Ohio Arts Council grants funds to three faculty, alumna

Creativity is priceless, but the expression of it can cost money. Helping fund those costs, the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) has awarded $5,000 each to BGSU Creative Writing faculty members Dr. Lawrence Coates and Theresa Williams and music composition faculty member Dr. Mikel Kuehn. The three are immersed in their work this summer and appreciative of the support from the grants, which are based on an artist’s body of work.

In addition to the faculty, Creative Writing alumna Amy Gustine, who published her first book this spring, was the recipient of an Individual Excellence Award. “We’re very proud of her,” Coates said, noting that Gustine returned to campus this spring to give a reading in Prout Chapel.  

Coates, a prolific novelist and short story writer, is at work on a new novel titled “Boom,” set after the Gold Rush in his native Northern California. His historical fiction requires deep research, often taking him to university libraries and other archives for material unavailable online. He will use some of his grant for research for that book and other projects.

Williams has found new inspiration in the graphic novel, combining writing and visual art, which means she needs both technological and traditional supplies. With the OAC award — her second — she will be able to upgrade her computer and other devices and purchase art materials.

Kuehn said of the Individual Excellence award, “This is the third one I've received (2008, 2014, 2016) and I'll be using it to cover some of the expenses of a new album of my music that will be released in November through New Focus Recordings called ‘Object/Shadow.’ Incidentally, the artwork has been designed by my son Stefan Kuehn who is a digital arts major at BGSU. It will be distributed through Naxos Music Library and iTunes.

“I'll be going to New York City at the end of this month for the premiere of a new piece for harp and guitar called ‘Entanglements’ that will be performed at Lincoln Center (commissioned through the International Contemporary Ensemble, ICE) and will be doing the mixing of the tracks on the album at that time.  

“I'm thrilled to have received the OAC award and equally happy to be living in a state that is actively promoting the arts through this adventurous funding program. I wouldn't have been able to make this ‘portrait’ of my work without it and I'm honored to be included with Lawrence and Theresa!”

The University’s winners were chosen from among 392 applicants. “So, a great year for BGSU in general, and Creative Writing in particular,” Coates said.