Ohio Arts Council awards $5K grants to regional artists

A collection of local artists, specializing in everything from choreography to poetry, won grant funding from the Ohio Arts Council.

In total, the state agency approved $375,000 for 75 grants to Ohio artists through its annual Individual Excellence Awards program. The program recognizes outstanding accomplishments by artists in a variety of disciplines.

During this funding cycle, OAC accepted applications in choreography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, music composition, playwriting/screenplays and poetry. Each award is $5,000, with one collaborative award being shared.

Only four grants went to creatives in Cincinnati, proper, but there were other awards to artists living in Blue Ash, Loveland, Dayton, Fairborn and Kettering. Dayton had the second-most local winners with three.

The majority of the regional awards were in the category of poetry – Preeti Parikh (Blue Ash), Matt Hart (Cincinnati), LaWanda Walters (Cincinnati), Felicia Zamora (Cincinnati) and Marlo Starr (Dayton).

Leslie Dworkin and Countess V. Winfrey, both from Dayton, received grants for choreography. Erin Flanagan (Kettering) and Jessica Strawser (Loveland) claimed prizes in fiction, while Tyler Kline (Cincinnati) was the region’s lone winner in music composition.

The complete list of winners is below. 

With this grant program, the OAC aims to give artists the resources to experiment and explore their art forms, develop skills and advance their careers, and receive affirmation and acknowledgment for outstanding work.

“On behalf of the Ohio Arts Council, I want to congratulate this year’s Individual Excellence Award recipients,” said Donna S. Collins, the organization’s executive director. “Their work continues to exemplify Ohio’s wealth of exceptional artistic talent and demonstrates that artists can thrive in our great state.”

2024 Individual Excellence Awards


  • Dominic Moore Dunson, Akron
  • Errin Weaver, Cleveland
  • David Shimotakahara, Cleveland Heights
  • Leslie Dworkin, Dayton
  • Countess V. Winfrey, Dayton
  • Thaliyah Cools-Lartigue, Fairborn
  • Sujatha Srinivasan, Strongsville


  • Jeremy Glazier, Columbus
  • Ann Cooper Albright, Oberlin
  • Zoë Brigley, Powell


  • Lisa Sarkis, Akron
  • Meghan Louise Wagner, Avon Lake
  • Daniel Melnick, Beachwood
  • Isaiah Hunt, Bedford Heights
  • Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky, Bexley
  • Lawrence Coates, Bowling Green
  • Michael Credico, Cleveland
  • Leah Pusecker-Reynolds, Columbus
  • Leslie J. Anderson, Delaware
  • Margot Singer, Granville
  • Erin Flanagan, Kettering
  • Thao Thai, Lewis Center
  • Jessica Strawser, Loveland
  • Madeline ffitch, Millfield
  • Allegra Hyde, Oberlin
  • Sharona Muir, Perrysburg
  • Ayendy Bonifacio, Toledo

Music Composition

  • Jennifer Maurer, Akron
  • Robert McClure, Athens
  • Tyler Kline, Cincinnati
  • Margaret Brouwer, DMA, Cleveland Heights
  • Keith Fitch, Cleveland Heights
  • Zakk Jones, Columbus
  •  Rocco Di Pietro, Columbus
  • Dan Bruce, Lakewood
  • Darren Frate, Shaker Heights


  • Eric LeMay, Athens
  • Maggie Smith, Bexley
  • Sayuri Matsuura Ayers, Columbus
  • Louise Ling Edwards, Columbus
  • Michelle Herman, Columbus
  • Laura Larson, Columbus
  • Amy Butcher, Delaware 
  • Angie Romines, Dublin
  • Cris Harris, Madison
  • Fatima Matar, North Olmsted
  • Mimi Dixon, Springfield


  • Logan Cutler Smith, Cleveland
  • Jenny Deller, Columbus
  • Chris Leyva, Columbus
  • Wendy MacLeod, Gambier
  • Merri Biechler, Guysville
  • Matthew Michael Moore, Hilliard
  • Erin Dolan, Lakewood
  • Eric Pfeffinger, Toledo
  • Matt Foss, Toledo


  • Carrie George, Akron
  • Diana Lueptow, Akron
  • Preeti Parikh, Blue Ash
  • Amy Hughes, Chagrin Falls
  • Matt Hart, Cincinnati
  • LaWanda Walters, Cincinnati
  • Felicia Zamora, Cincinnati
  • Kortney Morrow, Cleveland
  • Babette Cieskowski, Columbus
  • Cait Weiss Orcutt, Columbus
  • Mandy Shunnarah, Columbus
  • Clayton Spencer, Columbus
  • Marlo Starr, Dayton
  • Andrew Grace, Gambier
  • Nicole Robinson, Kent
  • Katherine Hedeen and Victor Rodriguez Nunez (in collaboration), Mount Vernon
  • Melissa Barrett, Shaker Heights
  • Philip Metres, University Heights
  • Keith Leonard, Worthington

Ohio Arts Council grant programs

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