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GCAC Announces 2015 Community Arts Partnership Individual Award Winners and Business Award Nominees

in Press Releases September 18, 2015 7 min read

Columbus, Ohio— The Greater Columbus Arts Council (Arts Council) is pleased to announce the three individual winners of the 2015 Community Arts Partnership (CAP) awards presented by PNC in the categories of Arts Educator, Arts Partner and Emerging Arts Leader. The winners will be honored at the Arts Council’s annual Community Arts Partnership awards program luncheon on Thursday, Oct.15 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at COSI, 333 W. Broad St.

The Arts Council’s annual CAP awards honor Columbus individuals for their exemplary support and leadership in the arts and the Columbus business community for its active support of central Ohio’s arts organizations. Twenty businesses and individuals were nominated this year. Business honorees in the Small and Medium categories will be announced at the event on Oct. 15.

Individual winners will each receive a work of art by local artist, Denny Griffith. The business winners will each receive a work of art purchased from local artists Rick Braveheart, Melinda Rosenberg and Christine Gulliot Ryan.

The Individual award winners are listed below. The Arts Educator Award is presented in partnership with the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.

Candace Mazur Darman, nominated by Erin Hoppe of VSA Ohio, is the recipient of this year’s Arts Educator award. For more than 30 years Darman has been a successful teaching artist in central Ohio. She is the founder of Dramatic Impact, a nationally acclaimed children’s theatre company. Darman has brought her dynamic story play to classrooms around Ohio and venues such as the Columbus Arts Festival, Dublin Irish Festival, First Night Columbus, COSI, Delaware Arts Castle, and Franklin Park Conservatory, just to name a few. As a teaching artist for VSA Ohio and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE), Darman works in inclusive classrooms to enhance teaching and learning through arts-integrated residencies and differentiated curriculum. Her career has reached thousands of children providing a safe and nurturing environment from which imaginations can explore and grow. Throughout her long and active career, Darman has vigorously advocated for the promise of arts education and the lifelong learning it inspires, for the importance of honoring and celebrating play, natural creativity, imagination, and improvisation. Her work recognized what children are capable of achieving if given the chance to apply their individual and unique strengths to their learning process.

Ann and Ron Pizzuti, nominated by Mark Becker, are the recipients of this year’s Arts Partner award. The Pizzutis have a long and impressive resume of support of the arts in Columbus as collectors, patrons, philanthropists, leaders and in 2013 they became the founders of the Pizzuti Collection. They have served on numerous boards of arts organizations, including the Wexner Center for the Arts and the Whitney Museum; supported countless arts events and with the establishment of the Pizzuti Collection, they forever changed the arts landscape in Columbus. The arts community in Columbus has never been more vibrant, and it has taken the passion and generosity of visionary leaders like the Pizzutis to make it so. The Pizzutis believe that art is fundamental to both individual enlightenment and the cultural health of a community. They have earned an international reputation as collectors of contemporary art, and with the launch of the Pizzuti Collection they have ensured that their personal reputation now raises the reputation of the city and Ohio artists, who are strongly represented in the Pizzuti Collection. In addition, after jurying the 99th Annual Ohio Art League Juried Exhibition in 2010, Ron announced that he was so impressed with the quality of submissions he would fill his new Joseph Hotel in the Short North with art from artists from across the state. Since its opening in 2015, Le Meridian The Joseph Hotel has received significant national press for its extraordinary art collection. The Pizzutis continue to have a strong impact on area organizations through their generous support, their sound leadership and participation.

Jill Moorhead, nominated by Christine Deye, is the recipient of this year’s Emerging Arts Leader award. Moorhead is a tireless crusader for the local arts scene in central Ohio. She brings art to the masses through her down-to-earth freelance writing in local and national magazines and through her work on the boards of several nonprofit arts organizations, all while managing a day job in marketing. In 2011 Moorhead was invited to present at Pecha Kucha. She quickly fell in love with the creativity and passion in the room. Just a week later, she found herself on the board of the organization. Never one to shy away from a new and usually untested idea, Moorhead soon added the nonprofit Wild Goose Creative to her already full schedule. Not only did she jump in with her marketing and writing skills to help Wild Goose Creative grow their name, she became the president, built an advisory board, managed the creation of a new website, grew the working board, and led the effort to find a new executive director. During Moorhead’s tenure as board president, Wild Goose Creative has grown in capacity and has been able to offer even more diverse programs, a wider range of community connections, and more resources for the arts and creative community in Columbus. Moorhead has a humble attitude, a tactical mind that is always working to find a great way to tell the stories of artists, and a relentless creative energy for solving problems and meeting needs.

It is a great honor to be nominated for the Community Arts Partnership Awards and the Arts Council is pleased to share the list of additional nominees for this year’s individual award categories and the business award nominees:

Arts Educator

  • David Brown, nominated by Dr. Susan Steinman
  • Jean Pitman, nominated by Michael Wilkos
  • Yasue Sakaoka, nominated by Lynette Santoro-Au

Arts Partner

  • Dan Good, nominated by Sherri Geldin
  • Dwight Heckelman, nominated by Sarah Overdier
  • Zoe Johnstone, nominated by Michael Rene Torres

Emerging Art Leader

  • Heather Lynn Kyle, nominated by Jennifer Gregg
  • Tona Pearson, nominated by Donna Estep
  • Paul Richmond, nominated by Marilyn Brown
  • Adam Schlenker, nominated by Tip House

Medium Business

  • Hilton Columbus Downtown, nominated by Betsy Pandora
  • Mills James, nominated by Sherri Geldin

Small Business

  • Hayley Gallery, nominated by Chris Lucas
  • Kinopicz American, nominated by Sherri Geldin
  • Outsider Entertainment, nominated by David Brown
  • The Refectory Restaurant & Bistro, nominated by ProMusica Chamber Orchestra
  • Small Business Beanstalk, nominated by Java Kitrick

Traditionally nominations are also accepted in the category of Large Business (more than 500 employees).  This year, the Greater Columbus Arts Council Board of Trustees and the Columbus Cultural Leadership Consortium have selected AEP as the recipient of the Large Business Award in advance of the nomination process. AEP is receiving this award in recognition of their outstanding three-year commitment to the Art Makes Columbus campaign, which launched in 2015 to help tell the stories of Columbus artists and support the entire arts community.

The Arts Council will also present its Columbus Makes Art Excellence Awards at the Oct. 15 luncheon. The award will be presented to two arts organizations that have demonstrated innovation, risk and artistic excellence in a performance, exhibition or program. See the list of 2015 Nominees.

The community is invited to join the Arts Council and hundreds of business, arts and civic leaders to celebrate this year’s nominees and winners and the work they do every day to create a thriving and vibrant creative community in Columbus. To register to attend, go to

The Arts Council board’s advocacy & marketing committee selects the individual and business winners each year. The board of trustees meets just prior to the Community Arts Partnership awards luncheon to select the Columbus Makes Art Excellence Award winners.

The 2015 Community Arts Partnership Awards are presented by PNC. Sponsors to date are: Awards sponsor, American Electric Power; Supporting sponsors, Cardinal Health and The Ohio State University; Patron sponsors, Capital University, Corna-Kokosing, Crabbe, Brown & James, LLP, The Crane Group, Fahlgren Mortin, Huntington, Ice Miller LLP; Ologie; Robert Weiler Company; Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP; In-Kind sponsors, CityScene Magazine and WOSU; Table sponsors, Big Lots, Casto, Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, Columbus Partnership, Grange Insurance, The Harmony Project, OhioHealth, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, Safelite, Think CSC, and White Castle.

About the Greater Columbus Arts Council:  Through vision and leadership, advocacy and collaboration, the Greater Columbus Arts Council supports art and advances the culture of the region. A catalyst for excellence and innovation, the Arts Council funds exemplary artists and arts organizations and provides programs, events and services of public value that educate and engage all audiences in our community. The Arts Council thanks the City of Columbus and the Ohio Arts Council for their continued support.  The Arts Council has been recognized as one of the “5 NonProfits to Watch” in 2014 by The Columbus Foundation.

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CONTACT: Jami Goldstein
(614) 221-8492