Local Arts Organizations Share $250,000 From PNC Arts Alive
Nine Central Ohio Arts Groups Benefit from Eighth Year of PNC’s Contributions

COLUMBUS, May 16, 2017 – A unique take on The Wizard of Oz, an exuberant, fun take on William Shakespeare’s classic plays and a first of its kind collaboration between two local arts organizations commemorating the 50th anniversary of the passing of Dr. Martin Luther King are among the highlights of nine central Ohio arts organizations receiving a total of $250,000 in grants from the PNC Foundation through PNC Arts Alive.

The awards are part of a 10-year commitment from PNC that has already provided $2.5 million to local arts organizations.  The grants cover a wide range of disciplines, audiences and participatory experiences from arts groups large and small, encompassing the city and suburban areas.  [See below for list of grant recipients]

“Central Ohio’s thriving arts and culture scene brings significant value to our economy and to all of us who live, work and play here,” said Michael Gonsiorowski, PNC regional president for Columbus.  “It’s a great feeling to be able to support visual and performing arts organizations who come up with creative new ideas.  Through PNC Arts Alive-funded programs we not only connect with the community but we are able to provide access to the arts and cultural events for those who might otherwise find it a challenge to engage with these programs. ”

First launched in 2010, PNC Arts Alive has already provided 72 grants to local, non-profit arts groups.  The program has earned local and national commendation from the Ohio Arts Awards and Americans for the Arts in New York City.  Last year PNC announced it would grant another $1 million and extend PNC Arts Alive four years.

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Programs supported through PNC Arts Alive include a collaboration between CATCO and the Columbus Museum of Art, along with other partners, that will culminate in a citywide arts celebration honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Other projects include Actors’ Theatre of Columbus plans of new productions of Shakespeare’s classic works performed in unique and non-traditional venues.  Rather than retelling the familiar “The Wizard of Oz,” BalletMet has created an original storyline to attract audiences, including adding large-scale puppets.

PNC Arts Alive is a multi-year grant initiative of the PNC Foundation that challenges visual and performing arts organizations to put forth their best, most original thinking in expanding audience participation and engagement.  To date, this award-winning program has provided approximately $13 million in grants to enterprising cultural organizations in four regions served by PNC.  For more information, visit www.pncartsalive.com.

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence.  The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture.  Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.



Actors’ Theatre of Columbus
An exuberant, fun take on Shakespeare’s classic plays, this program combines elements of guerrilla street theater and traditional Elizabethan staging methods.  Shakespearian plays will be edited into 90-minute productions and audiences will be treated to new productions of a classic works performed in unique and non-traditional venues.

Rather than retelling the familiar “The Wizard of Oz,” BalletMet has created an original storyline to attract audiences to this novel performing arts experience. Along with large-scale puppets, the ballet includes animated set pieces, state-of-the-art digital projections, magical costumes and a new musical score – all intended to change perspectives about ballet for first-time audiences.

In collaboration with the Lincoln Theatre, CATCO will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance by performing the musical SHUFFLE ALONG, which was first produced on Broadway in 1921. The project will include a digital oral history, photos and stories from the Harlem Renaissance.

Columbus Dance Theatre
In recognition of Columbus Dance Theatre’s 20th anniversary, the Company will perform a festival concert at the Lincoln Theatre. The project will include a “video catalogue” of past works from the Company’s history.  These works will be curated into four shows by a celebrity panel with input from the public via online voting.

Columbus Museum of Art
“I Too Sing of America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100,” is an original exhibition curated by Columbus native and highly acclaimed writer Wil Haygood. The exhibition will include a selection of books, sheet music, and print ephemera from the period will showcase the innovative and expansive cultural output produced in Harlem during this unforgettable epoch of American history. Dedicated, immersive spaces will enhance the visitors’ experience.  

Columbus Symphony Orchestra
Summer Night Music is a new series of classical music summer concerts that will be performed in the Southern and Lincoln Theaters as well as other suburban venues. The series will offer works by composers such as Mozart, Schubert, and Dvořák and will provide opportunities for diverse new audiences to experience the joy and enrichment of some of the world’s greatest music in communities throughout central Ohio.

King Arts Complex
A citywide arts celebration will honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 2018. Programming will include panel discussions, writing seminars, theatrical productions, keynote presentations, photography exhibitions and musical tributes.  Attendees will be able to share and record their personal stories through interactive video testimonial booths at each event.  These vignettes will be edited into a documentary film by students from the Columbus College of Art and Design.

Opera Columbus
In this new production, Opera Columbus will take a radical step forward from a traditional operatic production, to produce a work that interprets what Gluck could have done if he had access to 21st century technology.  This inventive production will blend the traditional with the avant garde, integrating a respectful approach to Baroque performance with the 21st century digital cutting edge, creating a modern spectacle that will appeal to new, younger audiences and experienced opera-goers alike.

Shadowbox Live
Shadowbox Live will produce a conceptual theater experience celebrating the societal revolution that was the American Civil Rights Era. Simple moments of poetry and spoken word will be woven around powerful vignettes and dance-theater pieces that resurrect pivotal moments of the movement.


Craig Friedman
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