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A marquee outside of the Sandusky State Theatre

A New Fiscal Year and Our Resolve Remains Strong

We’re just a couple of months into the new fiscal year, and your Ohio Arts Council remains focused on its mission—to fund and support quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. As Ohio’s arts and cultural economy recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have heard from many of you through surveys, conversations, and other means. You’ve shared with us plenty of news—about your successful return to in-person programming, hiring or re-hiring of professional staff, and your focus on the future. We’ve also seen that audiences are returning, revenues are strengthening, and budgetary pressures are subsiding—due both to your ongoing ingenuity and hard work, as well as to the massive economic relief efforts at the federal, state, and local levels. We appreciate that the arts have been recognized and lauded as economic drivers worthy of financial investment through the State of Ohio; National Endowment for the Arts; Arts Midwest; and cities, towns, and villages across the state.

As always, we are here to speed your recovery. For our part, we began distributing grant dollars this month through automatic partial payments to our operating support grantees in Sustainability and Arts Access. This is an extension of our practice, undertaken in FY 2020 and FY 2021, to aid with lingering cash flow issues and support your on-going work earlier in the grant cycle. In fact, this year automatic partial payments will be 75 percent of each operating grant award. As most of you already know, partial payments are typically awarded only upon request, but by taking this action, the OAC will again quickly inject significant funding directly into hundreds of arts and cultural organizations around the state—this year nearly $11 million—which can then be put immediately to work within the Ohio economy.

In other funding news, the OAC Board approved the new, two-part Arts Resiliency Initiative (ARI). This exciting initiative provides two different kinds of one-time grant support for nonprofit organizations. The first part seeks to fund nonprofit organizations who will employ Ohio artists in completing local projects with a strong community planning component (ARI Community Project Awards). Organizations—even those currently being supported by other OAC grants—can submit a letter of interest (LOI) to apply for this initiative between now and November 1, 2021. If your organization is planning to use Ohio artists to complete a local project that will improve your community, this could be for you! Click here for more information on the program.

What about arts organizations who aren’t OAC grantees? In the second part of the initiative (ARI General Operating Awards), awards will be made to nonprofit organizations of all sizes and in all genres who are in the process of recovering from the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic but who have not yet been reached by recent state and federal pandemic relief. ARI General Operating Awards will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, with the initiative opening in mid-October. If your organization is not a current OAC grantee but you have upcoming programming that could use $2,000 to $5,000 of extra, no-match support, this could be for you. Watch our website at for more information on this upcoming opportunity.

Our resolve remains as strong as yours. We will continue funding the state’s non-profit arts organizations, artists, and new applicants through panel review and board approval. We thank you for your commitment to the arts and your unwavering determination to serve your community through artistic excellence and creative engagement—as artists, arts administrators, board members, volunteers, ticket buyers, or subscribers. As always, the arts are better when we work together.   

Until next time,

Donna Collins signature


Donna S. Collins
Executive Director

Featured photo: A photo of the marquee at the Sandusky State Theatre featuring a quote from the musical "Finding Neverland." (Photo courtesy of the Sandusky State Theatre)

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