Submit a Nomination
Ohio is home to innumerable inspiring stories of individuals and organizations who are transforming their communities through the arts. From the local business that volunteers each year at an annual arts festival to the art educator who goes above and beyond to bring meaningful arts experiences to her classroom, our state is full of people who prove each day that the arts have the power to strengthen communities culturally, educationally, and economically.
We want to share these stories and give these Ohioans the statewide recognition they deserve, and we need your help. Nominate an individual, organization, or business in your community today for the 2020 Governor's Awards for the Arts in Ohio!
One of the most prestigious arts events in Ohio, the Governor's Awards showcases and celebrates exceptional Ohio artists, arts organizations, arts leaders and patrons, and business support of the arts. Governor's Awards recipients are honored at a luncheon ceremony in Columbus, where they are presented with the only arts award in the state that is conferred by the governor. Each award winner receives an original piece of artwork created specifically for the event by an Ohio artist and the opportunity to share their story with other arts supporters statewide.
All applications must be submitted by Monday, September 23, 2019.
Are you interested in submitting an award nomination but aren't sure how to get started? You're in luck! In this webinar, Ohio Arts Council Communications Strategists Katie Monahan and Amanda Etchison cover all you need to know about the Governor's Awards. Learn how to put together a competitive application, get acquainted with the online nomination form, and hear from past award recipients and nominators who share tips and tricks to help guide you through the Governor's Awards from start to finish.
ARTS ADMINISTRATION | Individual who has shown sustained, impactful, and visionary leadership of an arts organization.
ARTS EDUCATION | Individual or organization that has made significant contributions through leadership and creativity to advance arts education in Ohio's schools and community organizations.
ARTS PATRON | Individual, or individual or family foundation, that, over time, has sustained and enhanced the arts in their community or the state of Ohio through contributions of their time, effort, or financial resources.
BUSINESS SUPPORT OF THE ARTS (Large) | Private or nonprofit business, government, or media with 100 or more employees that has, over time, provided extraordinary support to the arts locally, statewide, regionally, or nationally through a contribution of personnel, financial, or other resources. Nominations will be considered in both a small and large category.
BUSINESS SUPPORT OF THE ARTS (Small) | Private or nonprofit business, government, or media with fewer than 100 employees that has, over time, provided extraordinary support to the arts locally, statewide, regionally, or nationally through a contribution of personnel, financial, or other resources. Nominations will be considered in both a small and large category.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND PARTICIPATION | Individual or organization that works to create or strengthen interactive arts participation among diverse community members while increasing public awareness about the role of the arts in community life.
INDIVIDUAL ARTIST | Ohio artist whose work has made a significant impact on his or her discipline locally, statewide, regionally, or nationally.
IRMA LAZARUS AWARD | The Irma Lazarus Award goes to individuals or organizations who have helped shape public support for the arts through their work as advocates and have brought national and international recognition to Ohio through sustained dedication to artistic excellence.
Since its beginning in 1971, the Governor's Awards has recognized individuals and organizations who have been vital to the growth and development of Ohio's cultural resources. One of the most prestigious arts events in Ohio, the Governor's Awards showcases and celebrates exceptional Ohio artists, arts organizations, arts leaders and patrons, and business support of the arts. Governor's Awards recipients are honored at a luncheon ceremony in Columbus, where they are presented with the only arts award in the state that is conferred by the governor. Each award winner receives an original piece of artwork created specifically for the event by an Ohio artist and the opportunity to share their story with other arts supporters statewide.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about past winners.
Phyllis Gorfain, professor of English emerita at Oberlin College, originated Oberlin Drama at Grafton (ODAG) as a Shakespeare-centered performance program at Grafton Correctional Institution in 2012. As artistic director of ODAG, Phyllis has directed or helped direct 11 productions, five of them full or abridged Shakespeare plays.
Through Phyllis’ initiatives, donors and other volunteers provide funding, mentoring, and many other forms of support, such as financial management, web design and maintenance, sound design, and program production. ODAG thus provides a transformative space for its actors, Oberlin students, guest directors, lecturers, visiting performers, volunteers, and audiences.
Photo by Dale Preston
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC) was founded in 1986 on a belief that the arts make neighborhoods thrive. For more than 30 years, ETC has built a reputation for exceptional artistic leadership and engaging community-centered programming. ETC presents some of the most exciting new plays in its region, and as a pillar in Cincinnati’s arts community, it continues to play an essential role in leading Over-the-Rhine’s thriving urban arts district.
ETC’s artistic focus is to premiere socially conscious plays that drive important community conversations and to hire professional artists who want to call Cincinnati home (for the long run). It provides theatre education programs that enrich young minds and prioritize inclusivity, diversity, and access, creating pathways to successful professional careers for the next generation of artists while growing the local talent pool.
Sallie Robinson Wadsworth and Randolph “Duck” Wadsworth have made an impact on Greater Cincinnati through their legacy of philanthropic support in the visual arts, music, and theatre communities. Although Sallie passed away on Nov. 22, 2017, Duck, who taught English literature at Miami University, continues to passionately support the arts. In 2013, the Sallie Robinson Wadsworth Endowment for Exhibitions was developed as part of the Taft Museum of Art’s $12 million endowment campaign. Sallie and Duck have also supported the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Duck currently serves on the board of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and as director emeritus at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Sallie served on the boards of many organizations, including the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, and volunteered with the Special Projects Pool of the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts (now ArtsWave).
Owens Corning (OC) is a global market leader in the development, manufacture, and marketing of insulation, roofing, and fiberglass composite products and solutions. Based in Toledo, Ohio, for more than 80 years, OC is committed to leveraging its people and products to make the world a better place.
The company’s dedication to providing access to the arts in its home community serves as a tangible demonstration of its purpose. Through its financial support, board participation, and widespread employee volunteerism, OC is helping to build a vibrant community that is enhanced by the world-class cultural amenities and visual and performing arts organizations it supports.
Ronette “Roni” Burkes-Trowsdell previously served as warden at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio, and was recently promoted to Regional Director of Specialty Institutions. Throughout Roni’s 18-year tenure with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, it has been apparent her inner drive is fueled by her passion for people. Roni has chosen to lead and support diverse projects that aim to increase access to the arts for those who are justice-involved around the state. By offering these opportunities for creative expression, ORW is actively working to encourage community engagement between people inside and outside prison.
Roni’s involvement with the Harmony Project in Columbus and her dedication for the past 28 years to the service work of her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, also exemplifies her drive to save lives. She currently serves as president-elect for the Ohio Wardens and Superintendents Association, vice president for the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, and as an advisory board member for Franklin University’s Center for Public Safety and Cybersecurity Education and Tiffin University’s Alumni Board.
RJ Thompson is a tenured assistant professor of graphic and interactive design in the Department of Art at Youngstown State University. Parallel to his teaching, he is the principal and creative strategist for +Public, a design research-based social enterprise that focuses on cultivating community and economic development impact through the creation of branded communication platforms, creative place-making, and storytelling initiatives for communities-in-revival.
In 2015, he was one of several recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Our Town” grant for the INPLACE (“Innovative Plan for Leveraging Arts & Community Engagement”) project. In 2017, RJ received a “Best of Marketing Award” from the Ohio Economic Development Association for his efforts in rebranding the City of Youngstown, Ohio, and in 2018, he was accepted into the prestigious Cohort 2 of the National Arts Marketing Project. RJ recently received a scholarship to participate in the National Arts Strategies’ “Arts & Culture Strategies Executive Program” through the University of Pennsylvania. He received his Master of Fine Arts Degree in graphic design from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2011.
Leslie Adams, a signature status member of the Portrait Society of America, is an internationally recognized artist specializing in narrative art and portraiture. Her patrons include many distinguished members of private society as well as the corporate, academic, religious, cultural, judicial, and civic leaders of our day. Leslie’s works have graced the walls of the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery, the Butler Institute of American Art, and the European Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona, Spain. Her meticulously rendered drawings and paintings have received awards in the Art Renewal Center’s International ARC Salon and from the American Society of Portrait Artists’ Foundation and Portrait Society of America, where she earned the prestigious William F. Draper Grand Prize in its International Portrait Competition.
Her major solo exhibition, Leslie Adams, Drawn from Life, part of the Toledo Museum of Art’s 2012 Season of Portraiture, was a childhood dream fulfilled and the most significant milestone of her career since graduating from the University of Toledo and New York Academy of Art. She is represented in the permanent collections of the Toledo Museum of Art, the Ella Sharp Museum of Art, the Academy of Achievement, and numerous other institutions throughout the world.
Dr. Mark Lomax II, a critically acclaimed composer, recording artist, drummer, activist, and educator, is a Wexner Center for the Arts at the Ohio State University (OSU) Artist Residency 2018 award recipient. A highly sought-after lecturer, Mark specializes in the socio-political and spiritual aspects of African-American art, music, race, and the usage of the arts to build community. Heavily influenced by his father, a pastor, and mother, a composer of gospel music, Mark was introduced to gospel and jazz at an early age and continued his study of gospel music with Dr. Raymond Wise, founder of the Center for the Gospel Arts. As a jazz musician, he has toured with the Delfeayo Marsalis Sextet and worked with notable artists such as Clark Terry, Marlon Jordan, and Azar Lawrence, among others.
Mark, also a 2017 Denison University Mellon Artist-In-Residence, holds a Doctor of Music Arts degree in composition from OSU. He is in a prestigious and elite group as one of 30 or so African American composers in the United States who have terminal degrees in classical music. His myriad experiences have allowed him to create a unique blend of styles in his music.
The Dayton Literary Peace Prize (DLPP) honors writers who use the power of literature to foster peace, social justice, and global understanding. Launched in 2006 and recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious literary honors, it is the only literary peace prize awarded in the United States. Each year, the Prize awards $10,000 to one fiction and one nonfiction author whose work advances peace as a solution to conflict and leads readers to a better understanding of other cultures, peoples, religions, and political points of view. Additionally, the Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award is bestowed upon a writer whose body of work reflects the Prize's mission.
Since its inception, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation, principally made up of volunteers, has awarded prizes to 72 established and emerging authors from 20 countries. Through the DLPP University and Library Consortiums, presentations have reached tens of thousands of high school, college, university, and community readers, and DLPP-developed curricula based on winning books is used in Ohio high school and university classes.