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VAN WERT -- Two local organizations received grants from the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) this past weeked for operating support. The Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation (VWAPAF) received $21,458 while Off Stage Productions was granted $4,350.

At a public meeting on June 19, 2014, the OAC board approved the first round of grants for fiscal year 2015 and grant ratifications for fiscal year 2014. As a result, the OAC will award 481 grants totaling $9,358,089 to support arts organizations, arts programs and artists across Ohio. Organizations that receive OAC funds are required to match state tax dollars with additional public and private funds.
The local recipients received grants in the OAC's Sustainability Program The Sustainability Program provides two-year grants for organizational operating support. This program supports Ohio organizations that plan and conduct ongoing arts programs for either a full year of programming or a recurring single project or activity. The program supports organizations that offer broad-based arts programming in any discipline (i.e., performing arts, literature, traditional arts, visual arts, etc.) that is produced and presented by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, other nonprofit or government entities, and colleges or universities that offer arts programming.

In all, a total of $5,085,000 was awarded to forty-three (43) of Ohio's major arts institutions with budgets of more than $1.5 million. And the OAC board approved 246 grants for a total of $3,355,158 for organizations with budgets of less than $1.5 million.

Arts Access Twenty-eight (28) Arts Access grants were approved totaling $484,342. The Arts Access program provides two-year grants for organizational operating support for Ohio organizations with budgets under $30,000 that plan and conduct ongoing arts programs.

Arts Learning: Arts Partnership Forty-one (41) Arts Partnership grants were awarded totaling $82,924. The program provides one- or two-year grants to support activities that enhance the quality of and access to learning in the arts for learners of all ages, backgrounds, experience levels and abilities.

Arts Learning:Artist in Residence The Artist in Residence Program (AIR) awarded seventeen (17) grants for a total of $42,400. AIR places accomplished, professional artists in a variety of educational and community settings.

Individual Creativity: Traditional Arts Apprenticeships Seven (7) Traditional Arts Apprenticeships were approved totaling $25,807. The program provides support for a master artist and one or more apprentices to work together in an intensive individual study program that preserves the traditional art forms of Ohio residents. Examples of traditional arts include, but are not limited to: Polish paper cutting, blues music, stone carving, Appalachian fiddling, embroidery, African dance, icon painting, Irish step dancing, woodcarving, Chicano corridor singing, quilting, tamburitza music and polka.

Project Support Ninety-nine (99) Project Support grants were approved totaling $282,440. The Project Support program provides flexible funding to help organizations complete short-term projects addressing a wide variety of goals and objectives through two types of project grants - General Project and Creative Economy Project. General Project grants support a broad range of activities, including the routine programming of first-time applicants, one-time special events or initiatives, agency-wide capacity building endeavors and unforeseen opportunities for new work over and above organizations' regular programming. Creative Economy projects may be funded at either the planning or implementation stage, for activities that create jobs, revitalize communities or downtowns, and draw cultural tourists.

Grant Award Ratifications Ratifications are the board's final approval of funds allocated in various program areas since the April 3, 2014 board meeting. The board ratified 19 grants from 2014 totaling $110,091. These awards have not been announced previously.

Grant applications were reviewed this past winter and spring by panels of arts experts. The OAC board, currently consisting of 13 gubernatorial appointees and four nonvoting members from the Ohio legislature, makes final decisions based on panel recommendations. The OAC approved a total of $9.36 million for 481 grants.

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically.