12 Dayton-area artists awarded Artist Opportunity Grants



A dozen Dayton artists have been awarded Artist Opportunity Grants to fund new projects and advance their professional development.

The grant, funded by Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District and administered through Culture Works, began accepting applications last October and announced the recipients Tuesday, March 28. A panel consisting of arts administrators, artists and other community members with arts backgrounds assessed the applications and selected the winners based on the “applicants’ artistic vision, skill, and experience and projects’ ability to impact the artists’ careers and community,” according to organizers.

“These grants are important to us and to the community,” said MCACD Executive Director Matt Dunn, in a release. “They lift up and celebrate the diversity of the arts, support artists as professionals, and enhance our quality of life.”

The artists have from now until Feb. 2024 to complete their projects funded by the grant. This year’s recipients received a combined total of $34,890 from MCACD.

Quentin Sledge is among the recipients of the Artist Opportunity Grant. He is a movement artist, choreographer, writer and painter who will create a pop-up gallery showcasing dance that focuses on the lived experience of Black people.

“My work reflects the ways in which I am inspired by the resourcefulness and boundless creativity of my African/African American ancestors and contemporaries,” Sledge said. “I often seek to evade respectability politics under the ‘white gaze’ by zeroing in on that which is truest to the Black expression of self, of joy, of community, of divinity and philosophical approaches to life, while refusing to shy away from truth and accountability.”

Mychaelyn Michalec is a fiber artist and painter in Dayton. With the grant funds, she will create and contribute work for Cincinnati’s The Weston Gallery.

Public radio host, writer and photographer Adam Alonzo plans to redesign his website to make it easier for community members to access and view his photos of Dayton.

Choreographer Alexis Diggs creates work that intends to “provoke thought, feed the soul and ignite a desire to learn, love and share within the collective.” Her grant project will have her creating five short videos featuring different stylistic dances.

Visual artist Stefan Chinov will create a sculpture series using bronze and iron from Dayton-area foundries.

“While my work is usually derived in stages, I don’t think of it in terms of projects. There is a constant flow in which I don’t distinguish between an idea and its realization,” Chinov said of his work. “Even if this cycle appears intermittent— a “project” may transpire to define a perimeter—the studio enfolds it into a continuum. Processes through which materials and forms get transformed, cast, inverted, etc., processes that take place in spaces like foundries and fabrication shops, are all part of this continuum.”

Artist and arts educator Lessa Haapapuro will lead free workshops for the public to help collectively create an art installation for the Rosewood Arts Center in Kettering that showcases William Carlos Williams’ epic poem “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower.”

For more information on all of the grant recipients and their projects, visit https://cultureworks.org/news/culture-works-announces-the-2023-artist-opportunity-grantees/.

2023 Artist Opportunity Grant Recipients:

Adam Alonzo - writer, photographer and public radio host

Angela Burdon - curator, artist and activist

Stefan Chinov - visual artist

Lova Delis - visual artist

Alexis Diggs - choreographer

Nicolay Dorsett - dance artist

Leesa Haapapuro - artist and arts educator

Kamal Kumbhani - visual artist

Mychaelyn Michalec - fiber artist and painter

Jennifer Perkins - interdisciplinary artist

Quentin Sledge - movement artist, choreographer, writer and painter

Jerome Stueart - fantasy and science fiction writer and visual artist

About the Author