Area artists awarded grants from OAC, $400k distributed


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)- Artists make art regardless of the pandemic constraining outside opportunities. That is why the Ohio Arts Council continued to offer a grant program. Artists from around the state entered their creations for a chance at winning an individual $4,000 grant.

Andrea Myers and Gina Osterloh are two of the 75 recipients of the grant. By day, Myers homeschools her children. By night, she gets creative in her studio.

“Individual Excellence Awards represent an investment in imagination, artistry, and talent by giving artists the resources to innovate, explore their art forms, develop skills, and advance their careers,” said Donna S. Collins who is the Executive Director of the Ohio Arts Council. “These awards honor the outstanding accomplishments of Ohio artists, who we are proud to support as they continue to shape creative conversations in our state through their work in and mastery of their chosen disciplines and crafts.”

Grant Criteria

  • Members of the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) board have approved $300,000 in grant funding to be awarded to 75 Ohio artists through the OAC’s Individual Excellence Awards program for the state fiscal year 2021.
  • Individual Excellence Awards are peer recognition of a creative artist’s body of work that exemplifies their specific discipline and advances the larger artistic community. These awards support artists’ growth and development and recognize their work in Ohio and beyond.
  • During this funding cycle, applications in crafts, design, interdisciplinary arts, media arts, photography, visual arts 2D, and visual arts 3D were accepted.
  • Each award is $4,000.
  • The grants were approved at the OAC board’s winter board meeting on Jan. 20.
    Individual Excellence Award funding is awarded through an open panel review process focused on the basis of the exceptional merit of an artist’s past body of work.
Andrea Myers sewing
Photo courtesy Sven Kahns

Andrea Myers, textile designer

Myers homeschools her daughter and is an Art Professor at Kenyon College. By night, she gets creative in her studio.

“Make sense or describe the indescribable,” Myers said of her textile designs. “It’s almost like a pixelation.”

Her work is similar to quilting, but not exactly. She takes materials and sews them together. Some of her projects take up a lot of space. Right now she uses a spare room in her home.

She plans to use the grant money to help build an exterior studio.

“Putting color into the world, I think, is kind of like a positive expression,” said Myers.

You can enjoy more of Myers’ work on her Instagram Feed

07-Gina Osterloh_HoldingZero-1
Photo Courtesy Gina Osterloh

Gina Osterloh, Photographer

“How does a viewer see or determine that I’m different from them?” said Osterloh. “It’s really an extension of me growing up a mixed-race in Ohio.”

Osterloh likes to use camouflage in her photography. No, not the common kind of camouflage a hunter or armed forces personnel would utilize. Instead, she spins the look of the room to play with how a viewer might try to ascertain identity.

“In a portrait, we want to see the facial features and that these facial features mean x, y, and z,” said Osterloh. “Turning my face away or covering my face with hair were early strategies.”

The idea of figuring out where someone is from or their race can be nerve-racking when you’re the object of the query.

“That question of ‘What are you’ was definitely a reality and also something that opens up a lot of questions about how we see, how we look, how we construct identity categories.”

As with most artwork, you have to see it to appreciate what is being demonstrated. Word in this article probably will not explain the concepts or ideas being displayed.

While she creates artwork for people to view and figure out what’s happening, she also created a “cage” with eyes peering back at the viewer. Sure, this photo can create a lot of ideas. One that is glaringly obvious is what the artwork thinks of the viewer.

You can see more of Osterloh’s photography at her website:

See the entire grant recipient list list here: 2021 Excellence Award Recommendations

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