrants and first-generation Americans makes him feel “connected to a long history.” He also found teaching extremely important to his work. “Being around young people, you can keep up with current attitudes and learn about different styles, artists, and ways of thinking,” he says.

Retired after over 30 years, Kroutel still stays involved at Ohio University by teaching a London study abroad program in the summer.  Reflecting on his teaching days, he says, “It’s still not the same [as teaching full time], but it’s always a real pleasure to share knowledge about things you love.”

For more information about The Urban Landscape, visit the Riffe Gallery website. To learn more about Ron Kroutel, visit his website.

2015 Ohio Arts Festivals and Competitions Directory

by Molly Rutledge

98dc3448-fe66-4669-bf39-434f91887156The Ohio Arts Council’s Ohio Arts Festivals and Competitions Directory is the most comprehensive guide to arts and crafts festivals in the stateFind places to display and sell artwork, discover new opportunities in the arts and crafts, meet other artists and art appreciators, and support local artists by purchasing art. Please take advantage of this free resource guide to the arts in Ohio.

The 2015 edition of the directory will be available this January in print and as an online PDF. If you would like a hard copy of the directory, please email us at OAC.publicinformatio@oac.state.oh.us and include “2015 Directory” in the subject line, or you can send a self-addressed envelope to:

Attn: 2015 Festivals Directory
Ohio Arts Council
30 East Broad Street, 33rd Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3414

Visit our website for more information about the Ohio Arts Festivals and Competitions Directory and to view the current edition.

Message from the Executive Director

OAC Executive Director Donna S. Collins

Wondering what life is like at the Ohio Arts Council? Let me tell you … every single day is wrapped around the artists and arts organizations we serve. From the “quick question” phone calls, to an exhibition opening or performance, it’s clear that the arts are alive and well in Ohio. As a sector of creative beings we understand the value of success and positive momentum. We can work hard and live fully because our passion for innovation and inspired living through the arts is our primary driver!

On the third Friday of each month this fall, we hosted “office hours” at the Ohio Arts Council located in the Rhodes Tower in Columbus. I was privileged to meet with wonderful people from around the state. A few of the folks who visited include: Julie Woffington, Jim Palmarini, and Marion Combs from the Educational Theatre Association; Errick Freeman, aka Pach Atomz, a uniquely creative pyrographic artist from Canton; Laurie Lathan from Columbus Children’s Theatre; and Tim Tavcar, artist and director of WordStage in Cleveland. I also had the opportunity to visit with Elaine Grogan Luttrull, author of Arts & Numbers; Neenah Ellis and Luke Dennis from 91.3 WYSO in Yellow Springs; and David Mitzel and Susan Gottlieb representing the Zanesville Prize for Contemporary Ceramics.

A trip to Cleveland to visit with the Volunteer Council of The Cleveland Orchestra, led by President Faye Heston, was wonderful and included an additional opportunity to meet with staff members Jon Limbacher, Erin Gay, Dan Coleman, and Joan Katz Napoli. Another highlight was participating in meetings with Dr. Jane Chu, Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, during her first visit to Ohio. Fall was a great season of engagement! We are looking forward to more “office hours” in January; I hope to see you.

We would also like to give special thanks to the 5,782 people, representing every county in the state, who responded to the OAC Public Opinion Survey! We are thrilled to have such an overwhelming response and to hear your ideas and opinions about what’s needed for the arts and cultural sector in Ohio. Stay tuned for the analysis of the information as we move through our strategic visioning process.

We have concluded our fall “Engagement Tour,” with events in Dayton, Shawnee, Canton, and Piqua. Several hundred individuals met with us and shared their vision for the arts in Ohio. Most striking was the heartfelt generosity from every person we met. All of us agreed that Ohio is a creative state and the goal is simple: We intend on making every dollar appropriated to the Ohio Arts Council for arts and culture an investment with a significant return. Together we are innovators and investors in Ohio today for the best tomorrow.

Until next time,

Donna

Donna S. Collins
Executive Director

News from the NEA

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The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has selected Ann Meier Baker as its new director of music and opera, effective January 12, 2015. She will lead NEA grantmaking in music and opera, as well as the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships, and represent the agency to the field.

The Ohio Arts Council’s 2003 Ohio Heritage Award recipient, Carolyn Mazloomi, is featured in NEA Arts for her 2014 Bess Lomax Hawes NEA National Heritage Fellowship for advocacy in the folk and traditional arts.

The multiplatform convening, Beyond the Building: Performing Arts and Transforming Place, was presented as a live webcast on Monday, November 3. During the webcast, arts leaders examined how performance-based organizations, and the artists they engage, transform places through their artistic practices. View the archived webinar here.

America’s public schools instruct more than four million students who are English language learners. How can arts learning help these “emerging bilinguals” learn English and flourish in school? Find out in the latest webinar from the NEA Task Force on the Arts and Human Development.

In its first fiscal year 2015 announcement, the NEA awards $29.1 million in 1,116 grants in three categories: Art Works, Challenge America, and NEA Literature Fellowships in Creative Writing. Of these grants, $552,000 was awarded to 23 Ohio artists and arts organizations.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to strengthen the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.

Meet the Staff: Justin Nigro

SC1839-OAC-Janelle Hallet and Justin Nigro-10-17-14-Justin Nigro-020

In September, the Ohio Arts Council welcomed its newest staff member, Justin Nigro, as the agency’s executive assistant and leadership liaison. Justin brings a variety of skills to the OAC, including extensive experience in state government and a strong background in finance and budgeting–extremely useful qualities in meeting the needs of arts constituents.

His professional life has centered on public service. Justin began his career in the Ohio Senate as a Legislative Service Commission Fellow, later becoming a legislative aide to a Cleveland-area senator. He then joined the staff of the Ohio Treasurer’s Office, administering an award-winning small business assistance program, before serving the Ohio Attorney General as a legislative liaison. Justin returned to the Ohio Senate as the minority finance director in 2009, where he performed fiscal and policy analysis and advised elected officials on the state budget and economic matters.

In 2012, Justin and his wife, Brittany, moved to Chicago, where he worked on public pension issues while Brittany completed graduate school, before returning to Columbus this summer.

“I’m always excited about the day in front of me and feel fortunate to work in a supportive, friendly atmosphere,” Justin said about his new role at the OAC. “Our efforts to fund and support the great work done by artists and arts organizations throughout Ohio is both energizing and gratifying.”

Executive Director Donna Collins said, “It is an honor to welcome Justin to the Ohio Arts Council. He is bright, dedicated, and a delight to work alongside–no matter how complex the task at hand. The wealth and breadth of his knowledge will serve our state’s arts community and citizens well. Whether the project involves administration, budgeting, communications, or relationship-building, Justin has already demonstrated a deep passion for the arts in Ohio and a mastery of the issues arts leaders face.”

Originally from Ashtabula, Ohio, Justin earned a B.A. with honors and distinction in international relations and political science from Miami University in 2006. His lifelong interest in the arts began with writing and acting and has grown to include painting.

“Having creative outlets has always been an important part of my life and personal development,” Justin concluded, “so I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to help more Ohioans access, experience, and create art.”

Artful Aging Ohio

Cheryl Vassiliadis

by Missy Ricksecker

Pablo Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” Recent scientific research gives this axiom tangible meaning for older adults by demonstrating that involvement in creative pursuits has a positive effect on physical health, mental health, and social functioning as a person ages, regardless of their ability (Arts and Aging Toolkit, Chapter 2).

The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) recognizes the power of creation as a transformational experience for the men and women who participate in the arts as older adults. The agency’s new Artful Aging Ohio (AAO) initiative was created to connect senior adults with teaching artists to learn about the arts and engage in hands-on art making. The National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) was a catalyst for this statewide effort; Ohio is one of 13 states invited by the NCCA to form a community of practice to explore ways to strengthen the presence of the arts in the lives of senior adults.

“This programming answers the call to be a part of redefining our latter years as adults as a time of endless opportunities and heightened creative productivity,” said OAC Arts Learning Coordinator Chiquita Mullins Lee. To launch this investment in lifelong learning in the arts in Ohio, an AAO team comprised of gifted professionals who share a passion for working with senior populations has been assembled. Team members include Stacia Davis-Moore, who will conduct research on the effectiveness of art making by seniors; Goldean Gibbs, who has extensive experience in education; and OAC roster artist Patty Mitchell, who brings a wealth of artistic talent and experience as a resident artist in diverse settings, including those serving senior adults.

First Steps
  • The AAO team has designed a pilot artist residency program in five Ohio regions: central, southeast, southwest, northeast, and northwest. The first pilot residency began on December 1 in Athens at The Laurels, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center. OAC resident artist Patty Mitchell is leading a Winter Wonderland-themed group art project. The finished work will be on display at The Laurels with a public reception on December 16.

Organizations with large senior adult populations and current OAC roster artists interested in leading an AAO residency should contact Goldean Gibbs for more information. (Artists not on the OAC artist roster must first apply for the OAC’s Artist in Residence program and should contact Chiquita Mullins Lee.)

  • The OAC recently awarded a grant to the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging (BRIA) in Cleveland. BRIA is dedicated to addressing the important issues of aging, and the grant will support their efforts to train teaching artists to work with senior adults.

In the future, AAO hopes to create a comprehensive network of senior service agencies. The team is currently in various stages of developing partnerships/programs with Beautiful Minds, the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, and the NCAA.

“The benefits go beyond providing positive results for older individuals right now,” said OAC Executive Director Donna Collins. “Engaging older adults through arts and aging programs creates lasting benefits for the entire community. Ohioans of all ages benefit when the arts serve as a bridge to foster communication across generations, income, abilities, and cultures.”

Photos courtesy of the National Center for Creative Aging

Ohio Museums Feature Art-based Book Clubs

by Kayleigh Kuhlman

Attending a book club event is a great way to celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month in Ohio. Art museums in Columbus, Akron, Cleveland, Toledo, and Cincinnati offer book clubs; most focus directly on art or artists as the main element. The Columbus Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art will be hosting discussions in October. The Akron Art Museum, Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art, and the Toledo Museum of Art will hold book club meetings in November.

The Columbus Museum of Art’s Art Book Club is in its 10th year. The first year of the program saw outstanding success, with sold-out crowds when the event featured The Da Vinci Code, according to Nancy Turner, the museum’s director of community relations. More recently the book club featured Monuments Men, which sold out twice. The program starts with a presentation by the museum’s Executive Director Nannette Maciejunes. The presentation includes a discussion of the characters, the art related to the book, and examples of work by the artist featured in the book. A group discussion follows, and occasionally the author of the featured book is available for further discussion via Skype. The featured October novel will be Mary Coin, a book inspired on the iconic photo Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange, and gatherings will be held on October 23 and 26. Admission for the event is free for members of the museum and $5 for non-members. For more information and to register, please visit the event page on the museum’s website.

The Cleveland Museum of Art’s featured October book, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, is also based on a photo, Brassaï’s Lesbian Couple at Le Monocle, 1932. Cleveland’s book club is split over three days, October 15, 22, and 29, and includes a lecture, discussion, and a chance to see the photograph that inspired the novel in the exhibition Forbidden Games: Surrealist and Modernist Photography. Tickets are $40 for non-members and $30 for museum members. For more information on how to register, visit the Art and Fiction Book Club page on the museum’s website.