D. David Sapp is a 2018 recipient of an Ohio Arts Council (OAC) Individual Excellence Award.
The awards program recognizes outstanding accomplishments by artists in a variety of disciplines.
These awards give artists the resources to experiment and explore their art forms, develop skills and advance their careers, and receive affirmation and acknowledgement for outstanding work. Competitive applications focused on the merit of past artistic work, combined with an open panel review conducted by nationally recognized professionals, ensuring that only the most exceptional individuals receive funding.
OAC board members approved the awards during a public meeting in late April.
During this funding cycle, applications in choreography, criticism, fiction/non-fiction, music composition, playwriting/screenplays and poetry were accepted. Each award is $5,000.
“We are fortunate to have a creative abundance of outstanding artists in Ohio,” said OAC Executive Director Donna S. Collins. “Frank Lloyd Wright was known to say, ‘I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things I want to see happen.’ The artists earning the Ohio Arts Council’s 2018 Individual Excellence Awards have indeed been tapped for their success.”
Sapp is a professor of art and the director of the Little Gallery at Bowling Green State University’s Firelands campus.
“I have taught studio art and art history at BGSU Firelands for 24 years,” Sapp said. “My wife is a retired high school English teacher. Our children both graduated from Edison High School. Our son, Andrew, works as an actuary for Nationwide Insurance in Columbus. Our daughter is a student, a senior, at BGSU in Bowling Green.”
Sapp’s master of fine arts degree was completed in drawing at BGSU. He attended the Cleveland Institute of Art and graduated from Mount Vernon Nazarene University with a degree in art and psychology.
“I am originally from Knox County — Mt. Vernon and Gambier,” said Sapp, who graduated from Mount Vernon Senior High School in 1978.
“My family and I have lived in Berlin Heights now for 23 years,” he said.
His poems have appeared widely in a number of venues across the United States, in Canada and the United Kingdom: Poetry Salzburg, University of Salzburg, Austria; Stand Magazine, University of Leeds, England, Pennine Platform, Bradford England; Dalhousie Review, Nova Scotia, Queen’s Quarterly, Kingston Ontario; and in the US: The Alembic, Cape Rock, Willard and Maple, Tulane Review, Roanoke Review, Chattahoochee Review and The Journal at Ohio State University. His publications also include articles in the Journal of Creative Behavior; chapbooks Close to Home and Two Buddha; and his novel, Flying Over Erie.
Sapp’s submission to the OAC was a selection of poetry, the fruition of imagery and experience over several decades. The work focused upon prose poems with subjects that include nature, direct experience and memory. Included in the manuscript were reflections on teaching, family, and rather ordinary encounters made significant through attentiveness and vision. Many poems use Berlin Heights and memories of Gambier as subject matter.
Sapp stated for the review panelists: “In committing to the creative act, my primary goal is to actualize a work of poetry that embodies natural, immediate, and responsive expression. My aim is not to produce the sensational or the intellectually novel, but to validate the complexity of the human presence, to find a narrative truth in the human condition as I might interpret it at a particular moment.”
Sapp plans to conduct readings in the Sandusky area, Mount Vernon and other Ohio venues.
“In addition to writing and publishing poetry, both nationally and internationally, I am a visual artist,” Sapp said. “This last year, I exhibited at the Sandusky Cultural Center, and Carrington Arts in Sandusky as well as at the Firelands Association for the Visual Arts in Oberlin. I will be reading for students at Mount Vernon Nazarene University in the fall, and I hope to read in local venues over the coming year with, perhaps, collaborations with other Ohio Arts Council grant recipients.”
No Huron County residents received an Individual Excellence Award during this funding cycle.
However, in addition to Sapp, four residents in surrounding counties earned this honor: Sarah Wells, of Ashland, for non-fiction; Elizabeth Ogonek, of Oberlin, for music composition; Marco Wilkinson, of Oberlin, for non-fiction; and Mark Jordan, of Lucas, for criticism.
The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. For more information, visit oac.ohio.gov/grants.