Ohio Arts Council Honors YSU Prof

COLUMBUS, Ohio — RJ Thompson is among nine recipients for the annual Governor’s Awards for the Arts, which will be presented at a luncheon and ceremony at noon on Wednesday, May 15 at the Columbus Athenaeum.

Thompson, assistant professor of graphic and interactive design at Youngstown State University and is receiving the award for the Community Development and Participation category. As principal and creative strategist for the design research-based social enterprise, +Public, Thompson works to cultivate community and economic development impact by creating branded communication platforms, creative place-making and storytelling initiatives for “communities-in-revival,” according to a press release from the Ohio Arts Council.

“The 2019 Governor’s Awards winners are creative, forward-thinking and passionate representatives of Ohio’s artistic community,” said Donna S. Collins, executive director of the council. “On behalf of the Ohio Arts Council, I congratulate this year’s award recipients on earning our state’s most prestigious artistic and cultural achievement. The Governor’s Awards honor the work these individuals and organizations do every day to reaffirm the importance of the arts throughout Ohio and beyond.”

In 2017, Thompson received the Best of Marketing Award from the Ohio Economic Development Association for his work on the City of You rebranding project for the city of Youngstown. Last year, he was accepted into Cohort 2 of the National Arts Marketing Project and received a scholarship to participate in the National Arts Strategies’ Arts & Culture Strategies Executive Program through the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2015, he was among the recipients of an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the Innovative Plan for Leveraging Arts & Community Engagement project, or INPLACE.

The Governor’s Awards luncheon, a ticketed event open to the public, is held in conjunction with Arts Day, an annual arts advocacy event sponsored by the OCA Foundation. Winners will receive an original work of art by Ohio artist Caroline Rowntree.

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