CLS: Celebrate Ohio: Creative Spaces, Places & People
Did you know that creative industries in Ohio employ nearly 300,000 Ohioans? This week showcases the state’s creative talents across disciplines and shares how you can support local artists. All lectures are held in Orchestra Hall, unless otherwise noted.
“Ohio’s Appalachia — It’s Not What You May Think”
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday, June 19 | Orchestra Hall
Some people forget and some don’t know that ¼ of the state of Ohio rests in Appalachia proper. Pockets of Appalachian communities and families who out-migrated generations ago, prominently exist throughout the state. Ohio Appalachia is simply overlooked, or when it does attract notice, it is often viewed in a negative light. Ohio’s Poet Laureate, Kari Gunter-Seymour, will describe the many positive aspects of Ohio Appalachia through a series of performance poems, personal research and discussion. Listeners will discover a musicality of language and verse as rich and fertile as the Ohio foothills themselves.
Kari Gunter-Seymour is the Poet Laureate of Ohio. Her poetry collections include Alone in the House of My Heart and A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen, winner of the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year Award. Her work has been featured on Verse Daily, Cultural Daily, World Literature Today, the New York Times and Poets.org. A ninth generation Appalachian, she is the editor of I Thought I Heard a Cardinal Sing: Ohio’s Appalachian Voices, funded by the Academy of American Poets and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Women of Appalachia Project’s anthology series, “Women Speak.” Gunter-Seymour is the founder, curator and host of “Spoken & Heard,” a seasonal performance series featuring poets, writers and musicians from across the country; an artist in residence at the Wexner Center for the Arts and a 2021-22 Pillar of Prosperity Fellow for the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.
“Ohio Arts Council: A Snapshot of Ohio’s Creativity & Impact”
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Tuesday, June 20 | Orchestra Hall
The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) is mission focused. The organization makes grant awards, supports arts education for children, elevates the profiles of Ohio’s artists and arts organizations, and carefully stewards public funds. Through these investments they leverage their unique position within state government to be a champion for Ohio’s cultural assets, to bolster the economy, and to inspire growth and learning for people of all ages. The arts strengthen our state and contribute to our continued prosperity. Ohio’s artistic community, its constituent organizations and leaders, is one of our state’s greatest selling points. The arts create jobs, improve our competitiveness and anchor our communities. Join Donna Collins to learn more about your state arts agency and the Ohio’s creativity and impact.
Donna S. Collins serves as the executive director of the Ohio Arts Council a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Collins brings 30+ years of experience in leading a state agency and statewide non-profit organizations, demonstrating consistent success and solid results impacting policy, education, economic development, and arts and culture. In 2015 John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, inducted Collins into the Association of Ohio Commodores whose mission is to assist the State of Ohio in its advancement in all areas contributing to economic growth and development, and the greater prosperity of its citizens. At the national level Collins is an elected Board member of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA); former Chair of the Kennedy Center National Leadership Committee, Chair of the State Arts Action Network and Arts Education Council of Americans for the Arts.
1 p.m. Wednesday, June 21 | Pavilion West Deck
McNiece performs poetry enlivened by his blend of interactive theater, comedy, and improvised songs. Attendees of this workshop will journey with McNiece through the many ways of expressing poetry including narrative, dramatic and lyric. Learn to write short poems, learn performance techniques and perform their own poems.
Poetry Workshop Shareout
4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 21 | Walnut Plaza, Rain Location: Hoover Auditorium Lobby
Participants from the 1 p.m. Poetry Workshop perform their work. All are welcome to attend.
Ray McNeice has earned a national reputation for his solo theater pieces, poetry and music shows. An educator, he has captained two National Poetry Slam Championship teams and shares his “edutaining” children’s shows and workshops across the country. McNiece, a Cleveland resident, has authored 11 books of poems and monologues and CDs. Among many awards, he has received a Creative Work Force Fellowship and held residencies at The Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Jack Kerouac House.
He’s currently Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights. In 2021, McNiece received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cleveland Arts Prize. He has toured in Italy twice and in Russia, where he appeared on “Good Morning, Russia” and performed at the Moscow Polytech and the Russian Poets’ Hall of Fame. McNiece is also an accomplished actor and has appeared in plays at Ensemble, Dobama, Cleveland Public and Cleveland Playhouse theatres. He was an original cast member of the improv comedy Flanigan’s Wake.
10:30 a.m., Friday, June 23 | Orchestra Hall
Angela Meleca has served as Executive Director CreativeOhio since fall 2019. She played a vital role in the organization’s rebranding from Ohio Citizens for the Arts and helped expand its mission, vision and values. Meleca’s most significant accomplishment was securing $110 million in state funding over three years, with an additional $50.7 million pending in the state biennium budget. This is a significant milestone, representing the most considerable public funding ever awarded to Ohio’s non-profit arts and creative organizations.
Before joining CreativeOhio, Meleca owned and established the Angela Meleca Gallery in downtown Columbus. With over 30 years of professional experience, Meleca has a diverse background in the arts and as a former political reporter. She has worked as a press secretary for the Ohio Senate Majority Caucus and the Ohio Senate President, and her areas of expertise include media relations, marketing, and public relations.
Meleca, a Columbus native, holds a bachelor’s degree in political science specializing in journalism from Ohio State University. As a Committee Co-Chair for the Ohio Commission for
the U.S. Semiquincentennial, she is actively involved in shaping the future of her community. Her expertise has been recognized by multiple universities, including Ohio State University, Kent
State University, Miami University, Oberlin College and Columbus College of Art & Design. Meleca graduated from Leadership Ohio in 2020 and served on the boards of directors for Dublin Arts Council and St. Joseph Montessori.