Putting vibrancy in the voice: Arts Commission awards grants

. October 25, 2017.

A city’s art is the pulse of the people; the expression of a community’s hopes, giving voice to the ambitions, fears and dreams of the collective whole. Art can be inspiring, frightening and enlightening. But it cannot be ignored.

Since 1959, the Arts Commission has ensured that Toledo’s art scene has had the energy, support, and funding it’s needed. So, what is the Toledo Arts Commission? “We are an organization that connects artists, organizations, businesses, and communities, together, through the advancement of the literal, visual, and performing arts,” says Michelle Carlson, the Commission’s artist and youth services coordinator. “Our aim is to ensure that quality of life in Toledo is amazing through the various programs and services that we offer”.

The Arts Commission offers a large variety of programs for artists of all ages, including instructional classes, partnership programs, mentorships, resources, grants, a merit award and community events. This will be the commission’s fifth group of Accelerator Grant recipients, with 24 artists supported this year. The Arts Commission will present grants to two additional groups this year and is currently in the process of accepting applications.
“Selected artists are thorough in their presentation and focus, and concise as to the necessity of the funds, as well as the completeness of their vision,” Carlson says. Interested artists should contact the Commission with questions.

The Voices: September’s Accelerator Grant Recipients

Malcolm Cunningham
Malcolm Cunningham represents a small collective of artists — Krysta Sa, Yusuf Lateef, Joey Baibee and Jay Dickerson — collaborating on the Bancroft St. Project. “I definitely appreciate being chosen as a recipient; it allows me to pursue a project that has been stewing in my, and the collective’s, head for quite some time,” Cunningham says. The Bancroft St. Project will examine the historical factors that have affected the surrounding community. “I’m most interested in how people become the people they are, in the communities they are in, how those communities become what they are, and how existing in a space, at a time, with others, affirms identity.”

Ken Dushane
Ken Dushane, who also goes by “Phybr,” has served with the Arts Commission in the past few years as an instructor, as well as curating events. “I feel very excited to be selected; I think it’s an amazing opportunity for artists like myself to be able to expand what they’re doing,” he said. While working heavily in mural painting, and graphic design, he’s comfortable with a variety of mediums: “I find myself being a jack of all trades.” Dushane, who will be developing his line of men and women’s clothing called “Creeps and Queens,” says, “This is an incredible opportunity for me to see some of my dreams come to fruition.”

Noel Welch
Inspired by her host family while spending time abroad in Germany, Noel Welch works primarily with glass. “I wasn’t very involved in art or creation, and my host mom was a silk painter. She invited me to work with her. She had a large impact on my current art,” Welch says. Recently she’s been working with murrine, a collection of colors and patterns made in glass cane, fusing the combinations into glass panels. “Much of my art relates back to memory; how memory is changed and altered over time, what details we remember, what we forget, what we embellish,” Welch says. “I am incredibly grateful for this grant. Now I actually have the chance to experiment and work through some of the ideas I’ve had on paper and make them a reality.”

Supporting the Visionaries

While The Arts Commission is pleased to help Toledo’s artists, the artists themselves take center stage. “We truly see ourselves as connectors — but without the artists, and those who support the creative community, the art wouldn’t exist, and Toledo wouldn’t be as vibrant as it is.”

For those interested in applying for the Accelerator Grant, or supporting the Arts Commission, visit Facebook or theartscommission.org.

The Arts Commission
1838 Parkwood Ave St. 120
Toledo, OH 43604
(419) 254-ARTS (2787)