Strengthening investment and engagement in the arts FOR ARTISTS.

The Ohio Arts Council seeks to be a resource for the many talented artists residing and working in our state. Through its  Individual Excellence Awards, Traditional Arts Apprenticeship, and  Artists with Disabilities Access Program grants, the OAC honors artistic achievement and promotes creative collaboration that transcends generational and cultural boundaries. 

In addition to these funding programs, Ohio artists are further recognized and appreciated through the Ohio Poet Laureate and Spotlight: Featured Artists at the Governor's Residence programs, as well as the annual selection of Heritage Fellowship Award recipients. Check this page often to keep up-to-date with other  opportunities currently available to individual artists.


FY19 Panelist Bios

Paveen (Beer) Chunhaswasdikul, born in Thailand on May 23, 1967, goes by the name given to him by his father at birth, “Beer” for short. After graduating from high school in Thailand, he came to United States to study English at Gadsden State Community College (GSCC) in 1985. After graduating from GSCC, he attended Jacksonville State University (JSU). Beer discovered pottery in the course of an art class taught by Steve Loucks at JSU. In 1993 Beer graduated from JSU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. During his education at JSU, he discovered a love for designing and making pottery. After successful business venture, he longed to return to his first love, pottery. In 2002 he set up a small studio, and he started to work with clay again on his own. Persuaded by friends and inspired by media coverage, now Beer is a full-time potter living in Gadsden, Alablama.

Motoko Furuhashi was born in 1982 in Tokyo, Japan. She received her MFA in Metals from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work has been exhibited nationally including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and the Oakland Museum of California. She is a professor at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Her work is inspired by natural cycle of growth, decay, and death – and the complexity of the processes that govern life between one place and the next. Using specifics sites as her medium, she expands the conceptual meaning and purpose of the object, and play with the audience’s understanding of place. Relevant to the site from which materials have been excavated, each object is a representation of the specific correlations between time, location, perception, and importance; each carrying the history of the site captured within. Her work is distant memories embodied, and histories waiting to be told.

Sherri Smith After earning her M.F.A. degree, Sherri Smith worked as a textile designer in New York City for Dorothy Liebes and for Boris Kroll Fabrics, where she designed jacquard woven textiles for interiors. She then accepted a faculty post at Colorado State University, where she taught for three years. She joined the University of Michigan School of Art and Design in 1974. Smith developed the School’s fibers program and has continued to be the only permanent faculty member in that field. Her current work is strip woven and takes its images from mathematics and the sciences. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she served for seven years as the School’s associate dean for graduate studies and, for a period of six months, held the post of interim dean. Smith has been prominent since 1969, when one of her pieces was exhibited at Wall Hangings, a groundbreaking exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City credited with launching the field of fibers as an art form. Since that time, her work has been represented in many important exhibitions, among them four Biennales of Tapestry in Lausanne, Switzerland, the third Tapestry Triennale in Lodz, Poland, Fiberworks at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Old Traditions - New Directions at the Textile Museum of Washington, D.C., and The Art Fabric - Mainstream at the San Francisco Museum of Art and nine other major museums. Other exhibition venues have included the Milwaukee Museum of Art, Manhattan’s Contemporary Crafts Museum, the International Minitextile Biennale of Szombathy, Hungary, the fourth Biennal of Fiber in Chieri, Italy, and the Textilmuseum of St Gallen, Switzerland. In addition to many one-woman exhibitions, Smith has been part of many invitation exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. Her pieces have been featured in many seminal books on the subject of fibers.

Ryan Claytor is an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University where he teaches Comics Studio courses and is spearheading the development of a Comics Minor. In 2007, he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from San Diego State University with an emphasis in multimedia, researching autobiography in comics. Claytor's achievements have included four S.P.A.C.E. (Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo) Prizes for his work in comics, a Cartoonist in Residence position at the Cartoon Art Museum, visiting lecturerships at the Dallas Museum of Art , The Center for Cartoon Studies, and The Savannah College of Art and Design, an internship with Marvel Comics, and judging the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing Award. In 2009, Claytor had a featured exhibition of his work in San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum and Claytor began teaching the first Comics and Visual Narrative course in Michigan State University's history. He has also served as the Director of the Michigan State University Comics Forum, an event for scholars, creators and fans, since 2009.

Katie Hudnall received her BFA from the Corcoran College of Art & Design and her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Furniture Design/Woodworking. She has been the recipient of a Virginia Museum of Fine Art Fellowship, the Windgate Wood Residency at the University of Madison, Wisconsin, an Anderson Ranch Residency and most recently a Peter S. Reed Foundation Fellowship. Her work has been included in many publications and exhibitions including Studio Furniture: The Next Generation, Crafting A Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft, and Beyond Boundaries at SOFA Chicago. She lives and works in Indianapolis, IN, where she teaches Furniture Design at the Herron School of Art & Design. Soonduk Krebs has been managing and operating SK Designworks since the beginning. Prior to forming SKDW, she worked as a practicing designer, during which time she learned how to understand and address the needs of a wide range of clients, from multi-national corporations, to small, local not-for-profit entities. Today, Soonduk uses her experience to develop creative, dynamic design solutions for some of the region’s most important commercial, educational, public service and not-for-profit institutions. Soonduk’s work has been featured in peer-reviewed publications, including Communication Arts, Graphis, Print, AR100, and How. Sooduk is on faculty at the Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. You will find her searching for cheap Broadway show tickets online whenever she has a little time.

Mark Jeffery (B. 1973 Doveridge, UK) is a Chicago based Performance / Installation Artist, Curator and teacher. Mark received his BA (Hons) in Visual Performance from Dartington College of Arts in UK. He was awarded a Junior Fellowship in Live Art between the University of the West of England and Arnolfini Live. He has been making collaborative and non-collaborative performance / installation / internet / screen works and participation based exhibits in numerous spaces and contexts since 1993 including ASU Art Museum, Arizona, Cathedral Quarter Lincoln, UK, Edinburgh College of Art, Inspace, Edinburgh, Hyde Park Art Center Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Ontological Theatre NYC, Performance Studies #15 Zagreb, Croatia, Interrupt Digital Arts Festival (Brown University), Kunsthalle Museum (Norway), Site Unseen (Chicago Cultural Centre), Nottdance (Nottingham), Taxi Gallery (Cambridge, UK), National Review of Live Art (Glasgow), ICA (London), Arnolfini (Bristol), Firstsite (Colchester), Green Room (Manchester), and Chapter (Cardiff). He was a member of Goat Island Performance Group from 1996 - 2009. He collaborated and performed in 5 of Goat Island's works, touring and teaching extensively across North America and Europe. Teaching included a 10 year-long annual summer performance institute at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Other educational cities including Bristol, Glasgow, Nottingham, Aberystwyth, Zagreb, Prague and Berlin. Goat Island completed touring its last performance work, The Lastmaker, in February 2009. Performances included PS122 (NYC), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Eurokaz Festival (Zagreb), The House of World Cultures (Berlin), New Moves (Glasgow) and Arnolfini (Bristol). The company presented their penultimate work 'When Will the September Roses Bloom Last Night Was Only a Comedy' at the Venice Biennale in 2005. Mark is currently an Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he teaches in the Performance Department. Since 2006 he has been active curating performance in Chicago including the bi annual IN-TIME performance series hosted by the Chicago Cultural Center. In 2013 IN-TIME will become citywide with 12 venues participating in a festival of performance. Other curatorial projects in Chicago have included OPENPORT a Performance, Language and Sound series, Intimate and Epic: Small Acts for the City in Millennium Park in Chicago, in 2011; an exhibition, performance and symposium at The School of the Art Institute called The Simulationists. In 2012 he curated a screening at Hyde Park Art Center of performance and dance video and films titled: Paying Attention. In 2009, Mark began a new collaborative teaching summer Performance Institute with Matthew Goulish and Lin Hixson titled Abandoned Practices - something out of the ordinary: This past summer Abandoned Practices took place in Prague and will continue to do so in 2013.

Nicolás Dumit Estévez treads an elusive path that manifests itself performatively or through experiences where the quotidian and art overlap. He has exhibited and performed extensively in the U.S. as well as internationally at venues such as Madrid Abierto/ARCO, The IX Havana Biennial, PERFORMA 05 and 07, IDENSITAT, Prague Quadrennial, The Pontevedra Biennial, The Queens Museum of Art, MoMA, Printed Matter, P.S. 122, Hemispheric Institute of Performance Art and Politics, Princeton University, Rutgers University, The Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary, The MacDowell Colony, Provisions Library, El Museo del Barrio, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, The Center for Book Arts, Longwood Art Gallery/BCA, The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Franklin Furnace, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. During the past seven years Estévez has received mentorship in art in everyday life from Linda Mary Montano, a historic figure in the field of performance art. Montano and Estévez have also collaborated on several performances. Residencies attended include P.S. 1/MoMA, Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. He has received grants from Art Matters, Lambent Foundation, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, Printed Matter and Puffin Foundation. Estévez Holds an MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; and an MA from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Estévez has curated exhibitions and programs for El Museo del Barrio, the Institute for Art, Religion and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary, Longwood Art Gallery/Bronx Council on the Arts, and the Queens Museum of Art, New York; and for the Filmoteca de Andalucía, Córdoba, Spain. He is currently curating an exhibition from El Museo del Barrio’s permanent collection. Publications include Pleased to Meet You, Life as Material for Art and Vice Versa (editor) and For Art’s Sake. Born in Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros, Dominican Republic, in 2011 Estévez was baptized as a Bronxite; a citizen of the Bronx.

Elizabeth Mesa-Gaido is an actively exhibiting artist and has participated in exhibitions for over two decades, including one person, international to regional juried, and invitational. Her pieces have been presented at numerous venues, including the Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture, Mexic-Arte Museum, Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Spaces, Indianapolis Art Center, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Alexandria Museum of Art, Speed Art Museum, Evansville Museum of Art, Avampato Discovery Museum, Cleveland State University, University of Kentucky, Florida State University’s Museum of Fine Arts, William King Museum of Art, and Aluna Art Foundation.

Mesa-Gaido's work has been supported through grants, such as Art Matters, Alternate Roots, the Kentucky Arts Council, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Great Meadows Foundation. Recognition of her work is evident through awards at competitive international, national and regional juried exhibitions. A portion of Mesa-Gaido’s installation, Cuban-American Piñatas, is part of The Cuban Museum’s permanent collection in Miami, Florida, and commissions include the Carnegie Museum of National History, Speed Art Museum, and the Lexington Arts and Cultural Council.

Images and/or critical reviews of Elizabeth Mesa-Gaido’s artwork have been published in books, journals, periodicals and newspapers, including: In the Land of Mirrors: Cuban Exile Politics (University of Michigan); The Latino Studies Reader: Culture, Politics and Society (Oxford: Blackwell); Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Philosophy, Psychology and the Arts (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University); Fiberart International (Fiber Arts Guild of Pittsburgh); Bound (The Women’s Caucus for Art); Art Miami; The Nation, New Art Examiner, ART PAPERS, The Miami Herald, and Surface Design Journal.

Elizabeth Mesa-Gaido teaches at Morehead State University and has a studio in Morehead, Kentucky. She received her M.F.A. degree from Ohio University and her B.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Rebecca Baron is a Los Angeles-based media artist known for her lyrical essay films which explore the construction of history, with a particular interest in still photography and its relationship to the moving image. Her work has screened widely at international film festivals and media venues including dodumenta 12, Internationals Film Festival Rotterdam, New York Film Festival, Anthology Film Archive, Toronto Film Festival, London Film Festival, Pacific Film Archive, Flaherty Film Seminar, Viennale and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her films have received awards at the San Francisco, Black Maria, Montreal, Leipzig, Athens, Onion City, KIN, Sinking Creek and Ann Arbor Film Festivals. She is the recipient of a 2002 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2007 Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She has taught documentary and experimental film at Massachusetts College of Art, Harvard University and since 2000 at California Institute of the Arts.

Bill Brown is a filmmaker, a photographer, multi-media artist and an author who has produced the films Rosewell (1995), Buffalo Common (2001), And Chicago Corner (2009), A Question of Reentry (2016) and XCTRY (2018), as well as collaborations with Sabine Gruffat. He is the author of all 14 issues of the zine Dream Whip and the book “Saugus to the Sea.” His works have been included in the following festivals, Sundance Film Festival, London Film Festival and the Lincoln Center. He is also a visiting filmmaker at Wexner Center for the arts. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Juan Juarez is a professor, director of graduate studies and graduate program coordinator at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. His approach to images develops out of an intersection between inherent meaning and conceptual translation navigated by painting sensibilities. The intersection between photography and painting creates a state of hybridity, a critical platform, connected to our contemporary immersion with images. His studio practice employs photography, painting, collage, video installation, and digital mediation in broad terms, concept determines methodology. He has exhibited in galleries and museums such as the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee, Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi & Rio Terra San Vio, Venice, Italy, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, UK, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, and Gallery 400 at University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago.

Jamie M. Allen is the Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Associate Curator in the Department of Photography at the George Eastman Museum. She has curated exhibitions such as Photography and America’s National Parks (2016), A History of Photography (2015), In the Garden (2015), Astro-Visions (2013), Between the States: Photographs of the American Civil War (2011), Portrait (2010), and The Photograph Collection: An Introduction (2008). Her books include The Photographer in the Garden (Aperture, 2018), Picturing America’s National Parks (Aperture, 2016), and the essay “From Vision to Reality: A Transition from Pictorialism to Modernism” in Imogen Cunningham (TF Editores/D.A.P, 2012/2013). She is currently co-curating two exhibitions: Nathan Lyons: In Pursuit of Magic, which will open at the George Eastman Museum in January 2019 with an accompanying catalog of the same title; and Bea Nettles: Harvest of Memory, which will open at the Sheldon Art Galleries in St. Louis, Missouri in the fall of 2019 also with an accompanying book of the same title. Allen holds an M.A. in photographic preservation and collections management from Ryerson University in coordination with the George Eastman Museum, as well as a B.A. in art history and a B.F.A. in photography from the University of Arizona, Tucson.

David Hartt’s multidisciplinary work in photography, sculpture, installation, and digital film considers the history of social and cultural ideals in relation to the built environment. “Place and sometimes architecture function as a proxy for the human condition,” Hartt notes. “I’m interested in the specificity of a place. What narratives and belief systems does it reveal?” Subjects of his work have included a forgotten Puerto Rican housing project (in the forest, 2017), and the post-war black American experience as reflected in the headquarters of the Johnson Publishing Company in downtown Chicago (Stray Light, 2013). His work is held in the collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Studio Museum in Harlem; Art Institute of Chicago; and the National Gallery of Canada, among others. Hartt is the recipient of a 2012 United States Artists Cruz Fellowship and a 2011 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award. He is assistant professor in the department of fine arts at the University of Pennsylvania, and holds a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2018 with Center support, Hartt will create a site-responsive, multimedia installation to activate Beth Sholom Synagogue, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed National Historic Landmark.

Sharon Lee Hart is a DC born visual artist whose work explores the relationship between humans, other animals, and the natural world. Her practice primarily focuses on photography, mixed media, and book arts. She recently completed According to the Sky, a photographic meditation on the sea inspired by mythology, astronomy, and mysticism. Her work has been exhibited throughout the US and internationally. Recent exhibitions include According to the Sky (solo) with Martine Chaisson Gallery in New Orleans and Outlaw Culture: Or A Higher Ground (group), curated by william cordova at Bridge Red Studios Project Space in Miami. Hart’s work is in several permanent collections including The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Jaffe Center for Book Arts. In the last few years she has been an artist-in-residence at The Studios of Key West, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, Rancho Linda Vista, and Art and Art History Museum in Florida. She is currently curating Arboreal, an exhibition in which divergent artists respond to humble, unexpected, and imagined trees. She earned her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hart maintains an active studio in South Florida, where she is the Head of the Photography program and an Assistant Professor of Art at Florida Atlantic University.

Hend Al-Mansour had a passion for art from a young age. She was acutely aware of her limitations in terms of freedom and status as a Saudi Arabian woman. At the age of sixteen she decided to become a doctor and was accepted into Medical School in Cairo, Egypt. She practiced medicine for many years but also became known for the large figure paintings that she drew and painted in the doctor’s rooms.

In 1997 Al-Mansour seized an opportunity to move to the United States. Once she arrived, she automatically gained the freedom being a female physician had formerly provided her. This newfound independence enabled her to relinquish a career in medicine and return to art, the one thing that was always deeply fulfilling for her.

In 2002 Al-Mansour both got married and obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota and in 2013 she was awarded a Master of Art History degree from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota where her husband, David Penchansky, teaches. The master’s program also allowed her to examine art from a different perspective and trace the invisible path of Arab artistic production in the pre-Islamic era. Her master’s thesis was a field research project focused on the mid-twentieth century shift in henna art in her hometown of Al-Hasa, Saudi Arabia.

Al-Mansour’s art reflects the female culture of her hometown of Al-Hasa. Arabic and Islamic aesthetics influence her work which references gender politics in the Arab world. In vibrant colors, her screen-prints integrate stylized figures, Arabic calligraphy, and designs of Sadou (Bedouin design) and henna. In addition to printing she makes shrine-like spaces out of printed fabric. Secluded by ceilings, rugs, columns and domes and nuanced by sound and light, such installations recall both Bedouin tents, and Islamic architecture.

Al-Mansour was a recipient of Jerome fellowship of printmaking in 2013/14 and the juror’s award of the Contemporary Islamic Art exhibition in Riyadh Saudi Arabia in 2012. She has participated in regional, national and international art shows, given speeches about Arab art and her personal journey, and curated exhibitions featuring Middle Eastern artists. She is a co-founder of the group Arab Artists in the Twin Cities and was a member of the Arab American Cultural Institute in Minnesota where she worked to promote the understanding and expression of Arab culture in the West.

Nick Deford is an artist, educator, and arts administrator who resides in Knoxville, TN. His embroidery and mixed media work explores the visual culture of cartography, occult imagery, game boards, geographical souvenirs, and other structures of information that is altered to examine the relationship of identity, space, and place. He received his MFA from Arizona State University, and a MS and BFA from the University of Tennessee. He exhibits nationally, with exhibitions at Coastal Carolina University, The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, University of Mississippi, Lindenwood University, and the William King Museum. He has had artwork or writing published in Surface Design Journal, Elephant Magazine, Hayden Ferry Review, and Willow Springs. Currently, Nick is the Program Director at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee and works on his fiber art practice from his home studio.

Erin Hoffman is a full-time tenured art instructor at Muskegon Community College in Muskegon, Michigan teaching Printmaking, Art Appreciation, Drawing, Painting, Figure Drawing, Contemporary Art History and 2-d design. Erin received her BFA from the University of Northern Iowa and MFA from University of Georgia and both degrees are in printmaking. She uses woodcut, lithography, and drawing as her primary media and has exhibited in over 80 exhibitions nationwide including most recently a solo show called “Reflections From the Cradle of Democracy” at the Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio.

Cindy Cheng is an artist working in Baltimore, MD. Rooted in the practice of drawing, she explores the relationship between drawings and objects through complex constructions and explorations into ceramics. Cheng likes thinking about how built structures and artifacts may act as an incubator for history, memory and reflections on the physical and abstract self. She enjoys puzzles. Cheng has been a resident at the Vermont Studio Center and at the Anderson Ranch Artist Residency and in 2017 she was awarded the Sondheim Artscape Prize. She was a finalist for the 2016 and 2017 Trawick Prize, winning second place in 2017. She has participated in group and solo shows at St Charles Projects, Baltimore, MD, ‘Sindikit Project (a collaboration with Cheeny-Celebrado Royer), Baltimore, MD, Present Junction, Toronto, Canada, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, MD, Flashpoint, Washington, DC, E-merge Art Fair. Cheng received her BA from Mount Holyoke College. She received a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from MICA in 2008 and then earned an MFA from MICA’s Mount Royal School of Art in 2011. She is currently teaching at Maryland Institute College of Art in the Drawing Department.

Aristotle Georgiades received a B.F.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.F.A. from the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago. He is currently a professor of Art/ Sculpture at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His work ranges from issues of male identity, labor economic, and more recently, the changing American landscape in a post-industrial economy. He works in wood, metal, and recycled architectural materials. Mr. Georgiades has exhibited his sculptural works nationally and internationally in both curated group and solo exhibitions. He has had many reviews of his work in various publications including Art in America, Sculpture Magazine and The Chicago Tribune. He is also part of the collaborative public art team Actual Size Artworks (with Gail Simpson) which produce large scale permanent and temporary public works.

Virgil Marti creates hybrid objects and environments informed by a wide range of art-historical and pop-cultural references. Known for inserting high décor into fine art contexts, his installations are rich in humor and shrewd observation. After attending Skowhegan in 1990, he worked for many years as a master printer and project coordinator at The Fabric Workshop and Museum. His work was included in the The Jewel Thief at The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum (2010), La Biennale de Montréal (2007), Whitney Biennial 2004, and Apocalyptic Wallpaper at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (1997). Recent collaborative projects and solo shows include Set Pieces at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2010), Ah! Sunflower at the Visual Art Center, Richmond, VA (2008), and Directions: Virgil Marti/Pae White at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. (2007).

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Individual Excellence Award

The Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award deadline is September 1, 2020, at 5 p.m.

For the deadline this year, we will be accepting applications in the following disciplines: crafts, interdisciplinary, media arts, design arts, visual art 2D, visual art 3D, and photography. One application is accepted per applicant. To read the full program guidelines, click on the button below:

Read the Application Guidelines