The Arts Commission commends local artists who dedicate many hours and personal resources to advancing their artform. The Merit Award program recognizes outstanding individual local artists – literary, performing and visual.

A panel of reknown artists and cultural leaders from other Midwest communities will be invited to review the submitted merit award applications.  The panel's collective expertise ranges across artistic disciplines.  The review panel will make recommendations for funding to the Arts Commission staff and board.

The Merit Award program not only presents the potential for monetary benefits for the artists applying, but also valuable exposure to the invited review panelists and the art communities they represent.

Recipients of the 2017 Merit Award

From left to right:

Natalie Lanese is a visual artist, holding degrees from Xavier University, Case

Western University and Pratt University. Prior to being selected as a Merit

Award finalist, she received an Individual Artist Excellence Award from the

Ohio Arts Council. Her work is included in the Putnam Collection of Case

Western University and the Fidelity Corporate Art Collection as well as the

collections of Xavier University Department of Art and The SCOPE

Foundation in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently an Associate Professor at

Sienna Heights University and the Klemm Gallery Director. Lanese was awarded $2500. 


Zac Weinberg is a visual artist, currently creating large scale glass, found

object and mixed media sculptures. Weinberg holds degrees from New York

State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and Ohio State University. With

several years of teaching experience, his work has also been published several

issues of New Glass Review, Glass Art Society Newsletter among other

exhibition catalogues. Weinberg was awarded $1000.

Lindsay Scypta is a ceramic artist who desires to contribute to the clay

community in Toledo through teaching, collaboration and mentorship. Scypta

holds degrees from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University

and Ohio State University. Her work has been published in issues of Ceramics

Monthly and Clay Times among other book and art publications. Scypta's

work is also in the collections of the Arthur E. Baggs Memorial Library and the

Ohio Union at the Ohio State University. Scypta was awarded $1000. 

Lauren Fowler is an artist working in glass and porcelain with 12 years of

college and independent school teaching experience. Fowler holds degrees

from Bowling Green State University, Brown University and Rhode Island

School of Design. Her work is represented by the Sherrie Gallery in Columbus. Fowler was awarded $500.

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