Zona Among Local Winners of Arts Advocacy Awards

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Louis A. Zona, executive director of The Butler Institute of American Art, is being recognized for his extensive contribution to the arts.

The CreativeOhio Champion Advocacy Awards for the Mahoning Valley on Thursday announced that Zona is the winner of its lifetime achievement award.

The awards program, which is in its first year, will focus on a different city or region of Ohio every year, with Youngstown being the first.

Four other winners were revealed as part of Thursday’s announcement. They are:

  • Rebecca Keck, president of Students Motivated by the Arts, Arts Educator.
  • Daniel Rauschenbach, co-owner of Soap Gallery and Sage Art Gallery, Artist Champion.
  • Jim Tressel, former president of Youngstown State University, Individual Advocate Champion.
  • Huntington Bank, Business Advocate Champion.

The winners will be celebrated at a luncheon ceremony Oct. 20 at The Lake Club in Poland. The selection committee – composed of CreativeOhio board members – selected the winners based on their efforts “to enrich the community, citizens and culture through constant advocacy and relentless support of creatives,” according to a news release.

“We’ve long been impressed with the advocacy that comes from the Mahoning Valley,” said CreativeOhio Foundation board member Sue Porter, who also serves as executive director of BalletMet in Columbus.

Nominations were solicited from the Mahoning Valley.

The October luncheon will be a fundraiser for the CreativeOhio Foundation. It is being presented by Youngstown-based promoter JAC Live, with additional support from the Greater Columbus Arts Council.

The CreativeOhio Champion Advocacy Awards aim to spotlight advocates who drive change through their dedication to the arts.

CreativeOhio – formerly Ohio Citizens for the Arts – is the leading statewide advocacy organization for creatives and the creative economy.

The Champion awards do not carry a cash prize but are part of the organization’s efforts to expand recognition for arts advocates, according to Angela Meleca, executive director.

“Advocacy is the most effective when it’s in the communities, not the halls of the Statehouse,” Meleca said in an interview with The Business Journal earlier this year. “So why not honor the state’s biggest arts cheerleaders in their own community?”

With a $55 billion annual impact, the arts are a powerful economic engine in Ohio, Meleca said.

More information about the awards, sponsorship opportunities and reservations is available HERE.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.