Each year, CGMC presents the Forte Award to an individual(s) who represents our Vision and Mission of “Voices Raised, Lives Changed.”

We are proud to recognize those in the Columbus community who directly reflect these values.

2014 Forte Award Winners

Scot Hafler

Paul Richmond

2013 Forte Award Winners

Loann Crane

Aminah Robinson

Dr. Wayne P. Lawson – Recipient of the 2012 Forte Award

Since the 1970s, Wayne P. Lawson has been a pivotal figure in arts leadership across the state of Ohio. For nearly 30 years, Lawson served as the fourth executive director of the Ohio Arts Council. Following his retirement in 2006, he has continued his fervent support for the arts by serving as a professor of public policy and arts administration at The Ohio State University, advising the Greater Columbus Arts Council on strategic initiatives, and volunteering on a number of arts and cultural boards.

Lawson is a trustee of the Columbus Museum of Art; chairman of the Alliance of Artists Communities in Providence, Rhode Island; a trustee of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts; and vice president of the board of Thurber House, a literary center in Columbus, Ohio. He has been on many program panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, served a three-year term as chairman of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and completed three terms as chairman of Arts Midwest.

Lawson, who was born in Cleveland, received a BA in Romance languages, an MA in European literature and earned his doctorate in theater and comparative literature from The Ohio State University. His tenure as director of the Ohio Arts Council lasted from 1978 to 2006. During that time, the Ohio Arts Council became one of the foremost state arts agencies in the nation in terms of funding, long-range planning and evaluation, support for individual artists and innovative services to constituents in all arts disciplines.

At the 2011 Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio, presented by the Ohio Arts Council and Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation, Lawson received the prestigious Irma Lazarus Award for his lifelong dedication to the arts. This wasn’t the first time Lawson was recognized for his commitment to the arts. In October 2011, Lawson was honored as an “arts legend” by the King Arts Complex for his significant contribution in preserving our culture and shaping our communities, city, state and nation. He received the Gary Young Award for outstanding leadership in arts administration from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and was honored by the Association of American Cultures for leadership and commitment to the development of cultural diversity in the arts. In 2009, he was recognized by the Chilean National Council for Culture and the Arts for his professional commitment to cultural collaborations between Ohio and Chile, a segment of the International Program that he founded at the Ohio Arts Council. In September 2010, Lawson produced the exhibition that represented the United States for the centennial anniversary of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. 100 Years of American Art was supported by the U.S. Embassy in Chile.

Andrew Levitt – Recipient of the 2012 Forte Award

Andrew Levitt has spent his career in Central Ohio working for the arts and promoting social justice. In 2011, Levitt launched Project: Zero Ohio. This organization was created with the collaboration with Dr. Randy Sharma and Steven Weaver. Project Zero Ohio seeks to provide those medications to patients who can’t afford them at no cost.

Mr. Levitt has raised over $300,000 to support both local and national organizations. Along with fund raising Mr. Levitt also works to raise awareness of issues that affect the LGBT such as AIDS, Same-Sex Marriage and Discrimination. Some of the organizations Mr. Levitt has worked with are the following: The Trevor Project, Columbus Aids Task Force, CLGSA. Camp Sunrise, Ohio AIDS Coalition, Project Open Hand, Equality Ohio, Equality California, NOH8 Campaign, Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, Kaleidescope, The Matthew Shepherd Foundation and BRAVO. These organizations are just part of the long list Mr. Levitt has given his support to.

Along with fund raising and raising awareness, Mr. Levitt has won 2008 Entertainer of the Year Title and has performed with the cast of Wicked, Aida and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Levitt also has had the honor of performing for former Ohio First Lady Francis Strickland and famed director John Waters.

Frank Barnhart – Recipient of the 2011 Forte Award

Frank has been a member of the Central Ohio theatre community for over 25 years, serving as an actor, director, administrator and instructor. He is currently a member of the Communication faculty at Columbus State Community College and Capital University, and the Executive Director of Actors’ Theatre of Columbus. He was recently named “Best Director of the Year” by the Central Ohio Critics Circle for his production of Company at Gallery Players. For six years, he served as the founder and producer of The Columbus National Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival and he is also the co-founder of The Reality Theatre and founder of Act Out Productions.

He has received numerous awards for his work; including the Harold Award, the Roundtable Award and the Stoney Award. Frank is also an award winning off-off Broadway Director and Producer, having received an OOBR Award (off-off Broadway Review) for his production of Members of the Tribe. His directing credits include award winning productions of Comedy of Errors, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Dark of the Moon for Actors’ Theatre, The Guys for Act Out Productions, The Laramie Project, The Shape of Things and The Triangle Factory Fire Project for Theatre Columbus State and Falsettos for Reality Theatre.

He holds an MFA from The Ohio State University and he is currently pursuing an MA in Mass Communication and Journalism from Kent State University. Frank is also a member of Actors Equity Association and The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Jeffrey and Jody Scheiman – Recipient of the 2010 Forte Award

Jeffrey and Jody Scheiman’s have worked tirelessly bringing awareness of HIV/AIDS through their work with the Columbus AIDS Task Force and more specifically in growing and transforming “Art for Life” into a marquee fundraising event. Jeff and Jody’s efforts have increased the profile and value of the work of local artists, increased the national profile of Columbus as a major “arts community” while raising awareness of the impact AIDS has had on individuals and the community in Central Ohio and while helping to raise countless dollars in support of people affected by and infected with HIV/AIDS.

Jim Arter – Recipient of the 2009 Forte Award

Jim Arter has been a tireless advocate for the health, welfare, safety and creativity of children for the past 25 years. Jim is a Columbus based visual Artist, painter, sculptor, and avid gardener. He is the Associate Artist of the Greater Columbus Arts.

In 1992, Mr. Arter began a two-year residency at the Sullivant Gardens Recreation Center on the west side of Columbus. Working with a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and with collaboration from the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, and the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Mr. Arter pioneered an after-school arts & public safety program for at-risk children in a high-crime neighborhood. He worked alone on site two days per week and on Saturdays with visiting artists. This program became the prototype for Children of the Future (COF). Mr. Arter is co-founder of the COF AmeriCorps program, which began in 1995.

In 1995 and 1996, Mr. Arter served as an AmeriCorps artist-member in the Children of the Future program, working with a team to provide daily, year-round arts activities for children. In 1996 the Children of the Future program was awarded the “American Canvas Model Project Award” presented by Jane Alexander from the National Endowment for the Arts.

In 1997, Mr. Arter was hired as an Artist Leader with Children of the Future, providing programming two days per week and assisting with many aspects of member training and program outreach. In 1999, Mr. Arter joined the GCAC staff as Associate Artist for the Community Arts Education Program. The Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Children of the Future program was selected by the United States Conference of Mayors and Americans for the Arts to receive the “2003 Government Leadership in the Arts Award in the category of Excellence in Arts Programs for Youth”, and the ceremony was held in Washington D.C.
Jim is the recipient of multiple community awards, and he tries to live the motto…”Grow wherever you are planted”.