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Greater Columbus Arts Council Announces 2021 Community Arts Partnership Awards Nominees and Winners

in Press Releases September 27, 2021 6 min read

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Greater Columbus Arts Council (Arts Council) today announced the recipients of the 2021 Community Arts Partnership (CAP) Awards. The individual and employer award recipients are being recognized for their exemplary support of the arts; in addition, two community projects received awards recognizing achievements in innovation and community caring.

“The Arts Council board had an incredibly difficult time selecting the award recipients from this year’s outstanding nominees,” said Tom Katzenmeyer, president and CEO of the Arts Council. “Each of the nominees is doing incredible work in the community — from bringing the arts into young people’s lives to employing artists, revitalizing neighborhoods and, perhaps most importantly, helping people navigate the extremely challenging circumstances of the pandemic. We applaud them all and look forward to telling their stories.”

The individual and employer award winners are:

Dionne Custer Edwards, nominated by Fawn Harris, is the recipient of the Arts Educator Award, presented each year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to providing arts education opportunities to students K-12 within a school system or in after-school programs or activities. Edwards received the award for her role as director of learning and public practice at the Wexner Center for the Arts. Prior to her work there, she’s been known as the founder of pioneering K-12 programs; an arts board member; adjunct university faculty member; a writer, poet and musician; and national speaker.

Marilyn Brown, selected by the Arts Council Board of Trustees, is the recipient of the Michael B. Coleman Arts Partner Award, presented each year to a civic, community or business leader who is a role model for long-term and exemplary support of the central Ohio arts and cultural community because of their significant contributions of time, effort and/or financial resources.  Recently retired, Brown served as a Franklin County Commissioner from 2006-2021, working as a leader for community cultural enrichment, social justice and progressive issues. Brown will be presented with the award at a private reception at the Columbus Museum of Art on Thursday, Sept. 30.

Johnny Riddle, nominated by Michael Bush, Danny Peterson and Trent Smith, received the Emerging Arts Leader Award, presented to an individual 40 years of age or younger who has had a significant, positive effect in helping the arts in central Ohio flourish through leadership, innovation, creativity and/or investment. Riddle is currently serving as the first ever Executive Director of the Franklinton Arts District. Previously working at Columbus of Art & Design and 934 Gallery, Riddle has helped the arts district form partnerships with the Franklinton Board of Trade, National Night Out and Gladden Community House.

Land-Grant Brewing Co., nominated by the Franklinton Arts District, received the Employer Award for its engagement with local artists and arts organizations, including multiple murals, its Beer Garden Music Series, Franklinton Fridays Music Series and for featuring artwork from local artists on their cans.

In addition, the Arts Council awarded two Dale E. Heydlauff Community Arts Innovation Awards. The awards, named after Heydlauff in 2020 in honor of his contributions to the arts, each come with a prize of $2,500. They are presented to innovative arts and cultural projects or initiatives that have addressed the unprecedented and challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and/or the protests resulting from social injustice, by creating something that helped lift up or provide relief to others in the community.

The two winners of the Dale E. Heydlauff Community Arts Innovation Awards are:

Art & Empathy Talks by Donte Woods-Spikes, nominated by Lauren Emond, which was a monthly interactive conversation series by the Columbus Museum of Art and Empathize With Me, an initiative created by Woods-Spikes. During the first edition of the series, which ran March through September 2021, attendees heard conversations with Woods-Spikes and a guest artish, which each month’s theme inspired by the Art Museum’s special exhibition Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Robinson’s House and Journals.

PATTERNZ Summer Arts Camp at the Lincoln Theatre, nominated by Amanda Wheeler, for providing high-quality arts education for children ages 6-13 during a series of one-week sessions from June to August 2021. The series benefited more than 300 students with classes and workshops introducing them to a variety of art forms and giving them substantive arts education experiences.

On Oct. 21, the Arts Council will announce the Columbus Makes Art Excellence Awards recognizing outstanding achievements in innovation, risk and artistic excellence in a performance, exhibition, program or project. One $10,000 award will be given in each category of organizations with budgets of under $1 million and those with budgets over $1 million.

The 2021 nominees are:

Organizations with budgets of under $1 million

  • Cartoon Crossroads Columbus 2020 Festival
  • Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus 2020/2021 Season
  • Opera Project Columbus, I, Too, Sing America

Organizations with budgets of $1 million and over

  • Columbus Museum of Art, Art After Stonewall
  • King Arts Complex, Hey It’s Faye
  • COSI and WOSU Public Media, QED with Dr. B.

A video honoring all the nominees, showcasing the winners and announcing the Columbus Makes Art Excellence Award recipients will be released on Oct. 21 at 3 p.m.

The Arts Council’s annual Community Arts Partnership Awards honor the Columbus community for its active support of central Ohio’s artists and arts organizations. More than 30 organizations and individuals were nominated this year.

The full nominees are (winners are marked with an *):

Arts Educator Award

  • Nick D’Andrea
  • Dionne Custer Edwards*
  • Tobi Furman
  • Melinda Staley

Emerging Arts Leader Award

  • Liz Martin
  • Johnny Riddle*
  • Heather Lynn Kyle
  • Michael Torres

Employer Awards

  • John Glenn Columbus International Airport
  • Land-Grant Brewing Co.*
  • Nationwide
  • Together & Co.

Dale E. Heydlauff Community Arts Innovation Awards

  • 2020 Columbus Women&Girls’ Fest, Virtual Edition
  • 2021 CAPA Marquee Awards
  • 2021 PATTERNZ Summer Arts Camp, Lincoln Theatre Association*
  • An Iliad, CATCO
  • “And They’re Off” Sculpture and Memorial Garden, Beulah Park Living
  • Art & Empathy Talks, Donte Woods-Spikes*
  • ARtsway Columbus Summer Tech Youth Mural Program; 934 Gallery, Franklinton Arts District, Maroon Arts Group, Summer Jam West
  • Central Ohio Artist Pandemic Art Expressions through art, Columbus Historical Society
  • Don Giovanni, Opera Columbus
  • Fashion Week Columbus, Columbus Fashion Council
  • Free Space, Wexner Center for the Arts
  • Homage Project for Keith J. Neal Keeper of Cultural Arts and Cultural Life, Duartes Collective Group
  • Illuminating our Community, Columbus Symphony
  • OhioDance Virtual Dance Collection, Ohio Dance
  • Short North Arts District Summer Spray & Summer Exhibition Series
  • SummerFEST 2020: Music Outdoors, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra
  • The Parlor (House Concert Series), Columbus Songwriters Association
  • Through the Lens of History: Understanding Derek Chauvin’s Trial in the Death of George Floyd, Ohio History Connection
  • To Black QTs with Love, Care Collective
  • Vincent, Red Herring Productions

For more information about the Community Arts Partnership Awards or to see a complete list of nominees in all categories go to:

The 2021 Community Arts Partnership Awards program is supported in part by Bath & Body Works, Grange Insurance, The Ohio State University and PNC.

Mission of the Greater Columbus Arts Council: To support and advance the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus.

The Greater Columbus Arts Council receives major financial support from the City of Columbus, Franklin County Commissioners and the Ohio Arts Council.

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CONTACT: Jami Goldstein
(614) 221-8492