By Jennifer Sadler
The Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) is dedicated to providing quality arts experiences and understands that creative partnerships and collaborations are essential to supporting an environment where art and culture thrive. GCAC works to leverage its capacity building, programmatic and partnership building expertise to reach and assist a widening circle of arts organizations in Columbus.
By generating sustained support, and exploring and promoting arts-based initiatives, GCAC has led the way in fostering natural synergies among private and nonprofit organizations, audiences, community leaders and artists—the foundations of our creative environment. Growth is made in arts awareness, support and management when organizations use every opportunity to share their resources and expertise.
Our local arts sector has gone through major transformations as Columbus has grown and developed. And it has taken the work and of an entire community to gain the momentum that we are currently experiencing. GCAC has initiated several types of partnerships that encourage public participation in the arts; help local arts organizations to function more effectively; and support the professional development of arts leaders, arts educators and individual artists. Through advocacy, communication, cooperation and collaboration, GCAC is dedicated to ensuring the health of the arts and culture in Columbus and beyond.
2013 will mark the third year GCAC’s partnerships with the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus Dance Theatre and the Columbus Film Council in presenting our Individual Artist Fellowship (IAF) program in the visual arts, choreography and film and video. The IAF program provides unrestricted grants to artists of outstanding talent and ability who currently live in the City of Columbus or Franklin County, and have done so for at least one year.
In order to strengthen its Individual Artist Fellowships program, GCAC has reached out to a few organizations that have been a great fit for each fellowship category. Each partnership has added new and exciting dimensions to the fellowships including increased opportunities for exposure through exhibitions, dance concerts and more.
GCAC found the nationally acclaimed Columbus Museum of Art (CMA), an institution in our city for more than 130 years, to be a perfect partner for presenting the Visual Arts fellowship. The categories for the Visual Arts fellowship include crafts, photography, 2-D (painting, drawing, printmaking and mixed media) and 3-D visual arts (sculpture and installations).
As part of the partnership, the Columbus Museum of Art hosts an exhibition each year for Individual Artists Fellowship recipients and for the artists who’ve been chosen to participate in GCAC’s international residency program in Dresden, Germany.
“The GCAC and Museum partnership that presents the GCAC Visual Arts Exhibition at CMA each year encourages and supports cultural development in Columbus,” said Museum executive director Nannette V. Maciejunes. “The value of a program that provides unrestricted grants to artists of outstanding talent and ability to develop their creativity is immeasurable.”
The CMA’s exhibition each year gives the Columbus community an opportunity to view the incredible work created by the GCAC Individual Artist Fellowships.
“The variety and caliber of their art practices shows the range and wealth of artistic ideas in our city,” said Sarah J. Rogers, deputy director for institutional advancement at CMA.
In partnership with the Columbus Dance Theatre (CDT), the Columbus Dances Fellowships are designed to support local choreographers in their efforts to create new dance in the Columbus community. Fellowships are awarded to five choreographers whose work is then presented as an extension of Columbus Dance Theatre’s annual community dance concert, Columbus Dances, which is free to the public. Monetary and space grants are also awarded as part of the fellowships.
Choreographers submit new, original dances of 7-15 minutes in length in any style and an open adjudication is held at CDT’s Fisher Theatre. The adjudication panel is comprised of accomplished local and regional dance artists.
CDT’s artistic director, Tim Veach, says the company is pleased to continue this exciting partnership with GCAC in their efforts to support and inspire the dance community in Columbus.
“The work that has come out of the Columbus Dances Fellowships has been tremendous,” said Veach. “It is such a unique way to support the choreographers of the future."
There’s still some time for interested choreographers to apply for the fellowship and adjudication appointments must be made by January 7. The adjudications will be held at CDT, 592 E. Main St., 43215 on Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 2 p.m. Performances of Columbus Dances will be held at CDT’s Fisher Theatre on March 15 at 8 p.m. and March 16 at 3 and 8 p.m. Contact CDT managing director Sean Kessler at (614) 849-0227 or at email@example.com to schedule an adjudication time and request any further information.
The Columbus Film Council (CFC) tirelessly supports and encourages the work of film and video artists in the Columbus area. The council is also responsible for presenting the Columbus International Film + Video Festival, the longest running independent film and video festival in the United States.
The CFC offers a wealth of expertise for GCAC’s Media Fellowship – and executive director, Susan Halpern, understands what it means as an artist to receive a fellowship.
“I received a GCAC Fellowship in Media back in 1987-88 that really helped me gain recognition as a young filmmaker,” said Halpern. “So I know what a great benefit it is in becoming a Fellowship recipient.”
The Media Artist Fellowship program provides unrestricted grants to artists of outstanding talent and ability who currently live in the City of Columbus and/or Franklin County, and have done so for at least one year. The categories for Media Artist Fellowships include video, film and time based digital images.
As part of this partnership, the CFC screens work by the fellowship recipients at the acclaimed Columbus International Film + Video Festival that takes place each year in November. The recipients also receive their fellowship award at the ceremony for the CIF+V Festival’s Chris Awards, one of the most coveted awards for international indie filmmakers.
Halpern says that the CFC is thrilled to be able to support local filmmakers through the GCAC partnership.
“Aside from the money, which is always great, it's the ‘seal of approval’ that is so important for filmmakers,” said Halpern. “The recognition from both the GCAC and the CFC will hopefully open doors for filmmakers’ future endeavors—that really excite us at CFC.”
GCAC also supports the Thurber Prize for American Humor through Thurber House. First presented in 1997, this nationally recognized prize brings recognition to the jewels of the Columbus literary community and supports the national reputation of the Thurber House. The prize is open to published artists. For more information, go to the Thurber Prize page.
Back in 2004, WOSU general manager Tom Rieland and then GCAC executive director Ray Hanley created a partnership that led to the premiere of ArtZine in April of that year. More than 20 arts partners signed on to be part of the program and agreed to allow cameras into their creative process and WOSU began to showcase the artistic talents in Columbus on-air.
What started as a once-a-month production, the four-time Emmy Award winning program has evolved into ongoing mini-productions now shown before and after other WOSU programming and accessible online. Artzine is the city’s arts and culture newsmagazine, featuring highlights of some of the best artists and groups in the area.
“The partnership is one-of-a-kind,” said Cindy Gaillard, executive producer for Arts & Culture at WOSU Public Media. “GCAC had the respect, and more importantly, the trust, of major artistic organizations in Columbus. Having GCAC as a partner has allowed us to leverage that trust so that our cameras would be allowed back stage and behind curtains. That was key to making ArtZine not just another PBS arts—we literally took cameras behind the creative process and talked with artists about what they were creating, and the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of their process.”
Gaillard said she cannot stress enough the importance of gaining this trust from the arts community.
“If we didn’t have GCAC’s blessing, producers would never have had the access to create extraordinary (did I mention Emmy Award winning?) television. I’m talking unprecedented access – back stage at every major art institution in the city plus access to executive directors and curators for extended interviews.”
Mary Gray, director for the Ohio Arts Council's Riffe Gallery says that the gallery owes WOSU a debt of sincere gratitude for the "terrific media exposure" they've received through Artzine over the last several years on-air and on-line.
"With limited dollars available for promoting Riffe Gallery exhibitions, the opportunity to share news of our programming through Artzine gives our community profile a tremendous boost," said Gray. "We appreciate Cindy Gaillard’s unwavering enthusiasm for all art forms in our hometown, and for the award-winning talent of the Artzine production team. We thank WOSU - and GCAC for its generous and essential financial support of Artzine."
First launched in 2010 and currently in its second year of grant programming, PNC Arts Alive has already provided 39 grants totaling $1.5 million to central Ohio arts organizations. The program has earned local and national commendation from GCAC and Americans for the Arts in New York City.
Through the first years of PNC Arts Alive grant programming, organizations have increased audiences, created new collaborations and partnerships, have lowered the barriers to participation and achieved direct business benefits that have enhanced their sustainability. To maximize the benefits of PNC Arts Alive locally, PNC has partnered with leading community arts organizations including GCAC and the Ohio Arts Council, using their input to bring the program to the region.
The PNC Foundation recently announced a $1 million, four-year extension for the innovative PNC Arts Alive program, supporting visual and performing arts in Central Ohio with a focus on increasing audience participation and engagement.
Michael Gonsiorowski, PNC Bank regional president for Central Ohio said that “by extending PNC Arts Alive, the program will continue to build upon this positive momentum, support new and imaginative arts programs that enrich our community and will help strengthen our local economy.”
Organizations funded to date have spanned the Columbus metropolitan and regional communities, representing disciplines including music, dance, theater and visual arts. The funded programs have blended traditional and new media into performances and include components that offer unique cultural and alternative learning experiences. A complete list of previous grant recipients is available at the PNC Arts Alive website.
“The PNC Arts Alive program has been a tremendous asset to central Ohio and to the region’s ongoing efforts to leverage our rich cultural resources,” said City Councilmember and GCAC board member Priscilla Tyson. “By making the arts accessible to more people, PNC has not only increased the number of arts participants, but also has helped cultivate a generation of future patrons for museums and the performing arts.”
PNC will accept grant proposals for increments of $20,000 and above from qualified arts organizations that support fresh and emerging arts programs, value-added public programming and creative use of technology, while seeking to expand audiences. Proposals can be submitted beginning January 15 and are due by February 15. Additional information about program guidelines and the application process is available at www.pncartsalive.com. The next round of grants will be announced in June 2013.
GCAC has initiated several partnerships in the past several years to provide free marketing support services to dozens of local arts and cultural organizations.
Marketing partnerships with ColumbusUnderground.com, CD102.5FM and Columbus Young Professionals Club (CYP) offer a chance for arts organizations to share information about their organizations and upcoming events with thousands of readers and listeners.
At the beginning of each year, GCAC’s grantees and other local arts and cultural organizations can sign up for articles including GCAC Presents, a bi-weekly column featured on the weekly online publication ColumbusUnderground.com; an article in CYP’s newsletter and live interviews on the morning show featured on CD102.5 (“Columbus’ Alternative Radio Station”).
Columbus Gay Men's Chorus is an arts organization that has many times taken advantage of GCAC free marketing initiatives and appreciates the exposure and chance to reach audiences beyond their performances in a unique and direct way.
"GCAC’s partnership with CD102.5 enabled the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus to engage a wider audience and helped us fulfill our mission to educate the Central Ohio community about GLBT acceptance and inclusion,” said Patrick Rohrenbeck.
Columbus is known internationally for its talented poets and vibrant poetry scene. But locally, the public isn't always aware of the many great forums and events that go on every week. Scott Woods, an acclaimed local poet and leader of Writers' Block Poetry Forum works tirelessly to raise awareness of the talent here in Columbus and has written articles for GCAC Presents and taken part in CD102.5's on-air interviews.
"For grassroots art groups, advertising is essential. The audience is our currency with which to purchase hold in other areas. Being able to access larger, more general art-interested audiences with things like GCAC's outlets is a real boon," said Woods.
For its annual Public Forum, GCAC will present a discussion regarding collaborations in our community. Designed to provide artists, non-profits, creative businesses and funders with information on building community partnerships through creative collaborations, the panel discussion and Q&A will be hosted by the Columbus Museum of Art on Wednesday, January 30 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Admission is free.
The panel includes PNC’s senior VP director of Client & Community Relations, Pat Cash; the Columbus Museum of Art’s executive director, Nannette Maciejunes; CAPA’s president and CEO, Bill Conner; and Ohio Dance executive director, Jane D’Angelo and moderated by David Brown of the Harmony Project. They bring a wealth of experience to a range of topics including the risks, rewards and challenges of different community collaborations. Topics will include artistic collaborations—between arts organizations or between artists and organizations; administrative collaborations such as shared services; and community collaborations between arts social service and education organizations.
The panel will be held on the night of a Thurber Reading, a collaborative series between the Columbus Museum of Art and the Thurber House.
Feature image: Shadowbox Live and BalletMet, first year recipients of the PNC Arts Alive grant in Columbus created "Make It Live!" as an audience development and education component of their collaboration to create a full-length World Premier of 7 Deadly Sins, combining the seemingly opposite qualities of rock-n-roll and ballet. Image is a scene from the production.
Learn more about the Columbus arts community and check out events happening around town as well as information about individual artists, by visiting www.ColumbusArts.com.