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Ohio Arts Council Receives $20 Million In Coronavirus Relief Funds

Artists paint murals during a recent Art Unites Columbus Event outside of the Ohio Theater.
Ryan Hitchcock
Artists paint murals during an Art Unites Columbus Event outside of the Ohio Theater.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the cultural economy, the businesses and the people that make their living creating music, food and art.

But soon, some Ohio arts organizations will get some new financial support now that CARES Act funding for the arts has been approved by the Ohio Controlling Board.

The Ohio Arts Council is getting $20 million from the state. They’ll be granting that money back out to local arts organizations who apply before the end of the year.

“Organizations will be eligible to submit a worksheet to us that demonstrates their need and their expenses that have been impacted by COVID-19," says Justin Nigro, the Arts Council’s director of operations and public affairs. "Even if they aren't sure if their organization is eligible, we're encouraging them to apply as well. That way, we'll get a better sense of what the need is in the state."

In September, 30 midwestern arts and culture organizations received COVID-19 relief grants from Arts Midwest through the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund. The funds were provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

While those grants helped, Nigro says overcoming the economic challenges brought on by the pandemic is especially important for arts organizations, whose missions are to improve quality of life and bolster communities throughout Ohio.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.