Writing Excellence

Two Wittenberg alumni, a current professor, and a retired professor earn Ohio Arts Council Awards

Two Wittenberg alumni, a current professor, and a retired professor were among 75 individuals recently honored with 2024 Ohio Arts Council (OAC) Individual Excellence Awards.

Jeremy Glazier, Wittenberg class of 1997 from Columbus, Ohio, won in the category of criticism; Professor Emerita of English Mimi Dixon, from Springfield, Ohio, won in the non-fiction category; and Melissa Barrett, Wittenberg class of 2005 from Shaker Heights, Ohio, and Marlo Starr, assistant professor of English at Wittenberg from Dayton, Ohio, both won in the poetry category. Glazier, Barrett, and Dixon are all past winners.

A state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically, the OAC annually presents individual excellence awards to creative artists whose work exemplifies their specific discipline and advances the larger artistic community.

“This was my first time applying since I had only been an Ohio resident for just over a year at the time the grant application was due,” Starr said. “The grant is for an in-progress poetry manuscript, tentatively titled ‘Settlers.’ I’m hoping to finish the book by the end of the year and will continue to publish poems from the manuscript in literary journals along the way. The grant gives me the opportunity to focus on writing over the summer, and the award is a nice recognition of the manuscript’s progress so far.”

Interweaving personal memory and public history, her collection wrestles with ideas of the nation while also navigating individual and family trauma.

Starr is the latest among Wittenberg faculty who have earned OAC awards. Andrew J. Graff, associate professor of English, earned a 2022 award in the fiction category for his debut novel Raft of Stars. Others include Professor Emeritus of English Kent Dixon, the late Professor Emerita of English Imogene Bolls, former Adjunct Instructor of English Jody Rambo, and Dixon.

OAC’s Individual Excellence Awards program recognizes outstanding accomplishments by artists in a variety of disciplines. Awards give artists the resources to experiment and explore their art forms, develop skills, advance their careers, and receive affirmation and acknowledgment for outstanding work. Grant funding is voted on by OAC’s executive committee board members and totaled $375,000 for state fiscal year 2024. 

During this funding cycle, applications in choreography, criticism, fiction, non-fiction, music composition, playwriting/screenplays, and poetry were accepted. Each award is $5,000, with one collaborative award being shared. 

Individual Excellence Award funding recommendations are made through an anonymous, open panel review process focused on the exceptional merit of past artistic work. This year, nearly 500 applications were received from artists across the state. 

“On behalf of the Ohio Arts Council, I want to congratulate this year’s Individual Excellence Award recipients. Their work continues to exemplify Ohio’s wealth of exceptional artistic talent and demonstrates that artists can thrive in our great state,” said OAC Executive Director Donna S. Collins.  

A complete, alphabetized list by city and discipline of Individual Excellence Award recipients is available for download here on the OAC site at https://oac.ohio.gov.

About the Ohio Arts Council: The Ohio Arts Council was created in 1965 to foster and encourage the development of the arts and assist the preservation of Ohio's cultural heritage. With funds from the Ohio Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts, the OAC provides financial assistance to artists and arts organizations. The Council accomplishes this charge in two primary methods; first, through the various grant funding programs that the Council operates to provide support to artists and to make arts activities available to a broad segment of Ohio's public; and secondly, by providing services that help to enhance the growth of the arts.

Cindy Holbrook
Cindy Holbrook
Senior Communications Assistant

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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