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Greater Columbus Arts Council Announces First Thrive Program Grant Recipients

in Press Releases October 15, 2020 2 min read

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

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Greater Columbus Arts Council (Arts Council) announced today the three recipients of the first Thrive grant awards—All People Arts, Maroon Arts Group and State of the Arts Productions.

Designed in 2019, the program intends to address disparities in inequitable funding for arts and cultural organizations led by and serving people of color. The program acknowledges that organizations of color historically have experienced barriers to capital and resources.

“We are proud of our Thrive grant, which is a three-year engagement program. This is the most tangible outcome of the cultural equity work the Arts Council began in 2018,” said Tom Katzenmeyer, president and CEO of the Arts Council. “Our hope is that providing unrestricted funding, coupled with access to expert resources to build capacity in essential nonprofit areas such as board development, financial forecasting and strategic planning, will enable these three organizations to build a firm foundation to help them grow and dream.”

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

All People Arts, led by Shelbi Harris, is a South Side organization that supports a gallery, community murals and partnerships, art and well-being programs, as well as art kits for kids and seniors during the pandemic. Their goal is to provide accessible and affordable programming for all people on the South Side of Columbus and pay artists a living wage.

Maroon Arts Group, led by Sheri Neale, is a King-Lincoln Bronzeville organization hosting annual festivals, monthly spoken word and performance events, learning groups, concert series, and a shipping container BoxPark located on Long Street with event and gallery spaces. The five-year-old organization seeks to diversify their board, expand the BoxPark as well as increase major donors during the Thrive grant period.

State of the Arts Productions, led by Gwen Edwards, is a performance-based group whose annual season includes a comedy, drama and a musical, along with a summer arts camp. With their Thrive grant funds they hope to extend their productions from one week to two, increase children’s programming and build their governing board.

Thrive will provide an unrestricted $10,000 grant in year one with the option to apply for a second $10,000 grant, and also the opportunity to work on a capacity-building effort with a consultant (paid for by the Arts Council, up to $5,000) in year two, and mentor an incoming Thrive organization and receive a $5,000 stipend for their time in year three.

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