Creating a zeal

Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award

DeeDee Glimcher is passionate about the arts in Columbus, and that passion has made a tremendous difference to the arts and cultural community in the city.

Glimcher has been instrumental to the advancement of the Greater Columbus Arts Council since 1999, serving as the head of several committees, vice chair and, most recently, chair during her tenure on the board.

While at GCAC, Glimcher helped lead the organization in its efforts to grow and become more transparent.

In December 2008, the GCAC, in partnership with the Americans for the Arts, presented Districts & Culture, a conference of national arts leaders that examined a variety of districts. Using Columbus as a model, attendees learned how to measure the impact and effectiveness of districts in supporting and promoting culture.

The council also debuted a professional development series for artists that helped them learn the business skills they need to succeed. OPPArt (Opportunities for Artists) has included resume and grant-writing workshops, networking opportunities and discussions on topics such as what it takes to make a living as an artist.

Glimcher is also a leader in the city of Columbus, along with the Columbus Arts Commission, which sets policy for public art throughout the city.

Additionally, Glimcher and her husband, Herb, are donors for numerous arts organizations in Central Ohio, including the Wexner Center for the Arts, COSI and the Columbus Museum of Art.

While Glimcher’s passion shows through her actions, it’s also expressed through her words, especially in what she wrote in the council’s 2008 annual report.

She pointed out that many people appreciate the arts for their intrinsic benefits, but said that the arts go beyond the intrinsic.

“The arts help with work force issues by developing the kind of workers business leaders need to compete in the 21st century global economy,” she wrote.

“In tough economic times, innovation and creativity are more important than ever, and a strong arts sector helps attract and retain skilled, educated workers. As cities compete for new business in a sagging economy, it is essential for Columbus to have the creative work force needed to attract those businesses and keep them here.”

How to reach: Greater Columbus Arts Council, (614) 224-2606 or