State awards art grants to celebrate Ohio, US history

Three Cincinnati-area visual art projects received funding from the state of Ohio to help commemorate the United States’ upcoming 250th birthday.

The America 250-Ohio Commission awarded a total of $398,240 in grants to 23 communities and organizations across 15 Ohio counties. There were more than 70 applications for the program, managed in partnership with Ohio Humanities.

Southwest Ohio organizations to receive funding include ArtWorks, Green Umbrella and Voyageur Media Group, a nonprofit that creates public media about science, history, art and culture.

  • “Capturing Life (1839-1869),” Voyageur Media Group, Inc.: A documentary series examining the role of photography in the economic, social and cultural development of Southwest Ohio from 1839 to 1939. The first episode of the series, “Capturing Life (1839-1869),” will present new research about Ohio scientists and daguerreotypists who played a key role in the development of early American photography.
  • “Cincinnati’s Foodshed: An Art Atlas,” Green Umbrella: A project that showcases and celebrates Ohio’s rich agriculture, food history, people and innovations by sharing stories through engaging infographics, maps, timelines and art.
  • “Tuskegee Airmen Mural & Traveling Exhibition,” ArtWorks: A two-part mural project, the “Tuskegee Airmen Traveling Exhibition” and “Heilbrun-Leahr Mural” will celebrate the 58 Tuskegee airmen from Ohio. The project will include a permanent mural and a traveling exhibit throughout the state.

The Cincinnati-area projects received Buckeye Impact Grants, reserved for those endeavors perceived to have statewide, regional or significant local impact. Projects in that category were eligible for up to $50,000. The America 250-Ohio Commission awarded $40,000 to ArtWorks, $28,409 to Green Umbrella and $4,800 to Voyageur Media Group.

These projects must be complete between March 1, 2024 and Feb. 28, 2025.

“The commission takes great pride in supporting each of these projects and recognizes their potential for a lasting impact that extends far beyond the commemoration of 2026,” said Todd Kleismit, executive director of the America 250-Ohio Commission. “We are thrilled to see so many meaningful ways Ohioans are coming together to create memories during this significant milestone in our nation’s history.”

Celebrating Ohio, US history

In 2026, the U.S. will celebrate its semiquincentennial, the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. All 50 states are working to create a celebration and commemoration that reflects their unique character and contributions to the nation’s history.

To help with that work in the Buckeye State, the Ohio legislature created the Ohio Commission for the Semiquincentennial, also known as America 250-Ohio Commission, on March 1, 2022. Through its grants program, the organization is working to showcase Ohio’s notable achievements, struggles, honors and innovations through art.

The America 250-Ohio Commission awards funding at two levels. The Buckeye Impact Grants are awards of up to $50,000 for projects with a statewide, regional or significant local impact. The Trillium Local Activity Grants offer up to $5,000 for projects with a local or community-wide impact.

The program is open to nonprofits, educational organizations and local governmental agencies in Ohio. Individual artists, authors or performers must apply through a nonprofit.