Awesome Piqua celebrating third year

Group brainstorms ideas to engage public

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA — Awesome Piqua, the local branch of the Awesome Foundation, met this week with recent recipients of their $1,000 grants to celebrate the start of their third year of supporting fun and helpful projects within Piqua as well as to brainstorm ways to get more people engaged with Awesome Piqua.

“This is the beginning of the third year of Awesome Piqua,” Dan French, dean of Awesome Piqua, said.

Awesome Piqua has given out 13 grants in two years, each totaling $1,000 for the recipients to do something awesome in Piqua.

“We want to do thing that are going to make Piqua a better community,” French said. “When we started, we were the first chapter in Ohio.” The other chapter of the Awesome Foundation is in Youngstown.

The projects can range from any number of things that impact the Piqua community in ways that those needs are not already being met or they can include “totally frivolous” options that let locals have some fun. According to their website, “a project should make people feel better about their community, by an activity or event which benefits the community as a whole, or a section of the community. Projects can have an educational goal, such as teaching school children about growing vegetables and plants so they learn about agriculture and where our food comes from; or a recreational goal, such as inspiring people to use our recreational path and water assets; to all kinds of other ideas.”

“Life should have a lot of fun in it,” French said.

A recent recipient of the Awesome Piqua grant is Robin Heintz, who organized the PiquaPOP street art experience happening on Canal Place in downtown Piqua from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Musical guests for the event include the Drab Irish Band, who will perfrom from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Constant Occurrence, who will perform from 5-6 p.m.; and Stellar Regions, who will perform from 6-8 p.m.

Other guests for the event include Derek Baker, photography; Kelsey McDowell, kaleidoscope experience; Courtney Shumard, photography, Jim Shively, airbrushed Harley; Sit ‘N Stick yarncrafters; and Bruce Soifer, photography and digital art. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own yarn to join the Sit ‘N Stick yarncrafter.

Another recent recipient is AJ Ganger of the Indian Nation Station, or Piqua’s channel 5, who will have a booth at Piqua’s Taste of the Arts on May 11. The booth will include a photo booth where guests can have their pictures taken in front of a green screen and then choose from a variety of locations in Piqua to be their background. Ganger noted that one of the options is a photo of an empty Main Street.

Thomas Fogt of Piqua also used an Awesome Piqua grant to host a clean-up day event in the Shawnee neighborhood on Earth Day. Fogt thanked members of No Mercy Crossfit for helping out and Sunset Meats for donating food. While attendance was lower than expected this year, he said that he will try to keep promoting that event to hold a bigger one next year.

“I’m going to keep on driving,” Fogt said.

The Awesome Piqua trustees also went over new grant applications, discussing partnering with Morris Heating Cooling Comfort Systems to donate a central air conditioning system and also the possibility of contributing to a project to hold movie nights in the park. Both of those ideas are expected to undergo further discussions.

The trustees and attendess also discussed ways to get the word out about their grants in order to engage with the public more and receive more grant applications. Ideas included having a section in a local newsletter, having banners present at Awesome Piqua events, and a variety of different pitch parties, including parties where different non-profit organizations are invited to pitch ideas to the trustees. They also discussed the possibility of having an “Awesome Day” at a local school, asking the kids to come with awesome ideas, and then choosing one of those ideas to fund.

Awesome Piqua events will also be posted on the Piqua Community Calendar at or on their new Piqua Community Calendar Facebook page.

For more information or to apply for an Awesome Piqua grant, visit or contact Awesome Piqua at
Group brainstorms ideas to engage public

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at

Reach Sam Wildow at