Monday, April 15, 2024

2023 Merit Awards Announced by The Arts Commission

The Arts Commission of Greater Toledo announced the winners of the 2023 Merit Awards this month.

Four local artists received awards from The Arts Commission. They were chosen from a celebrated panel of artists and cultural leaders, according to the Arts Commission. 

“The panel included: Jordan Wong, former Cleveland AIGA chapter president and a large-scale installation and public artwork artist based in Cleveland, Ohio; Goode Wyche III, a visionary and cultural professional dedicated to serving the Detroit community; and Cierra Rembert, a visual artist and arts administrator and curator and current Artist Initiatives Coordinator at SPACES in Cleveland, Ohio,” a spokesperson from The Arts Commission said. 

RELATED: Art Notes January 2024

Four awards were given to local artists with prizes ranging from $1,500 to $3,000. 

Photo provided via The Arts Commission.

Ann Trondson, a multidisciplinary artist took home the $1,500 award. Her solo and group work has been exhibited throughout the United States, from Findlay to Alabama to New York. 

“There is something so special to get that acknowledgment and recognition from your peers. I have never received an award like this before and I am so grateful to have the support of the community,” Trondson said.

Photo provided via The Arts Commission.

The $2,000 Award was given to Gail Christofferson, a nationally acclaimed artist who specializes in mosaic art. 

“The Merit Award will allow me and my team to create a new sculpture for our portfolio to continue to grow our collaborative art practice. A sculpture requires a substantial budget to truly achieve the scale we are envisioning. It is an honor to receive these funds and be recognized by The Arts Commission,” Christofferson said. 

Photo provided via The Arts Commission.

Matthew Johns received the $2,500 Award. Johns is known for his short films Encore (2021) and Willis (2022). 

“This award will be the launch pad for a new chapter in filmmaking, and independent production development here in Toledo. There are many players in the city that have been paving the way, but I think this push will really create something lasting, self-sustaining and if we’re doing it right…groundbreaking,” Johns stated.

Photo provided via The Arts Commission.

The top honor, the $3,000 Award, was given to Alli Hoag. She is known for her work both nationally and internationally.

“Hoag works across mediums of glass, installation, video and performance to investigate the human desire to connect with the unknowable,” a spokesperson The Arts Commission said.

Hoag is currently serving as an Associate Professor of Glass at Bowling Green State University.

“I feel so honored to receive this award, and elated that I can pursue this new area of research! With this Merit Award I will be able to travel to the Czech Republic to learn about the process of creating hot pressed glass buttons and beads. Combining this traditional technique with modern digital modeling and scanning technology intrigues me, especially in exploring microscopic textures,” Hoag said of winning the award.

Artists were honored at the Arts Commission Holiday Reception on Tuesday, Dec. 12 where the awards were announced and presented. The awards were generously donated by ProMedica. 

For more information on The Arts Commission, visit

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