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Ohio Artists Receive Individual Excellence Awards for Work in Literary Arts, Choreography, and Music Composition

Members of the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) board’s Executive Committee met Tuesday and approved $375,000 in grant funding to be awarded to 75 Ohio artists through the OAC’s Individual Excellence Awards program.

Individual Excellence Awards are peer recognition of a creative artist’s body of work that exemplifies their specific discipline and advances the larger artistic community. These awards support artists' growth and development and recognize their work in Ohio and beyond.

During the fiscal year 2022 funding cycle, applications were accepted in the disciplines of choreography, criticism, fiction, music composition, non-fiction, playwriting, and poetry. Each award is $5,000.

Individual Excellence Award funding is awarded through an anonymous, open panel review process focused on the basis of exceptional merit of an artist’s past body of work.

“Ohio is a creative state, and we are fortunate that a wealth of talented artists call it their home,” said OAC Executive Director Donna S. Collins. “The Ohio Arts Council is proud to support the outstanding artistic accomplishments evidenced by this year’s Individual Excellence Award winners.”

 A list of Individual Excellence Award winners follows:


  • Alice Blumenfeld (Rocky River, Cuyahoga County)
  • Talise Campbell (University Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Holly Handman-Lopez (Oberlin, Lorain County)
  • Russell Lepley (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Christina Lindhout (Shaker Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Catherine Meredith (Mentor, Lake County)
  • Quentin Sledge (Dayton, Montgomery County)
  • Countess V. Winfrey (Dayton, Montgomery County)


  • Lesley Jenike (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Douglas Utter (East Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)


  • Thomas M. Atkinson (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
  • Chris Bachelder (Cincinnati, Hamilton County) – collaborative award
  • Janet Beard (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Katharine Beutner (Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Kathy Curnow (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)
  • Alex DiFrancesco (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)
  • Elizabeth Eshelman (Westerville, Franklin County)
  • Polly Farquhar  (Pickerington, Fairfield County)
  • Dee Garretson (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
  • Andrew Graff   (Cedarville, Greene County)
  • Jennifer Habel (Cincinnati, Hamilton County) – collaborative award
  • Nania Lee (Columbus , Franklin County)
  • Rachel Lippolis (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
  • Laura Maylene Walter (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)
  • Larisse Mondok (Lakewood, Cuyahoga County)
  • Michael Nye (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Eileen O'Leary (University Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Jyotsna Sreenivasan (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Ben Stroud (Toledo, Lucas County)
  • Abby L. Vandiver  (South Euclid, Cuyahoga County)


  • Christopher Auerbach-Brown (Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Michael Fiday (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
  • Darren Frate (Shaker Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Ching-chu Hu  (Granville, Licking County)
  • Mikel Kuehn (Sylvania, Lucas County)
  • Robert McClure (Athens, Athens County)
  • Jeffrey Mumford (Oberlin, Lorain County)
  • Vera Stanojevic (Columbus, Franklin County)


  • Ashley Bethard (Dayton, Montgomery County)
  • Katie Daley (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)
  • Mya Frazier (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Mark Harris (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
  • Lesley Jenike (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Matthew Meduri (Kent, Portage County)
  • Andrew Polhamus (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Angie Romines (Dublin, Franklin County)
  • Brandy Schillace (Euclid, Cuyahoga County)
  • Kelly Sundberg (Columbus, Franklin County)


  • Grace Ellis (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Ben Evory (Waverly, Pike County)
  • Julia Fisher (Seven Hills, Cuyahoga County)
  • John Hole (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Meredith L. King  (Strongsville, Cuyahoga County)
  • Chris Leyva (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Jeremy Llorence (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Wendy MacLeod (Gambier, Knox County)
  • John Orlock (Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County)


  • Lisa Ampleman (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
  • David Baker (Granville, Licking County)
  • Jake Crist (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Amanda Stovicek D'Alessandro (Mayfield Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Chanda Feldman (Oberlin, Lorain County)
  • Susan Grimm (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)
  • Audrey Hackett (Yellow Springs, Greene County)
  • Jessica Jewell (Stow, Summit County)
  • Diana Lueptow (Akron, Summit County)
  • Philip Metres (University Heights, Cuyahoga County)
  • Aumaine Rose Smith (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)
  • Maggie Smith (Bexley , Franklin County)
  • Luke Stettner (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Allen Strous (Circleville, Pickaway County)
  • Orchid Tierney (Gambier, Knox County)
  • Sara Moore Wagner (West Chester, Butler County)
  • Beth Weinstock (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Khaty Xiong (Columbus, Franklin County)
  • Felicia Zamora (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)

For more information about the OAC’s grant programs, visit

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

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