Dayton arts groups receive grants from National Endowment for the Arts

Credit: Hiromi Platt Photography

Credit: Hiromi Platt Photography

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance and Dayton Visual Arts Center (The Contemporary Dayton) are among 32 Ohio arts organizations to receive spring grants from the National Endowment for the Arts totaling more than $2.2 million.

Announced May 24, the grants will be used for current and upcoming projects.

DCDC has been awarded $65,000 to support its regional touring. In February, the company delivered a dazzling world premiere of “The Black Tour,” which has since been renamed “The Blackest Berry: Dancing African Diasporas.”

“We’re absolutely thrilled to receive the grant,” said DCDC Executive Director Phyllis Brzozowska. “The National Endowment for the Arts really values DCDC. They see DCDC as a really important artistic asset for the country. They really want to fund us the best they can. We received high marks on the grant review and they really want to support what DCDC does. One of the highest criteria is artistic excellence so that is what they are acknowledging.”

Brzozowska also noted the troupe is in the process of rebuilding its touring component. The company performed “The Blackest Berry” May 6 in Chicago and plans are ongoing for future engagements.

“Our touring pretty much dried up during Covid,” she said. “It has taken some time to be reestablished in the marketplace and have presenters around the country choose us to put on their performing arts seasons. We are open to performing ‘The Blackest Berry’ anywhere people want to present the company. We expect to (bring) the concert to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh (next season).”

Credit: Russell Florence

Credit: Russell Florence

The DPAA has been awarded $18,000, which will expand the organization’s current Dayton Opera Artists-in-Residence (AIR) program and include additional support for the artists’ professional and artistic development. The expanded AIR program starts in September 2023.

DPAA’s Opera Artists-in-Residence program provides opportunities for pre-professional singers to increase their performance experience as they transition from the university or conservatory educational experience into the professional opera field. Selected through audition, AIRs are featured artists in DPAA’s Ballet, Opera and Philharmonic performances and also serve as Dayton Opera ambassadors, offering education and community engagement programs throughout southwest Ohio.

“I’m thrilled,” said Kathleen Clawson, Artistic Director of the Dayton Opera and Ron Anderson and Robb Sloan-Anderson Chair, in a news release. “This generous NEA grant will provide our AIRs with many opportunities and enhance their experience. Not only will the artists benefit, but the Dayton region will as well. An extended residence means more opera outreach and learning programs will be accessible to all ages, contributing to DPAA’s driving purpose of ensuring everyone has the opportunity to fall in love with the arts.”

DPAA says expanding the AIR program allows for a greater focus on artistic training and professional portfolio preparedness. In addition, it gives the Artists-in-Residence opportunities to engage with the community by arranging opera recitals and concerts in senior living facilities, schools, and smaller venues throughout the region. Performance experience remains the focus of AIR participants. However, the program also allows AIRs time to acquire a working knowledge of finance, marketing, engagement and production in the arts, equipping them to compete in a demanding arts industry.

“Opera is a living, breathing art form,” said Patrick Nugent, President and CEO of the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. “New works with contemporary subjects are being written and produced by opera companies around the world. The NEA grant helps make it possible for our Artists-in-Residence to engage children, youth and adults with opera in new and creative ways all around the community. We’re delighted and honored by this funding.”



DPAA’s 2023-2024 season features AIR performance opportunities in three opera productions: ”Die Fledermaus,” “Sweeney Todd” andTosca.” AIRs will also create and perform a production specifically intended for middle and high school students entitled “Dive Into Opera” in January 2024.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to support a wide range of projects, including Opera Artists-in-Residence, demonstrating the many ways the arts enrich our lives and contribute to healthy and thriving communities,” added NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson in the release. “These organizations play an important role in advancing the creative vitality of our nation and helping to ensure that all people can benefit from arts, culture and design.”

The Contemporary Dayton, currently featuring exhibits by Arturo Herrera, Tyler Macko and Kevin Jerome Everson, has been awarded $36,000 to support exhibitions including works by contemporary women artists and related public programming.

“This funding from the National Endowment for the Arts is the culmination of three years of programming at The Contemporary Dayton that has a mind toward connecting the institution with the greater ecology of the art world, important, social issues and establishing a contemporary art center in Dayton, Ohio that is recognized, not only by funding institutions, but by peer institutions and artists,” said Michael Goodson, Curator and Director of Programs for The Contemporary Dayton. “All of it, however, really comes down to providing Dayton, Ohio and the region with a contemporary arts center that presents thoughtful programming that opens the region up to notable art of our time. We are honored to receive this funding from the NEA.”

Regionally, Shakespeare Theatre Association in Oxford was notably awarded $10,000 to support the Shakespeare Theatre Association’s annual conference.

In addition, as part of the NEA’s state and regional partnership grant program, which awards federal funding to state and territorial arts agencies based on population and the merit of the agency’s work, the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) received $1.3 million for federal fiscal year 2023.

In Ohio, all federal dollars earned from the NEA by the OAC are reinvested into the state’s arts and culture sector to help individuals and organizations pursue artistic endeavors.

In a news release, the NEA said organizations will carry out arts projects in three of the federal agency’s funding programs: Grants for Arts Projects, Our Town and State and Regional Partnerships. Funded Ohio projects include those in arts education, dance, design, literary arts, media arts, museums, music, musical theatre, local arts agencies, opera, presenting and multidisciplinary works, theatre and visual arts.

“These grants recognize on the national level the strength and impact of Ohio’s arts and culture sector,” said Ohio Arts Council Executive Director Donna S. Collins. “We thank the NEA for their fundamental support of the OAC, which for 14 consecutive years has earned one of the top three largest federal NEA grants for state arts agencies thanks to the quality of our work. We are proud that every federal dollar we receive is directly reinvested back into Ohio’s artistic communities.”

For more information about the National Endowment for the Arts’ grant programs, visit

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