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Greater Columbus Arts Council Announces 2023 Thrive Program Grant Recipients

in Press Releases November 1, 2023 3 min read

Three-year program provides sustainability for arts organizations and collectives led by and serving people of color

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) announced today the three recipients of the 2023 Thrive grant awards—A Tribe For Jazz, Kingdom Image Arts and Use Your Ears.

Launched in 2020, the three-year program addresses disparities in inequitable funding for arts and cultural organizations led by and serving BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities. The program acknowledges that organizations led by people of color historically have experienced barriers to capital and resources. In 2022, eligibility was expanded to include art collectives that do not currently have nonprofit status but have multiple years of experience presenting public events. In addition to unrestricted funding, GCAC provides connections to resources, community experts and nonprofit education opportunities to help groups meet their goals.

This group constitutes the fourth and final Thrive cohort, as the Thrive program will be retired after this year. GCAC will explore other impactful ways to support BIPOC-led and -serving organizations. This 2023 Thrive Cohort will join nine other groups who will have received $100,000 in support of their three-year engagement, along with access to resources, educational workshops and experts.

“We’re very proud to see how Thrive has helped a dozen organizations grow through these dedicated funding and resources,” said Tom Katzenmeyer, president and CEO of GCAC. “Even as this program winds down, we continue to see the impact on them and their capacity to serve the community through arts programming.”

Each of the three funded organizations works to increase access to the arts for the community and provide living wages for artists.

A Tribe For Jazz was formed in April 2021 and is dedicated to preserving the legacy and advancing the future of jazz through visual storytelling, live and virtual performances, education and community engagement. Their initial work began with a cinematic performance film for acclaimed saxophonist Jon Irabagon which premiered globally, and has continued with performance series featuring both emerging and established touring artists.

Kingdom Image Arts (KIA) is a nonprofit founded in 2010 whose mission is to empower all generations through inspirational arts, performances, education and influential programming contributing to personal wellness, economic impact and social change. KIA has increased awareness and appreciation for BIPOC performing artists and their contribution to Columbus’ creative ecosystem. Their events include live concert series, youth programming and entrepreneurship development.

Use Your Ears (UYE) is a Black-founded and operated nonprofit dedicated to cultivating safe spaces and opportunities for youths aged eight to 24 to write, publish and perform original music. UYE has helped students produce 40 original songs since 2021. Its programs incorporate trauma-informed care and cognitive behavioral therapeutic techniques through the art of music, songwriting and performances.

Thrive provides an unrestricted $10,000 grant for each of the three years, an opportunity to work on a capacity-building effort with a consultant (paid for by GCAC, up to $5,000) in year two, and the chance to mentor incoming Thrive organizations and receive a $5,000 stipend for their time in year three.

The jurors for the 2023 Thrive program included:

  • Rose Aku Adotei, community engagement coordinator at Ohio History Connection
  • Chris Jones, principal and COO of Warhol & WALL ST
  • Stefan Thomas, singer, attorney and GCAC board member
  • Helen Yee, author, musician and co-founder of The American Institute of Alternative Medicine

The 2020 cohort included All People Arts, Maroon Arts Group and State of the Arts Productions, which have concluded the program. The 2021 cohort of Thiossane Institute, Two Scoops National Performing Arts Center and Urban Strings Columbus enters their final year, while the 2022 cohort of Black Women Rising Poetry Collective, Columbus Cultural Orchestra and Latino Arts for Humanity enters their second year.

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, the Ohio Arts Council and The Ohio State University.

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CONTACT: Jami Goldstein
(614) 221-8492