Local artists among recipients of Ohio Arts Council’s Individual Excellence Awards



Artists from Montgomery, Clark and Greene counties will receive Individual Excellence Awards courtesy of the Ohio Arts Council.

The Individual Excellence Awards program recognizes outstanding accomplishments by artists in a variety of disciplines. Awards give artists the resources to experiment and explore their art forms, develop skills and advance their careers, and receive affirmation and acknowledgment for outstanding work.

Seventy-five grants were approved for Ohio artists through the program. Grant funding totals $375,000 for state fiscal year 2024. During this funding cycle, applications in choreography, criticism, fiction, non-fiction, music composition, playwriting/screenplays, and poetry were accepted. Each award is $5,000, with one collaborative award being shared.

The six local recipients are:


Thaliyah Cools-Lartigue, Fairborn

Leslie Dworkin, Dayton

Countess V. Winfrey, Dayton


Erin Flanagan, Kettering


Mimi Dixon, Springfield


Marlo Starr, Dayton



In particular, Winfrey has been a member of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company since 2014, and Flanagan, a Wright State University professor, received the 2022 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author for her debut novel “Deer Season.”

“On behalf of the Ohio Arts Council, I want to congratulate this year’s Individual Excellence Award recipients,” said Ohio Arts Council Executive Director Donna S. Collins in a press statement. “Their work continues to exemplify Ohio’s wealth of exceptional artistic talent and demonstrates that artists can thrive in our great state.”

Individual Excellence Award funding recommendations are made through an anonymous, open panel review process focused on the exceptional merit of past artistic work. This year, nearly 500 applications were received from artists across the state.

For more information about the OAC’s grant programs, visit oac.ohio.gov/grants.

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