Skip to main content

Greater Columbus Arts Council Awards 2020 Operating Support: Phase Three, Project Support and Big Ideas Grants

in Press Releases December 17, 2020 4 min read

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Greater Columbus Arts Council board of trustees approved 25 grants totaling $2,591,544 in Operating Support: Phase Three, as well as five Project Support grants totaling $40,023 and three Big Ideas grants totaling $10,000.

These grants are made possible through funds the Arts Council receives from the city of Columbus, through the hotel/motel bed tax and the arts and culture fee, and from Franklin County.

“As we finish out this difficult year, it’s important we continue supporting the arts in Columbus, from individual artists fleshing out creative ideas, to bold new projects from arts organizations, to our larger institutions,” said Tom Katzenmeyer, president and CEO of the Arts Council. “Despite cuts to arts funding due to COVID-19, we’re committed to our signature grant programs, and are forging ahead into 2021, doing our best to meet the demands on our programs despite the unknown pace of economic recovery from the pandemic. We’re grateful to the City of Columbus and Franklin County for their continued support of the arts.”


As part of the Arts Council’s pandemic response, the Operating Support application deadline and the 2020 Operating Support process was modified to allocate awards in three phases. This enabled organizations to assess the impact of Ohio’s Stay-at-Home orders, focus on virtual programming and work on forecast scenarios. Phase One grants were approved in June for a total of $1,498,772 and Phase Two in September, also for $1,498,772. Prior to Phases Two and Three, organizations submitted updated financials, planning documents and surveys about reopening, staffing, equity work and other details.

Operating Support funds are available to established arts and culture organizations with an average three-year adjusted audited revenue of at least $150,000, that are well-managed, have significant impact and broad community engagement. Award amounts are contingent upon funds available.

For Phase Three of Operating Support grants, the Arts Council awarded $2,591,544 to the following 25 organizations:

Actors Theatre $20,154
Ballet Metropolitan, Inc. $186,592
CAPA $189,126
CATCO $88,335
Chamber Music Columbus $13,934
Columbus Children’s Choir $22,934
Columbus Children’s Theatre $82,642
Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus $31,699
Columbus Landmarks Foundation $26,690
Columbus Museum of Art $185,227
Columbus Symphony Orchestra $193,026
COSI $191,076
Franklin Park Conservatory $181,327
Gateway Film Center $122,762
Glass Axis $40,444
Jazz Arts Group $117,341
King Arts Complex $76,203
Ohio Designer Craftsmen $68,210
Ohio History Connection/Ohio Historical Society $113,044
Opera Columbus $94,746
ProMusica $109,899
Shadowbox Live $165,729
Short North Stage $61,531
Thurber House $44,898
Wexner Center for the Arts $163,975

TOTAL: $2,591,544

For 2020, total Operating Support awards were $5,589,088. In 2019, Operating Support grants totaling $5,312,563 were awarded to 25 organizations. This included funding from the Franklin County Board of Commissioners awarded in the fall of 2019.

The 2021 Operating Support deadline is May 1. No new applicants will be accepted in 2021 unless previously approved by the Arts Council.



The Arts Council board also approved five Project Support: Round Three grants totaling $40,023.

This included Urban Strings Columbus’ effort to honor and celebrate the legacy of artist Aminah Robinson by performing concerts composed and arranged by African American musicians. Held in conjunction with the Columbus Museum of Art’s exhibition Raggin’ On, musicians from Urban Strings will perform a concert with guest musicians from the Columbus Symphony, New Albany High School Chamber Orchestra and select string musicians from area ensembles.

For round three of Project Support grants, the Arts Council awarded $40,023 to the following five organizations:

OhioDance 2021 OhioDance Festival $17,900
Southeast, Inc. Fresh A.I.R. Gallery Exhibition Season $3,973
Urban Cultural Arts Foundation Art in the Hood – 2021 Exhibition Season $6,000
Urban Strings Columbus Raggin On – Honoring Aminah Robinson $6,000
We Amplify Voices Bridges of Love: Album Release Event + Panel $6,150

TOTAL: $40,023

Together with the first two rounds of grants in March and July, a total of $543,393 was awarded in Project Support for 2020.



New to 2020, Big Ideas grants are intended to uplift artist ideas and projects that bring all art forms out into the community. The Arts Council approved three Big Ideas grants totaling $10,000 in December.

This included Utpola Borah’s project exploring South Asian performing arts traditions in Ohio. Because the state is home to a large community from the Indian sub-continent, such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, Borah hopes to present traditional folk forms of these diaspora communities through performances across the city.

For this round, the Arts Council board of trustees awarded three Big Ideas grants totaling $10,000:

Micaela Gonzalez-Gammon Moving Into Our Future $3,500
Regina Zehner $3,500
Utpola Borah South Asian Performing Arts Traditions in Ohio $3,000

Total: $10,000

Together with the first two rounds awarded in February and July, a total of $49,000 was awarded in Big Ideas grants for 2020.

For more information on community funding, including guidelines and upcoming deadlines, go to or contact Alison Barret, director of Grants & Services at (614) 221-8406 or

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.

For translations of this release and other pages, please see the dropdown menu at the top right corner of


# # #

CONTACT: Jami Goldstein
(614) 221-8492