Six Montgomery County artists have been awarded grants for professional development opportunities through a new program funded by the Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District and administered by Culture Works.
The Artist Opportunity Grant program, announced earlier this year, invites individual artists of all disciplines to apply for funding to support career-enhancing professional development opportunities, such as residencies, conferences, and exhibitions. Applications are reviewed by an independent panel of artists, arts administrators, educators, and community leaders.
Based on the funding recommendations made by the panelists at a public meeting in mid-November, $11,022 will be awarded to this year’s grantees: Nicholaus Arnold, gallery director at The Blue House Gallery and an instructor of printmaking and photography at several local institutions; Glenna Jennings, a visual artist and assistant professor at the University of Dayton; Ashley Jonas, co-founder of The Blue House Gallery and an adjunct professor; Gina Handy Minyard, founding artistic director of Magnolia Theatre Company and theatre magnet director at Stivers School for the Arts; Christin Rondeau, a soprano, voice teacher, and director of the St. George’s Orff Ensemble; and Francis Schanberger, a prolific photographer.
Opportunities being funded by this grant cycle include local and international exhibitions, two artist residencies, and professional training in music and theatre. Minyard received funding to pursue certification in the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique, which isn’t currently taught anywhere in Dayton. “As actors, we are always looking for new ways to uncover truth and bring that to the characters we portray,” she said. “The opportunity to learn and share this technique helps me to attract artists who are looking for professional training, as well as bring my students at Stivers another way of approaching a role.”
Matt Dunn, Executive Director of MCACD, emphasized that the panelists considered not only the quality of applicants’ work but also evidence of their commitment to strengthening the local network of artists and the community as a whole. “Since this was the first year of the grant program, it was important to the panelists that we set a standard of excellence,” he said. “Our six grantees are individuals who are not only producing incredible artistic work but who are constantly challenging and expanding the role of art in our community.”