Joan Perch                         Submitted Photo

Oscar Rosado

Program Developer and Outreach Coordinator of the Campana Center, Joan Perch won Governor’s Award for the arts.

According to the Ohio Arts Council, “the award has been a tradition since 1971. The Governor’s Award showcases and celebrates exceptional Ohio artists, arts organizations, arts leaders and patrons, and business support of the arts. Award recipients will be presented with the only arts award in the state that is conferred by the governor.”

Perch is one of eight people receiving the award on Mar. 25. The award category she won was for community development in participation.

Perch was nominated via letters of support by artist professionals who have worked with her. Perch was involved in art initiatives in Cleveland before working here at LCCC. Perch was involved at the forefront of art galleries, such as the SPARX City Hop. She has helped with the ingenuity festival and the Cleveland Art summit, ran two galleries, and created a nonprofit organization called the RED Dot project, that helped market and sell the work of regional artists, and helped them make a living. “It’s important to me that we support artists in our communities.”

Perch has worked at the Stocker Art Center for 12 years, and during her time she was involved with the community on campus, and her and a group of others created the healing garden, and from that came the FireFish festival, which she has led. From the FireFish, Perch had initiated what became known as the STEAM maker academy, which she brought to the campana, which is an innovative program for teens in Lorain and Elyria that teaches them 21st century workforce development skills through art and creativity and brings in technology, which gives them college credit for intro to digital fabrication class.

Believer of Art and Tech

“I’ve always been a big believer in the connection between art and technology and the importance of having artists and artwork in communities and getting artists, kids, students, and youth engaged in new technology.”

Perch said she has also initiated a program called Future Artists Lab at the Campana, from Oberlin, to Lorain County, to Cleveland.

“It’s really an honor. I’m really happy and excited to receive it. It’s a lot of fun to get an award,” said Perch who heard the news of her achievement before Christmas. 

“I had the opportunity to come here and work in this new and exciting building that was about connecting everything including the arts, and technology,” said Perch. She added, “Technology right here is growing and it’s going to be really a part of the future world in ways people can’t even imagine now. When artists and creative people get together with technologists who know how to do all that magic, great things happen.”

Perch will continue to serve and volunteer as a board member for the FireFish festival, which is about re imagining Lorain and Lorain County.

“We will continue to grow exciting programs for the community and youth and teens and adults and everyone to grow the efforts. So that more and more people can come in and creatively use the campana center and its great technology and other services,”

Showcasing Value in Arts

Perch added, “Receiving the award provides a real opportunity to showcase the value of the arts in education and in communities and in Stem education and in technology, it gives us an opportunity to highlight what we’re doing at the campana center and what we’re doing with the FireFish festival,” said Perch. She added, “I hope it brings attention to the work we all do together. The award is about community, and we’re a community college and the work we all do together, and when it all comes together, that’s when we’re doing our very best. I am proud that the award is about community because that’s in our name, community!”