Our Town grant announcement

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced its latest round of funding for its Our Town initiative. Eligible activities include Arts Engagement, Cultural Planning, or Design. Prior grant recipients in Ohio have included: Westcott House Foundation in Springfield (2014), Pomerene Center for the Arts in Coshocton (2013), Detroit Shoreway in Cleveland (2012), Art Opportunities in Cincinnati (2012), and Artspace in Hamilton (2011), so the NEA is familiar with Our Town projects in Ohio.

An initial online application submitted through Grants.gov is due by December 15, 2014. For more information, click here to access the Our Town Grant information page.

Grant Opportunity

The Laura Jane Musser Fund

The Laura Jane Musser Fund was set up to continue Laura Jane Musser’s great work in personal philanthropy. The fund is divided into four categories: Arts Programs, Environmental, Intercultural Harmony, and Rural Initiative. The Rural Initiative program appears to be the most applicable to Main Street programs, focusing on encouraging participation and collaboration among citizens in rural communities. The fund focuses on projects related to education, arts and humanities, business preservation, economic developments, and public space improvements.

 

What You Need to Know

Since the Rural Initiative Program focuses on rural communities, the applicant community must have a population of 10,000 or less and “be able to demonstrate characteristics of a rural community. Projects must be able to demonstrate plans to complete the project within 18 months, support from a variety of community members and institutions, significant volunteer participation, and matching financial support from the community. Communities in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Wyoming, Hawaii, and Ohio may apply.

 

What Projects Can Be Funded?

Funds are available for either planning of or implementation of programs, but not both. Up to $5,000 would be awarded to planning projects which could include hiring a consultant or staff, mailings, local travel, refreshments, and meeting costs. Up to $25,000 are available for implementation of projects which “originate in, have been planned by, and involve diverse people of the community.” The program will also cover new projects or programs within their first three years.

 

How Do I Apply?

Local units of Government, 501(c)(3) organizations, and organizations forming under the support of a 501(c)(3) are able to apply. Proposals will be accepted online through November 6, 2013, with announcements made February 2014.

You will need to include the following:

1. Short Overview

2. Proposal Narrative

3. Budgets

4. Letters of Support/Fiscal Sponsor

5. IRS Status or Local Unit of Government

 

For a detailed description of each section, please click here:

 

To apply click here

 

*Priority will be given to projects that: actively include community members throughout the process, have measurable short term outcomes within the first 12-18 months, collaborate with a wide variety of community members and institutions, and work towards a positive outcome in the community.

The Big Give is back!

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The Columbus Foundation’s Big Give is back!

Starting at 11 a.m. EST on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 through Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 11 a.m. EST, all donations to Heritage Ohio, and  600 nonprofits, will receive a pro rata portion of a $1 million dollar bonus pool.

Make a donation* of $20 or more to support Heritage Ohio through the Big Give between 11am on Tuesday September 17 to 11am Wednesday September 18 3013 and you’ll be entered into a drawing for some fabulous Heritage Ohio prizes! Stay tuned for more information. Donations through The Big Give are not applicable to membership dues or event fees, but are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

The Big Give is a 24-hour online giving event to celebrate The Spirit of Columbus.™ The Columbus Foundation, its family of donors, and community partners have provided a $1 million bonus pool for The Big Give, encouraging the community to support the nonprofits they care about in central Ohio. By working together, our community can show its spirit and increase the impact of its giving!

 

Join us in Troy for: Incorporating the Arts in Urban Revitalization!

Downtown Troy

Join us in downtown Troy for Incorporating the Arts in Urban Revitalization

We have a terrific training coming up in Troy later this month (register here) on the arts as a driver of community economic development. Arts professionals from across the state will share their insights on building arts programs from scratch, pairing arts programs with comprehensive revitalization strategies, securing program funding, and creating arts programs in small towns.

Kathy Cain of the Ohio Arts Council will share information about funding opportunities for local arts initiatives and arts programs. Robb Hankins will share his experiences with starting a local arts program, and funding the program on a shoestring budget. Linda Parsons will guide attendees through the process of creating a local arts program in a small town.

If your community could benefit from injecting life into your existing arts program, or starting a new arts program from scratch, then plan on joining us in Troy on June 26th.

Training information

Incorporating the Arts in Urban Revitalization
June 26, 10AM-5PM
The Market Square Community Room
405 SW Public Square, Third Floor
Free to Main Street programs and Downtown Affiliates as a benefit of membership
$75 for Heritage Ohio Members
$125 for non-Members
Join Heritage Ohio today to start receiving member benefits!

Added bonus! While you’re here for the training, check out Troy Main Street’s special event, Sculptures on the Square. The sixth installment of this popular event features sculptor Seward Johnson’s bronze statues. Sculptures on the Square brings art into the public realm, encouraging people to come downtown and experience everything downtown Troy has to offer.

About our speakers

Kathy Cain
Program Coordinator, Ohio Arts Council

Kathy Cain joined the OAC in September 1984. During her tenure at the OAC, Ms. Cain has worked in several program areas. Currently, she is a program coordinator for organizations in the eastern and central sections of the state, including Ohio’s entire Appalachian region, Columbus and central Ohio. Ms. Cain also coordinates the Ohio Artist on Tour program and the International Music and Performing Arts in Communities Tour. The Ohio Artist on Tour program enables Ohio’s arts organizations to tap into the creative potential of Ohio artists to enrich their programming and the vitality of their communities. The International Music and Performing Arts in Communities Tour program provides the opportunity for organizations to bring international performing arts to their communities. Ms. Cain is a past recipient of the Ohio Arts Presenter Network’s Award of Merit for service to the performing arts. Ms. Cain lives in Lancaster with her husband, Gary, and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren.

Robb Hankins
President & CEO, ArtsinStark

Robb Hankins has spent the last 30 years directing city, county and state arts agencies in eight different states. He has managed annual arts campaigns, arts festivals, public art projects, arts education programs, and downtown arts districts.

Robb arrived in October 2005 to become the President & CEO of ArtsinStark, the County Arts Council. The organization called ArtsinStark today was founded in 1968 to build the Cultural Center for the Arts. ArtsinStark’s mission is “to use the arts to create smarter kids, new jobs, and healthier communities.” ArtsinStark gives out grants, manages the Cultural Center, and runs the Annual Arts Campaign. For the last 7 years ArtsinStark’s Annual Arts Campaign has made its fundraising goal every year, and has increased giving to the arts by nearly 75%. In May 2013 it raised $1.7 million, the highest amount in its 40 year history. ArtsinStark is the winner of the 2012 Governor’s Award for the Arts.

Tamara Harkavy
CEO and Artistic Director, ArtWorks

Tamara Harkavy is the founding director of ArtWorks. Since its launch in 1996 as a job-training and employment program for talented teens, ArtWorks has become a leader in employing artists of all ages, creating public art and initiating innovative arts programming for the city of Cincinnati. Under her leadership, ArtWorks has employed more than 2,500 youth and over 500 professional artists to work on countless arts projects. Many of these works of art remain in public and private venues, as testaments to the artistic talents of the participants. Tamara and her team were also the creative force behind the Big Pig Gig in 2000 and again in 2012. ArtWorks is now hard at work on its many initiatives, including its community mural program, its entrepreneurial training program, SpringBoard, and its ArtRX offerings, in which they create art for and with hospital patients and their families.

ArtWorks was the winner of the 2010 City Livability Award, by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, for its mural program. Tamara was invited by U.S. Representative Steve Driehaus to be the Key-note speaker to address the winners of the 2010 Congressional Art Competition. ArtWorks has also been awarded three prestigious Post-Corbett Awards, the Ambassador Award from the Convention and Visitors Bureau, a Community Impact Award from the American Marketing Association, and recognition from Hillary Rodham Clinton for ArtWorks’ leadership and vision.

Tamara, a 2007 Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year, serves on the board of Tender Mercies and was a founding member of the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund. She has co-chaired two major events celebrating Israel’s 50th and 65th birthdays for Cincinnati’s Jewish Federation and acts in an advisory capacity for many smaller arts organizations. She has recently joined the group CEOs for Cities. She holds a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Cincinnati and a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State. She is the mother of jazz drummer Ben Sloan, and is married to artist and real estate guy, Matthew Kotlarczyk.

Linda Parsons
Trustee, Yellow Springs Art Council
Appraiser & Art Dealer, Linda L Parsons Art Sales

Linda owns and manages an art appraisal service near Yellow Springs. She began appraising and dealing art in Denver, Colorado, with offices at the historic Zang Mansion. She later opened a business in Santa Fe, New Mexico and was a silent partner in the now defunct “Denver Rio Grande” gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her current business maintains connections in Denver, Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico. Linda has served as board member and president of the “American Art Society” in Cincinnati, whose mission involves research and preservation of American painters and sculptors. She brings arts gallery management and business skills to YSAC.

The Ohio Vacant Facilities Fund

While in Spokane, Washington at the National Trust for Historic Preservation annual conference, I, along with many other Ohio delegates, attended a session on right-sizing.  Presenter Cara Bertram, with Place Economics, conducted a survey of older industrial cities that have experienced significant population change over the last 40 years.  Cleveland, Youngstown, Dayton and Cincinnati were 4 of the 20 cities selected for the survey.[1]

We expected answers and concrete models working in other cities that we could bring back to Ohio. Instead, we learned that there currently are no success stories.  The issue of vacant properties and low population has only begun to be documented and the idea of rightsizing, or the process of reshaping physical urban fabric to meet the needs of current and anticipated populations, is only a working theory.   We discovered that dramatic population loss is being experienced across the nation, not just in older industrial cities, but also in Texas, where army bases have vacated, and also in Niagara Falls, NY where they are about to lose their city status along with a significant reduction in federal funds .  While a few facts remain constant, such as decreased population, vacant buildings, and economic decline, the available resources change dramatically from city to city and also state to state.  Essentially, Ohio needs to find creative ways to solve rightsizing issues through our own resources and funding sources because a national model is not coming any time soon.

Two Ohio cities, Sandusky and Painesville, have decided to create disincentives by using penalties to nudge people and companies to make decisions that expand the tax base.  Both cities have created vacant property registries.  The ordinance requires owners of vacant properties to sign a registry.  Part of the registry requires that the property owner indicates who the lawful owner of the property is and provide the contact information for that owner, or in the case of out of town owners, to provide the local contact for the person acting as the owner’s agent.  The property owner is then required to submit a plan for leasing the property, selling the property or developing the property.  The ordinance also requires the property owner to keep the property safe and secure and maintain the property in accordance to local standards.  As stated in the purpose of the Painesville ordinance, “(t)he purpose of this ordinance is to establish a program for identifying and registering vacant residential and commercial buildings; to determining the responsibilities of owners of vacant buildings and structures; and to speed the rehabilitation of the vacant buildings. Shifting the cost burden from the general citizenry to the owners of the blighted buildings will be the result of this ordinance.”  The key to this statement is “shifting the cost from the general citizenry to the owners of the blighted building.”  A dilapidated downtown building affects the whole city.[2]

On a statewide level, the Ohio Development Services Agency has created the Ohio Vacant Facilities Fund to create reuse incentives for vacant buildings while investing in local businesses and creating jobs.  An employer will receive $500 in grant funds for every new full-time position created in eligible facilities.  The position must last at least one year before funds will be distributed.  Funds can be used for acquisition, construction, enlargement, improvement, or equipment of the facility.  The fund has been allocated $2 million through August 2015 and will begin accepting pre-certification requests November 26.  Over the next two years, the fund has the ability to create up to 4,000 jobs.

The program can be used by all scales of employers to fill both big-boxes and main street storefronts.  For example, a bakery opens in a downtown.  They create 4 jobs after opening.  After 1 year, they are eligible for $2000, which could be used to reinvest in their equipment to meet their growing business needs.

Employers should submit a pre-certification request form, available from the Ohio Development Services Agency’s website http://development.ohio.gov/cs/cs_ovff.htm.  The request must be submitted prior to occupying the vacant facility or increasing employment in order to verify eligibility and reserve funds.  All for-profit businesses are eligible, while non-profit and governments are not eligible.  The building must be 75% or more unoccupied and available for use in trade or business for no less than 12 months.  If the building is not occupied or construction is not complete, then construction must be at least 85% or more complete and able to be lawfully occupied with a certificate of occupancy.  Also, the employer must increase employment above the Base Employment Threshold.

For more information and pre-certification request applications, please visit the agency’s website: http://development.ohio.gov/cs/cs_ovff.htm, or contact the Office of Redevelopment at historic@development.ohio.gov or call 614-995-2292.[3]

 


[1] For more information on rightsizing and a full list of all 20 cities, the report in its entirety can be found on Place Economics’ website at http://www.placeeconomics.com/services/rightsizing.

[2] This excerpt is from the article “The Price of Vacant Property” written by Jeff Siegler and can be found in the Fall 2012 issue of Revitalize Ohio.

[3] For direct assistance contact: Nathaniel Kaelin, Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program Manager, Office of Redevelopment, Community Services Division.  Nathaniel.Kaelin@development.ohio.gov or 614-995-2292.

Ohio History Fund

Everyone involved in Ohio history activities, from archivists, to collections, to building preservation is excited to finally have the Ohio History Fund, created by the donations of Ohioan’s at tax time. We each now have the opportunity to contribute various amount when we file our Ohio Tax Returns.  Thousands of dollars will be available through this grant program. If you are interested in applying, link here to read more about the fund, and then submit a letter of intent to apply to get the process started.