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Meet Arts Patron Charlotte P. Kessler

Mon, May 13, 2013

Jack and Charlotte Kessler at the Annie Leibovitz preview, 2012. Photo: Kevin Fitzsimons.

Each year, the Ohio Arts Council honors notable Ohio artists, arts organizations, arts patrons, and business supporters with the Governor's Awards for the Arts. Here, the Wexner Center celebrates philanthropist and former Wexner Center Foundation Trustee Charlotte P. Kessler, who won the 2013 award in the Arts Patron category.

Over the years, we have continually been impressed by Charlotte Kessler’s passion and dedication to the arts, so it’s no surprise that her many contributions have been recognized by the Ohio Arts Council. Her support for the arts has included leadership in development, corporate governance, and mission-based vision for a wide variety of arts organizations, locally and nationally. As Wexner Center Foundation Trustee (and former board chair) C. Robert Kidder wrote in his nomination support letter, “Charlotte's role as both an arts advocate and a philanthropic leader in our community is invaluable to the Columbus metropolitan area and to the entire Ohio arts community.”

In Columbus, Charlotte has served a wide range of arts and cultural organizations, including the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Players Theatre, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Franklin Park Conservatory, the Columbus Foundation, Greater Columbus Arts Council, and Ohio Arts Council. In 2011, she was instrumental in bringing Rocco Landesman, then the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, to Ohio for arts tours of Hamilton, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. Landesman’s visit to Columbus culminated in a panel discussion titled A Way Forward: Arts and Economic Development in the Wexner Center’s Mershon Auditorium. Featuring local community leaders, this event was attended by some 1,000 artists, arts patrons and advocates, and arts workers. On the national level, Charlotte was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the National Council on the Arts, which is the advisory body of the National Endowment for the Arts.

We at the Wexner Center agree wholeheartedly with Wexner Center Foundation Trustee Abigail Wexner, who notes, “The impact of Charlotte's contributions of time, resources, energy, and leadership to the arts community in Ohio is truly immeasurable and unparalleled.” We congratulate Charlotte on the well-deserved honor of a 2013 Governor’s Award for the Arts in recognition her many contributions to arts and culture in Ohio and beyond.

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