The Arts Commission's Merit Award program recognizes outstanding local literary, performing and visual artists, rewarding the many hours and personal resources each artist dedicates to their artform. Four awards are given: one $2500 award, two $1000 awards, and one $500 award. Recipients will be selected by a panel of renowned artists and cultural leaders from around the Midwest, with a range or expertise across artistic disciplines. The 2019 review panel includes Jennifer Harge, Dave Lucas, and Sarah Rose Sharp. Merit Award recipients will be announced in December 2019.
Recipients of the 2018 Merit Award
From left to right:
Timothy Stover is a glass artist, studio manager of Schmidt Messenger Studios and instructor at the University of Toledo and Toledo Museum of Art. Stover earned his MFA degree in glass from Kent State University and BFA in Sculpture from the University of Toledo. He has also studied at Corning Museum of Glass, Pilchuck Glass School and Pittsburg Glass Center with technical workshops. His work has exhibited in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City and Palm Beach among other cities nationally and internationally. Stover was awarded $2500.
Joanna Manousis is a glass artist and current Instructor at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Manousis holds her MFA degree in Sculpture / Dimensional Studies from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and her BFA in Glass from Wolverhampton University in Wolverhampton, England. Her work has been published in issues of Glass Quarterly Magazine, American Craft Magazine and New Glass Review among other art publications. Manousis’s work has received various awards including The Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Award – London, GCAC Professional Development and Supply Grants - Columbus, Pilchuck Glass School Study Scholarships among other awards. Her work has been exhibited in solo shows in Toledo, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Corning, NY and an impressive list of group shows nationally and internationally. Manousis was awarded $1000.
Eric Pfeffinger is a playwright and theater artist. He received his Master of Arts degree in English from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Pfeffinger has received the three-time honor of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award. His work has been most recently performed and enjoyed across the country in cities including Chicago, Denver, Louisville, Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia among others across the years. Pfeffinger was awarded $1000.
Matt Foss currently serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Toledo. Foss holds his PhD in theatre studies from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance from Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL as well as participation in a certificate program at Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia. His work has received the honors of awards, including the Chicago Joseph Jefferson Award, Iowa Artists of the Year – Des Moines Art Center, and numerous regional and national awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. In 2018, he received an invitation from the 9th Studio of the Moscow Art Theatre to create two highly visual, non-verbal theatre productions to enter into their international repertory. These productions will be incubated, rehearsed and previewed in Toledo with local artists, for local audiences, before they begin touring abroad. Foss was awarded $500.
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.