Remembering Denny Griffith

COLUMBUS, Ohio-The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Denny Griffith, long-tenured president of CCAD (Columbus College of Art and Design) and a member of the OAC family. Our thoughts go out to Griffith's family and the arts community that held him dear.

"We have been privileged to work with Denny - to be inspired by him and to learn from him about the value of the arts and the impact they have on our lives. His legacy will forever remain in our hearts," said OAC Executive Director Donna S. Collins.

 Griffith worked at the OAC from 1978 until late 1983 as a program coordinator of the then-newly created Aid to Individual Artists Program. Four years after leaving the agency, Griffith's artwork was recognized by the OAC when he was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship. Griffith commented on his experience in an OAC publication that was developed to document the first 10 years of the Aid to Individual Artists Program.

"I received a fellowship for my work as a painter. It was the third application I had submitted and the feeling of luck returned. The program I had helped design had treated me pretty much like everyone else," Griffith wrote. He also noted, "We are privileged here in Ohio to have people willing and able to work within the system who articulately and passionately serve as advocates on behalf of artists, thereby helping to garner tax dollars that go to support the arts, and importantly, artists."

Balancing two careers as a studio artist and arts administrator was a major part of his life. His extensive artist resume includes participating in more than 100 solo and group exhibitions and inclusion in many public and private collections. As the president of CCAD, Griffith was asked in 2011 why he stayed active in his art making. He commented: "Being active in my art shows the people at CCAD that I am not only their president, but a peer. I give them reassurance that I am connected to the arts and I am a part of their community."

Biographical Information: Dennison W. "Denny" Griffith, along with his duties as President of the Columbus College of Art & Design, maintained an active career as a visual artist. He was the recipient of artists' fellowships for painting from the Greater Columbus Arts Council (1996), the Ohio Arts Council (1987-88 and 1989-90), and an Arts Midwest/NEA Regional Fellowship in 1990-91. His work is represented in the collections of such institutions as the Butler Institute of American Art, the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center, and the Columbus Metropolitan Library, as well as corporate collections ranging from Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City to ARCO in Los Angeles.

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


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