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Home | Grants & Programs | Guidelines | Other Programs


  OAC Board Members
  Welcome Letter
  Table of Contents

  How to Use Guidelines 

  Introduction to the OAC
  Overview of Appendices

  Funding for Organizations
  Funding Restrictions
  Additional Information

  Arts Access
  Project Support
  OAOT--For Presenters
  Building Cultural Diversity

  Arts Learning
  Arts Partnership
  Artist in Residence: Sponsors
  Artist Express
  Big Yellow School Bus

  Funding for Artists
  Grant Process for Artists
  Individual Excellence
  Trad. Arts Apprenticeship
  Artists with Disabilities Access  
  Artist in Residence: Artists
  OAOT--For Artists

  Other OAC Programs
  Other OAC Resources

  A: Legal Requirements
  B: ADA Policy
  C: Cultural Participation
  D: Public Value Statement
  E: Credit and Publicity
  G: Definitions
  H: Support Materials Grid
  I:  Deadlines
  J:  Support Materials for Artists






Dedicated individuals working in the folk and traditional arts, through their creativity, excellence, and service, reflect the history, practices, beliefs, and values of diverse peoples throughout Ohio. The Ohio Heritage Fellowship program was created to honor and celebrate these living cultural treasures, and to ensure that those who are working in the folk and traditional arts have an essential place in the present and future of Ohio. Award recipients are recognized within their communities as exemplary practitioners of a folk or traditional art form with work of the highest quality and authenticity. Through an open nomination process and careful consideration by recognized professionals in the field, the Ohio Heritage Fellowship program offers statewide visibility and a one-time financial award that allows master artists and community leaders to share their expertise and promote the awareness of folk and traditional cultures. The OAC values the history and background of each citizen of our state and recognizes that the quality of life in Ohio depends on the continued vitality of traditions of every kind. Ohio Heritage Fellows represent the best of those things that make us unique combined with the most enduring of that which is common to all.

Nomination Deadline: March 15


The Ohio Heritage Fellowship program recognizes Ohio folk and traditional artists who are the finest and most influential masters of their particular art forms and traditions, and whose work in the folk and traditional arts have had a significant impact on the people and communities of the state. Awards are given in three categories: Performing Arts, Material Culture (e.g., folk art, folk crafts and folk architecture), and Community Leadership. The OAC expects awardees to adhere to cultural artistic traditions and work to maintain the aesthetics and preservation of their art form, while also contributing to the public visibility of the folk and traditional arts; be actively participating in their art form as a practitioner, a mentor, teacher, or community leader; and be creating works of depth and brilliance that deepen our awareness of the rich and diverse cultural and artistic traditions of the people of Ohio.

Allowable Expenses
Ohio Heritage Fellowship awards may be used for a variety of expenses related to the growth and development of artists and their work. The award may be used for any purpose designated by the receiving individual except to continue their education through a degree-granting program.

Grant Awards
Ohio Heritage Fellowship awards are $5,000. Grant amounts are recommended by a review panel. All recommendations must be approved by the OAC board.


Individuals must be nominated in order to receive an award from the Ohio Heritage Fellowship program. Individuals may not nominate themselves. Nominees must have lived in Ohio for one year prior to the deadline.


The Ohio Heritage Fellowship program nomination form is NOT part of OLGA. The nomination form is available online at:

Application Basics
Although the OAC does not accept draft nominations, we will answer any questions you have about your nomination prior to the deadline. Applicants must be sure to submit their nomination electronically by 5 p.m. on the final deadline date. If the nomination is not officially submitted electronically, it will not be accepted. Nominations remain active for three years and will be reviewed annually. Information may be added to a nomination during this three-year period.

Support Materials
To complete a nomination for this program, all nominators must submit one complete set of support materials to the OAC, along with discipline-specific work samples. Nominations that do not include support materials will not be accepted. All support materials should represent the folk or traditional art form of the nominee.

Support materials should include:

  • Three or more letters of support for the nominee. Letters of support should be from community members who are knowledgeable about the traditional art form.
  • Work Samples. Submit samples of work (e.g., DVDs, videotapes, cassettes, audio CDs, CD-ROMs, color slides or photographs) that demonstrate artistic quality and technical ability. This enables the selection panel to evaluate nominees. These samples may be submitted together on a single disk or tape or they may be submitted separately. Panelists may review some or all of submitted material. All audiovisual work samples must be accompanied by a cover sheet for work samples. Work samples that do not adhere to the Guidelines will not be reviewed.

Discipline-specific work samples:

  • Folk Craft: Submit five to 10 images of the work of the master artist. Digital images on disk are preferred. If possible, include an image that shows the place in which the artist's work is created.
  • Music/Verbal Arts: Submit one copy of one sound recording (on CD, DVD, or videocassette) of the master artist. Provide a list identifying the performers, instruments, and material being presented. Be sure to describe the typical audience and venue for this music/verbal art form on the cover sheet for work samples. Indicate track number(s) or cue tape to preferred starting point.
  • Dance/Ethnic Theatre: Submit one copy of one video (on DVD or videocassette) of the master artist that best demonstrates the quality of the work. Label the DVD or video with the title and length of work. Provide a list with a description of the dance form or theatre, the performers, and the typical venue on the cover sheet for work samples. Indicate track number(s) or cue tape to preferred starting point.
  • Community Leadership/Other: Support materials, such as brochures, newspapers and magazine articles, exhibition catalogues or programs may be submitted.

Slides, audiotapes, and videotapes submitted with applications will be returned if a mailer large enough to hold them is included with the application. The return mailer must have the appropriate amount of U.S. postage. Do not send cash, checks, or Federal Express mailers for the return of materials. If an addressed, stamped mailer is not included with the application, support materials will be kept for one year and then discarded or recycled.

Support materials must be received in the OAC office no more than seven calendar days after the application deadline date by 5 p.m. (regardless of postmarked date). If the support materials do not reach the OAC within this timeframe, the nomination will not be accepted.

The timeline below presents a general outline of the grant nomination process for the Ohio Heritage Fellowship. Please note that if a deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday, the deadline will be extended until the next business day.

Nomination form available online July 1
Final nomination deadline March 15
Support material deadline 7 calendar days following the application deadline
Panel review meeting May
Award announcement July
Signed grant agreement deadline August 30
Grant period July 1 - June 30
Final report deadline 30 days after program ends

Evaluation and Scoring
A panel of folklorists, arts professionals and other community members evaluates and scores Ohio Heritage Fellowship applications and support materials. At the panel meeting, an evaluative discussion will take place for each application. The review process is competitive; only exemplary nominations will be recommended.

Review Criteria
Panelists use a combination of the following criteria to make award recipient recommendations. Any one or a combination of criteria is sufficient to substantiate an award recommendation:

  • Work reflects the highest quality of craftsmanship, design and authenticity.
  • Body of work is consistently high in quality.
  • The artist is recognized within his/her community as an exemplary practitioner of a folk or traditional art form.
  • Learned his/her art form through informal study and by carefully watching, listening and doing.
  • Creates works of depth and brilliance that deepen our awareness of the rich and diverse cultural and artistic traditions of the people of Ohio.
  • Participates in his/her art form as a practitioner, mentor, teacher or leader.
  • Adheres to cultural artistic traditions and works to maintain the aesthetics and preservation of their art form, while also contributing to the public visibility of traditional arts, crafts and artists.
  • Audiovisual materials are relevant and high quality.

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The Ohio River Border Initiative (ORBI) is a joint project of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and the OAC to support the arts community in the Ohio River Valley. ORBI's programs are open to artists, school groups, arts groups and community arts programs in all Ohio and West Virginia counties that touch the Ohio River. These counties are Wayne, Cabell, Mason, Jackson, Wood, Pleasants, Tyler, Wetzel, Marshall, Ohio, Brooke and Hancock in West Virginia, and Lawrence, Gallia, Meigs, Athens, Washington, Monroe, Belmont, Jefferson and Columbiana in Ohio. ORBI offers three funding opportunities--its annual grant program, the Artist Fast Track program, and the Accessibility Mini-Grant program.

Application Deadline: February 1 (annual grant program)

    style=margin-top:0px;">60 days before the funds are needed (Artist Fast Track)
    90 days before the funds are needed (Accessibility Mini-Grant)


Since 1994, ORBI has awarded a total of more than $450,000 in grant funding to a wide variety of projects, artists and community groups in West Virginia and Ohio counties that border the Ohio River. ORBI's annual grant program funds projects that encourage active collaborations among artists, communities and/or organizations on both sides of the Ohio River.

In addition to the annual grant program, ORBI offers grants for individual artists through its Artist Fast Track program. Fast Track grants are intended to support immediate, short-term projects that have a positive impact on the career development of artists by helping them:

  • Increase access to audiences and venues;
  • Develop new skills and insights; and
  • Investigate new artistic ideas and approaches.

Lastly, ORBI's Accessibility Mini-Grant program is designed to increase the participation of people with disabilities in arts programming by expanding the capacity of the region's organizations to make their programs more accessible to everyone, regardless of physical or developmental ability. The program is intended to allow organizations to jump-start or try out accessibility innovation and is not intended to provide support for existing projects.

Allowable Expenses
ORBI annual grants may be used to fund:

  • Transportation costs for bringing art to people or people to art;
  • Artist fees and services;
  • Costs of administering the project;
  • Marketing costs and publicity;
  • Art or educational materials.

Artist Fast Track grants may be used to fund:

  • Professional and artistic development for attendance at workshops, conferences, seminars, master classes, exhibits, exchange programs;
  • Presentation opportunities--preparation of portfolios and slides, printing of brochures or marketing materials and demonstration tapes;
  • Rental expenses for rehearsal or studio space for time periods of less than one month;
  • Shipping and crating of art works for a show or exhibit;
  • Lodging and transportation costs for a training session, workshop, conference or exhibit;
  • Rental of equipment/purchase of supplies required for showing and displaying artwork.

Accessibility Mini-Grants may be used to fund:

  • Minor physical plant improvements such as hand rails, ramps, door alterations;
  • Sign and visibility improvements for people with vision limitations;
  • Assistive devices for hearing or visually impaired people;
  • Signers and other assistive service providers;
  • Accessibility improvements for websites to improve use by the visually impaired;
  • Direct outreach activities to people with disabilities in the applicant's community.

For a complete list of funding criteria and restrictions, visit:

Grant Awards
The maximum grant award for ORBI's annual grant program is $3,000 to any one group or artist. The maximum award for Artist Fact Track grants is $500, and the maximum award for Accessibility Mini-Grants is $1,000.


ORBI's annual grant program is open to individual artists, school groups, community organizations and arts groups in the counties that touch the West Virginia/Ohio border. Projects must involve the presentation of, education about or participation in the arts or recognized traditional crafts. The Artist Fast Track program is limited to artists and craftspeople who live in Ohio's Appalachian counties or the counties that touch the West Virginia/Ohio border. Applicants to the Accessibility Mini-Grant program must be designated tax-exempt charitable organizations by the IRS and must be arts organizations or other organizations that present arts programs in the counties that touch the West Virginia/Ohio border.

Please note: For the annual grant program and the Accessibility Mini-Grant program, applicants must supply 25 percent of the total project cost. The match must be all cash. Applicants are also encouraged to show in-kind contributions, although these contributions will not be counted toward the applicant's matching share of the cash budget.


The ORBI grant application forms are NOT part of the OAC's OnLine Grants Applications (OLGA) system. You can find the application forms and information on program-specific application requirements here:


A PDF of the complete Guidelines is available for download and print out (or click here to jump directly to this section and choose which pages to print).
Right Click the file and choose Save Target As: to download the file.
You must also read Appendix A: Legal Requirements if you plan to apply for OAC funding.

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