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Greater Columbus Arts Council Selects Inaugural Mural Assistance Grantees

in Press Releases April 25, 2023 4 min read

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Today, the Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) announced the recipients of a new grant program designed to provide supplemental support for artists and nonprofit organizations creating murals in the city of Columbus. Twenty-three murals were selected for funding for eight organizations and 15 individual artists, totaling $123,000.

Grants for Organizations

Grants for organizations were open to any registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in the city of Columbus; they were not limited to arts-focused organizations. The funding can be used for the creation of exterior murals by Columbus-based artists where a specific wall is identified, maintenance is planned and there is a written contract between artist(s) and the commissioning organization. Some of the awarded organizations have selected artists already, while others will be publishing calls for artists soon.

The Mid-Ohio Foodbank is one of the organizations receiving funding for its mural. Its proposal includes a mural roughly 20 ft. by 33 ft. on the Mid-Ohio Market at 620 Norton Rd. The Foodbank has contracted with Columbus artist Adam Hernandez to complete the mural this fall. Franklinton High School plans to employ multiple local artists to complete a 60 ft. by 20 ft. mural by the end of this year on the side of its building at 89 Avondale Ave. It also plans to use the creation and maintenance of the mural as an educational tool for its students.

The funded organizations include:

934, Inc. $8,000
Franklinton High School $10,000
Hilltop Arts Collective $11,000
Mid-Ohio Foodbank $15,000
Shadowbox Live $8,000
Short North Alliance $11,000
University District Organization $10,000
We Amplify Voices $5,000

Grants for Individual Artists

Grants for individual artists are designed to provide partial funding for the creation of exterior murals where a specific wall is identified, there is a written contract between artist(s) and the commissioning organization, and additional funding has been pledged or secured.

Isabel Bongue was among the individual artists awarded for her project, a 25 ft. by 27 ft. mural on side of Third Way Café (3058 W. Broad St.) to be completed early this summer. Bongue is a multidisciplinary artist with a background in printmaking who was hired by the café and the Hilltop Arts Collective. Artist Andre Alexander was commissioned by Pinecrest Civic Association to create a 12 ft. by 30 ft mural at the corner of South Hamilton Street and Livingston Avenue.

Artists receiving funding include:

Andre Alexander $3,000
Dillon Beck $3,000
Katelyn Bishop $3,000
Isabel Bongue $3,000
Adam Brouillette $3,000
Arris Cohen $3,000
Jessica Driscoll $3,000
Paul Giovis $3,000
Adam Hernandez $3,000
Joseph Hernandez $3,000
Daniel Rona $3,000
Jamie Sommer $3,000
Anna VanWalsen $3,000
Mitch Vicieux $3,000
Luka Weinberger $3,000

TOTAL: $123,000

The awarded mural projects should be completed between within 12 months of the award date.

Jurors for the program included:

  • Dave Young Kim is a fine artist who received a BFA in studio art from the University of California, Davis and an MFA in studio art from Mills College. He has exhibited work at the Asian Art Museum, Ewkuks, Vessel Gallery, Berkeley Art Center, SFAC Main Gallery, Kang Collection and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. In 2020, he co-founded the Korean American Artist Collective.
  • Rock ‘CYFI’ Martinez is a self-taught, international aerosol artist whose work draws on the social, cultural and natural history of site-specific surfaces. From large-scale public murals to site-specific installations, Martinez’s work engages with subjects ranging from pop-culture and religion to technology addiction and civil rights. Martinez keeps studios in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Tucson, Arizona.
  • Stefan Thomas is a GCAC board member and a singer-songwriter performing under the name T. Wong. He has been recognized in AFROPUNK and Soul Train and has opened for international and Grammy-nominated artists. T. Wong has been seen and heard on the NPR, RadioOne, syndicated American Public Television and FOX28 Columbus. He is also a partner in Thomas Ingram Law Group in Columbus.

“The process was thorough and thoughtfully organized. There were so many qualified candidates it was not an easy task,” said juror Dave Young Kim. “It was a joy seeing the potential of the public work that would be applied to the streets of Columbus. I truly believe this program will be vital to the enrichment of not only the arts in Columbus but the city itself as a mechanism to support, activate and elevate the further beautification of the city and young artists coming of age. All of us started somewhere, and at that point in an artist’s career any form of support is essential to their growth. Access to funding should not determine ultimately who gets to make or even display public art; programs like this really act like equalizers.”

Questions about the Mural Assistance program can be directed to McKenzi Swinehart, grants and community engagement director, at or (614) 221-8746.

Mission of the Greater Columbus Arts Council: To support and advance the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus.

The Greater Columbus Arts Council receives major financial support from the City of Columbus, Franklin County Commissioners, the Ohio Arts Council and The Ohio State University.

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CONTACT: Jami Goldstein
(614) 221-8492