As you will recall from your early middle and high school years, the second semester marked a fresh start. I remember making plans to study harder while still dreaming about what was yet to come—a new boyfriend, a long summer, our family vacation. It’s not too different in the arts world. As 2019 begins it is a reset for the Ohio Arts Council too. Our grantees have begun writing applications to secure needed funding to serve the people in their communities through arts and culture. To start, it's an on-year for our Sustainability grantees, and directors of all types (executive, development, artistic, etc.) are busy preparing their applications to this four-year grant program that provides flexible and reliable funding support to a wide range of the state’s arts providers as they make high-quality arts experiences available to residents and visitors, positioning our state as a national leader in creativity, artistry, and cultural wealth. In the Arts Learning world, I know teachers are busy completing TeachArtsOhio applications because the OAC’s Jarred Small has been spending a significant part of his day on the phone answering questions and serving as a cheerleader for good ideas and great plans to integrate the services of Ohio’s artists into their plans for student success. Meanwhile, Chiquita Mullins Lee is busy with Poetry Out Loud and our five regional partners. POL semi-finals will be underway soon, just as planning intensifies for the POL State Finals on March 8 at the King Arts Complex in Columbus. We will also conduct our January board meeting led by Chair Ginger Warner, our fearless leader, later this month. The board will review the agency’s income and expenses, recommend grant awards, discuss policy issues, and have a special presentation about the Ohio Arts Education Data Dashboard . The meeting is open to the public and will be held in our offices on Jan. 30 at 10 a.m., so feel free to join us! Susan Gottlieb, a dear friend and advocate for the arts, passed away in late 2017. You may remember that Susan curated the Artists of the Winding Road A-Z exhibition at the OAC’s Riffe Gallery in 2016. Her love of the arts, her marketing background, and mostly her arts tenacity made her a shining star in the arts world. As part of her estate, she bequeathed her ceramics collection to the Ohio Arts Council. We received and catalogued the collection in fall 2018 and now display it proudly in our offices. The public is welcome to visit and see the stunning works—which belong to all Ohioans. Susan’s gift will be cherished, and we anticipate a variety of opportunities for the ceramics to be shown over the coming years. Like every agency and department of Ohio’s governmental structure, we anxiously await the next steps in the state budget process. We submitted our budget request in October 2018, and we anticipate Governor Mike DeWine’s budget proposal later this winter, followed by the process of testifying before the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate’s Finance subcommittees of jurisdiction. The entire process, right through June 30, 2019, is an opportunity for me to share the stories of our agency’s excellent financial stewardship and the impact of our grantees. As is always the case, all grantees are encouraged to share their arts projects and programs with your House and Senate members so that they are familiar with how funding from the Ohio Arts Council makes a positive difference in your many communities. At the Ohio Arts Council our story is you—your success allows us to demonstrate the positive impact of arts funding and future needs in every county. Our stories are foundationally aligned to our 2020 State Arts Plan to lead, invest, innovate, and engage. We know first-hand that when we work the plan, Ohio wins! So, just like the annual opportunity to reset, we continue to stay true to our mission. We’re working and studying hard to innovate and lead, we’re prepping for more than a dozen panel meetings, and we’re dreaming about a new budget that allows us to continue to serve you and everyone in Ohio in and through the arts! What does your new semester look like? What are you working hard on achieving in the arts? Will your dreams make it to the grant application page? We’re here to support your efforts and look forward to our high marks come fiscal year-end on June 30! Until next time, Donna S. Collins Executive Director Featured photo: (Left to right) 2018 Poetry Out Loud State Finals competitors Magnus Saebo, third place winner; Anna Kahle, 2018 second place winner; and Caroline Delaney, 2018 State Champion at the State Finals competition. Photo by Terry Gilliam.