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And the Winner Is … A Look at Accolades and Honors Awarded to Ohio's Artists

Ohio artists have been busy this month receiving recognition on the international stage. From Grammy nominations and Oscar wins to prestigious prizes and competitive fellowships, here's a look at some of the accolades and honors awarded to Ohio's creatives and creators.

Akron Artist Selected for International Mosaic Exhibition

Bonnie Cohen’s mosaic, See the Difference, Be the Difference, was recently selected for inclusion in the prestigious 2019 Mosaic Arts International Exhibition. The mosaic is located in Bowling Green State University’s College of Health and Human Services building. Photo courtesy of Bonnie CohenBonnie Cohen’s mosaic, See the Difference, Be the Difference, might be physically affixed to a wall in Bowling Green State University’s College of Health and Human Services building, but its notoriety will soon spread beyond Ohio’s borders.

Cohen, an Akron-based artist, was recently selected for inclusion in the prestigious 2019 Mosaic Arts International Exhibition. Cohen’s mosaic, which was commissioned and funded as part of the Ohio Percent for Art Program, was selected for the architectural and site-specific segment, which features the work of 19 artists from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Brazil. Works in the exhibition are chosen to represent innovative ideas in contemporary design and mastery of technique.

“I was thrilled to be included in this exhibition! I’ve had five other works included (in previous Mosaic Arts International Exhibitions) over the years,” Cohen said, adding that her piece was inspired by the dimensions of wellness studied in the College of Health and Human Services. “These students are studying to be medical professionals, nurses, therapists, and counselors. To have those aspirations for a career path, I know they are already very special people, so I wanted the art to have a sense of inspiration and wellbeing.”

Cohen’s mosaic, as well as the other artists’ work, will be shared through print, video, and digital images at Nashville Public Library Art Gallery through May 19. For more information, visit

Ohio Musicians Make Their Mark at the 2019 Grammy Awards

A Columbus pianist, a Dublin high school band director, a Cleveland orchestra, and a bejeweled piano made up the Ohio contingent at the 61st annual Grammy Awards.

Apollo’s Fire, a baroque orchestra located in Cleveland under the direction of Jeannette Sorrell, won its first Grammy Award for its album “Songs of Orpheus.” Inspired by the Greek myth of Orpheus, a legendary musician, poet, and prophet, the album took home the golden trophy in the “Best Classical Solo Vocal Album” category. Read more about Apollo’s Fire here.

WATCH Apollo's Fire Grammy Award Acceptance Speech:

Video courtesy of Apollo's Fire

Columbus pianist Bobby Floyd was also in attendance at the Recording Academy’s annual event for his work on the album “All About That Basie” performed by the Count Basie Orchestra. The 2018 album was nominated in the “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album” category, marking the orchestra’s 20th Grammy nomination. Hear Floyd talk about preparing for his Grammy experience in this interview.

Named as a finalist for the 2019 Music Educator Award, Dublin Coffman High School band director Jeremy Bradstreet was one of 10 teachers up for this annual honor. Presented by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Museum, the award recognizes educators who have significantly contributed to the field of arts education through their dedication to providing quality music education opportunities in schools. Bradstreet reflects on his Grammy experience in this article.

A final Ohio connection was recently reported by The Cincinnati Enquirer, which found out that the jewel-encrusted piano featured in rapper Cardi B’s Grammy performance has roots in the Buckeye State. Intrigued? Read the whole story here.

Former Governor’s Award Recipient and Artist, Documentary Filmmakers Land National Artist Fellowship

Janice Lessman-Moss at the 2017 Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio luncheon award ceremony. As that year’s award artist, Lessman-Moss, a 2016 Individual Artist Award recipient, created the artwork awarded to the winners. Photo by Terry GilliamIn 2017, the Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio stage was bursting with color courtesy of Janice Lessman-Moss’ vibrant weavings. As the award artist, Lessman-Moss—who had won a Governor’s Award of her own in 2016—was tasked with creating works of art that were awarded to the winners.

Now, the professor of textiles at Kent State University is once again receiving recognition for her work, this time from United States Artists, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago that awards $50,000 fellowship prizes in a variety of disciplines. One of 45 fellows selected this year, Lessman-Moss received the award in the craft category.

“A significant award like this, bestowed on me for doing the work that I am passionate about is an incredible gift! The recognition reveals a validation of my endeavors in digital weaving that is truly gratifying,” said Lessman-Moss in a media release posted on Kent State’s website. “I hope to use the generous financial reward to further my artistic goals and honor the United States Artists for their confidence in my work.”

Two Yellow Springs documentary filmmakers, Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, were also awarded a fellowship in the film category.

View a complete list of 2019 United States Artists fellows here.

Columbus Author Elissa Washuta Receives Creative Capital Award for White Magic

Elissa Washuta is a woman of many talents and titles: author of two books, writer of personal essays, member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, and assistant professor of English at the Ohio State University—just to name a few. Now, she can also add “Creative Capital Awardee” to her list.

Washuta was chosen as a recipient of a 2019 Creative Capital Award for White Magic, an in-progress personal essay collection that details her journey of becoming a powerful witch while touching on the themes of heartbreak, spirituality, and honored cultural traditions.

This year, the Creative Capital class of awardees includes 50 projects by 58 individuals. Each project will receive $50,000 in project funding. Additionally, the artists whose work was selected receive an additional $50,000 in career development services and support.

Learn more about the Creative Capital awards here, and get to know Washuta and her work at

Fiber Artist Nancy Crow Recognized as a Master in Her Medium

Iterations #6 by Nancy Crow. 22.25” x 28”. 2019 © Nancy Crow. (Photo © Nancy Crow)Lifelong Ohio resident and quilt-making artist Nancy Crow of Baltimore, Ohio, has been recognized as a master in her preferred medium by the James Renwick Alliance. 

One of five artists selected for this honor, Crow's accomplishments will be celebrated during the Alliance's Spring Craft Weekend in Washington, D.C., April 26-28. An independent nonprofit, the James Renwick Alliance aims to celebrate America's craft artists through scholarship, education, and public programming. The Masters of the Medium awards "recognize artists for excellence of their body of work in the five craft areas of ceramics, fiber, glass, metal, and wood," according to the Alliance website.

The award is yet another impressive addition to Crow's already decorated resume. In addition to receiving a variety of individual artist grants and fellowships awarded by the Ohio Arts Council, Crow is an inductee to the Quilters Hall of Fame in Indianapolis, Indiana, and an American Craft Council fellow. Her work has been included in the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery and New York City's Museum of American Folk Art, among others, and her quilts have appeared on the covers of two of Maya Angelou's books.

Learn more about Crow at

Centerville-born Production Designer, Kenyon Student Win Big at the Academy Awards

Even before Hannah Beachler’s name was called out at the 91st Academy Awards, the Centerville native and Wright State University alumna had already had a history-making night. As the first black person to be nominated in the category of “Best Production Design,” Beachler later became the first African-American to win the category when she took home the Oscar for her work on “Black Panther.”

Beachler graduated with a bachelor’s degree in film from Wright State in 2005 and also previously attended the University of Cincinnati, where she studied fashion design. Throughout her career, she has worked on a variety of high-profile projects, including the Oscar and Golden Globe Award-winning film “Moonlight” and Beyoncé’s Grammy Award-winning visual album, “Lemonade.”

WATCH Hannah Beachler's Award Acceptance Speech:


Video by Oscars

A Kenyon College sophomore was also among the winners at the Oscars this year. Ruby Schiff, a psychology major from Studio City, California, appeared on stage with other members of her production team to accept the award for “Best Documentary (Short Subject).”

Schiff served as an executive producer for “Period. End of Sentence,” a 26-minute documentary that discusses the stigma surrounding menstruation and how this pervasive prejudice adversely affects young women’s lives in a rural Indian village.

Schiff recently spoke to Kenyon College about her work on the project in an interview, which can be read here.

WATCH "Period. End of Sentence" Award Acceptance Speech:


Video by Oscars

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


Article by Amanda Etchison, Communications Strategist
Featured ​photo by analogicus on Pixabay
Article updated on 3/5/19 to include information about Nancy Crow's Masters of the Medium award

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