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Culture Works awards $436k in grants to local organizations and artists

Dayton Region Arts Renewal Logo
Culture Works
Culture Works
The grants were awarded through the Dayton Region Arts Renewal grant program.

Nearly 50 local artists and cultural organizations will get an infusion of cash. That’s thanks to $436,000 in grants from Culture Works, an art funding and advocacy organization.

The money came from a one-time National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) American Rescue Plan (ARP) grant. It was then awarded through the Dayton Region Arts Renewal Grant program.

The goal of the grant program is to help the arts recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. For the organizations, the money can offset staff salaries and other expenses. For local artists, it can fund their work.

Culture Works is one of 66 organizations nationwide to receive this funding, and one of only two organizations in Ohio.

Curtis Bowman is a grant writer with Culture Works. She says these grants will impact more than just the arts.

“The shutdown of the arts community meant there were less people going to restaurants in downtown; less people coming and staying in hotels; less traffic, less animation in the streets downtown,” she said.

Bowman says Culture Works made sure the money would go to applicants who would inspire the community through their work.

Lisa Hanson is the president and CEO of Culture Works.

“We were able to distribute that into our community and look for things like creative excellence and artistic merit and really make sure that money went where it was most needed to really inspire our community and help them,” Hanson said.

The Dayton Region Arts Renewal Grant program also allowed Culture Works to expand beyond the borders of Montgomery County. Culture Works has another grant program called the Artist Opportunity Grant, which is funded by Montgomery County and is intended to help artists living there.

With the new grant program and the NEA funds, Culture Works has been able to reach out to artists in the greater Dayton area.

“We were able to open to artists in all eight counties that Culture Works serves. So for a lot of artists, this is the first time that they’re receiving a grant that’s administered by Culture Works,” Karen Maner, Culture Works’ director of grant making, said. “It’s been really exciting for us to get to know some of these artists from other counties for the first time.”

The grant money is intended to last recipients for the next year.

Culture Works has also been awarded a $50,000 Our Town Grant from the NEA. With this funding, Culture Works has created the Our Town Dayton program to encourage local artists to create a community-developed art installation at the Edgemont Solar Garden in West Dayton.

Applications for the program are due by January 10, 2023.

Garrett is a WYSO intern and graduate of University of Dayton. He spent time covering the Dayton area with WDTN Channel 2 News after the 2019 Memorial Day Tornado outbreak. It was around this time that he began listening to NPR and fell in love with radio-based journalism. Garrett graduated from UD in May of 2021 with his Bachelor’s in Communications with a focus in journalism and graduated in May of 2022 with his Master’s. While not working at WYSO, Garrett is an avid reader, loves to play video games, and hanging out with his friends.