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March 24, 2017


Contact: Carol Harmon, charmon@columbusfoundation.org614/251-4000

Awards Recognize Artistic Innovation in Central Ohio

Columbus, OH (March 24, 2017)At a ceremony at The Columbus Foundation, five leading artistic directors and one touring artist were named the newest recipients of The Columbus Performing Arts Prize. This unique award is designed to celebrate and support the exceptional individuals leading performing arts organizations or projects, and their aspirations for creative growth. Recipients were named by the creators of the Performing Arts Innovation Fund, Douglas F. Kridler, President and CEO of The Columbus Foundation, and George S. Barrett, Chairman and CEO of Cardinal Health.

“The Columbus Performing Arts Prize is based on the belief that creativity grows when artists are given the flexibility to take on projects they believe in, supporting ideas which are often outside the scope of traditional budgets for organizations,” said Kridler.


Columbus Performing Arts Prize recipients join 5 Nonprofits to Watch honorees in recognition for their work. First row (l-r): Douglas F. Kridler, The Columbus Foundation; Dan A. Sharpe, The Columbus Foundation; Bruce Luecke, Homeport; Julie Holbein, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland; Seleshi Asfaw, Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services; Rachel Lustig, Catholic Social Services; and Denise Robinson, Alvis. Second row (l-r): Byron Stripling, Columbus Jazz Orchestra; Stev Guyer, Shadowbox Live; Edwaard Liang, BalletMet; Stacie Boord, Shadowbox Live; and David Brown, Harmony Project.

The newest Arts Prize recipients include:

  • Rossen Milanov, Music Director, Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO) - $30,000: As part of its 2017 Picnic with the Pops summer series, the CSO will inspire audiences with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with world-class soloists and other expanded concert production elements. “I cannot describe how moved and humbled I feel to accept this recognition of our efforts to bring high-caliber performances to Columbus and to extend the reach of our art form to wider and diverse audiences,” stated Milanov. “There is no better work to be shared on the stage of the Columbus Commons as a summer expansion of the Columbus Symphony’s classical season than Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony.”
  • Peggy Kriha Dye, Artistic Director, Opera Columbus - $35,000: Along with Toronto-based co-producer Against the Grain Theatre, Opera Columbus will present Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera Orphée et Eurydice. Working with the Banff Festival and using the latest sound and visual technology, Opera Columbus will push the boundaries of storytelling to bring this mythical tale of enduring love to life in Columbus in the spring of 2018.
  • Byron Stripling, Artistic Director, Columbus Jazz Orchestra (CJO) - $25,000: CJO will plan a special concert week to mark its 45th anniversary. “The Arts Prize allows us to celebrate with a high-powered extravaganza,” said Stripling. “In addition to procuring the services of world renowned saxophonist Joshua Redman, we have engaged Grammy winning composer John Clayton to write a piece celebrating the 45th Anniversary. None of this would have been possible without the generous support of the Arts Prize and we are so thankful for their efforts in uplifting the Arts in Columbus.”
  • Stev Guyer, Executive Producer and CEO, Shadowbox Live - $30,000: This Arts Prize, given in honor of Stev Guyer to support his legacy and contributions to Columbus, will go towards an upcoming production of Kabuki, featuring the work of bestselling graphic novelist David Mack.
  • Robert Post, International Touring Artist - $25,000: Having completed tours of Russia, Turkey, Canada and the United States, Robert Post will use his artistic expertise to complete “How to Survive Middle School,” a multi-media live and video production that brings to the forefront the many challenges facing middle school students. In addition, Post will create a special video on bullying, specifically cyber-bullying, as well as materials for schools to continue the conversation after his live engagement. To get a taste of Robert Post’s work, visit:
  • David Brown, Founder and Creator, Harmony Project - $55,000: The Harmony Project will launch the Spirit of Columbus Choir, a new 500 member ensemble that will present a special concert at the Columbus Commons. Once formed, the choir will give its debut performance in collaboration with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. The two choruses will combine for a special concert in an expanded venue in December – almost 1,000 voices strong. Learn more about the Harmony Project.

The Columbus Performing Arts Prize is given to recipients “out of the blue,” without any application process, or specified or regular timing. Continuous discovery of the plans and visions of the central Ohio community’s artistic directors is part of the ongoing due diligence for selecting prize winners.

The Performing Arts Innovation Fund is a Donor Advised Fund at The Columbus Foundation created in 2015. Currently, its purpose is to fund The Columbus Performing Arts Prize.

Stay connected with The Columbus Foundation for updates on projects funded by the Columbus Performing Arts Prize at columbusfoundation.or and

About The Columbus Foundation

The Columbus Foundation is the trusted philanthropic advisor® to 2,500 individuals, families, and businesses who have created charitable funds and planned gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. Serving the region for more than 70 years, The Columbus Foundation is ranked among the ten largest community foundations in the United States. For more, visit or call 614/251-4000.