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Greater Columbus Arts Council Announces 2022 Recipients of Artists Elevated Awards

in Press Releases August 29, 2022 3 min read

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A national jury has selected the two recipients of the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s (GCAC) $20,000 Artists Elevated awards for 2022: Sterling Carter and Mariah Layne French.

Sterling Carter is a videographer and cinematographer with a bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film from the University of North Texas. He is founder of The Carter Effect, offering event filmmaking and commercial video production services, and has served as cinematographer for New Salem Missionary Baptist Church since 2019. He’s the creator of documentaries like A Beloved Community: A Healthier Linden, produced with Nationwide Children’s, and Our Voices: the Sounds of the Silenced, focused on talented Black women who use their gifts as a voice to protest injustices.

Mariah Layne French is a dance artist, choreographer and co-founder of Xclaim Dance Company. She currently serves as the director of the dance company and Xclaim Centre for the Arts, where she instructs students of all ages in jazz, tap and modern dance. French earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from The Ohio State University in 2005 and founded Xclaim with her husband Philip in 2007. For the past 15 years the company has provided a primary canvas for her thoughtfully crafted dance work.

Both artists will receive unrestricted awards of $20,000 each. The awards are focused on providing substantial funds to Columbus-based artists who have been working professionally for at least three years, and are intended to provide a more meaningful investment in moving an artist forward in their career.

“Just like our inaugural round of nominees, the pool this year featured incredibly talented Columbus artists working across the artistic spectrum,” said Tom Katzenmeyer, president and CEO of GCAC. “In their feedback, the jurors noted the exceptional quality of the city’s artists. We’re grateful for the continued opportunity to invest in their futures.”

GCAC invited nearly 200 community and arts leaders for nominations of Columbus-based artists to apply for this year’s award. A total of 90 applications were received.

Carter and French were selected from a group of 14 finalists that also included:

  • Laura Alexander (visual arts)
  • Christopher Austin (theater)
  • Gabrielle Burton (film)
  • Antoine Clark (music)
  • Marcus Jackson (literary arts)
  • Christopher Leyva (theater)
  • Joan Madison (fashion)
  • Hannah Moore (music)
  • Xuena Pu (fashion)
  • Eliana Saari (visual arts)
  • Maggie Smith (literary arts)
  • Karen Wing (dance)

In recognition of their standing, these 12 finalists will each receive an award of $1,000.

Recipients were chosen by a national jury of seven creatives with representation across disciplines. They included April Berry (dance); Michael Drummond (fashion); Nadiah Fellah (visual arts); Linda Miller (film); Michael Mitchell (music); Carter Sickels (literary arts); and Melissa Taylor (theater).

“What a thrill it was to see the level of artistic excellence in Columbus,” said juror Melissa Taylor. “I cannot wait to follow the careers of the many talented applicants. I’m equally impressed with the fact that the Greater Columbus Arts Council offers such incredible support to artists. Other cities and councils should follow their exemplary lead.”

“There are so many inspiring artists at various levels of work,” adds juror Michael Drummond. “I cannot stop thinking of Maggie Smith’s poetry. Sterling Carter’s unflinching and informative work also stayed with me long after viewing it. It felt impossible to choose two winners out of such an esteemed group.”

Carter and French, along with the 12 finalists, will be honored at a GCAC event on Nov. 3, 2022 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Southern Theatre and Westin Great Southern Columbus. More details will be announced in coming weeks.

The awards are part of GCAC’s Artists Elevated endowment campaign, designed to uplift individual artists through investment. GCAC currently has an endowment, the GCAC Community Fund, at the Columbus Foundation. GCAC’s giving site can be viewed at

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