Kevin McClatchy selected as 2024-25 Artist Laureate

Kevin McClatchy selected as 2024-25 Artist Laureate

Kevin McClatchy’s work will have a positive impact on underserved communities throughout Ohio.

The Ohio State University has selected Kevin McClatchy, associate professor in the Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts, as its 2024-25 Artist Laureate. He will begin a one-year appointment on July 1, 2024.

“As Artist Laureate, Kevin is poised to make a significant difference in the lives of underserved communities throughout Ohio,” said Vice Provost for the Arts Lisa Florman. “He not only exemplifies artistic excellence but also embodies the essence of scholarship, education and outreach that distinguishes Ohio State.”

A group of senior leaders celebrate with Kevin McClatchy during his surprise announcement.
Senior leadership surprised Kevin McClatchy (third from left) with news of his selection during a surprise classroom visit.

McClatchy has dedicated much of his creative research at Ohio State to cultivating lasting, positive community engagement and inclusion through the arts. As Artist Laureate, he will continue to elevate the university's impact by enhancing external engagement throughout the state, particularly in underserved communities.

As director of the Shakespeare and Autism Project, McClatchy uses sensory drama games with Shakespeare’s text to engage children and young adults on the autism spectrum. Through a 2012-2015 longitudinal study in Columbus-area schools led by Ohio State faculty and Nisonger Center researchers, statistically significant improvements were observed in communicative and social skills among the participants, validating the effectiveness of the project’s use of the Hunter Heartbeat Method as an intervention.

McClatchy also leads the Shakespeare and Veterans initiative in collaboration with the Columbus Department of Veterans Affairs. Through this project, McClatchy facilitates theatre workshops for combat veterans, active-duty personnel, military family members and community members. These workshops help participants find a new sense of community and process their unique experiences through new modes of self-expression.

“I’m immensely thankful for the chance to facilitate new experiences, foster skills development and create more connections across Ohio as Artist Laureate,” said McClatchy. “I am excited about the opportunities to engage my students in these efforts as well.  Storytelling and communalizing experiences are at the heart of the work we do in the Ohio State arts community, illuminating our shared humanity. I look forward to serving communities and institutions historically lacking regular access to such opportunities.”

McClatchy’s Artist Laureate plans include two programs, each with a distinct community partner focus. An expansion of his Shakespeare and Autism workshop will reach members of the autism community across the state through interactive workshops at Ohio State’s four regional campuses in Lima, Mansfield, Marion and Newark, as well as at select OSU Extension locations and other urban and rural centers.

McClatchy’s second program, an expansion of his interactive solo show, Scrap Heap, will engage military veterans, active personnel, family members and mental health professionals across the state.

“Kevin’s remarkable talent lies in empowering community members to share their narratives,” said Florman. “Through his dedicated work with young individuals with autism and war veterans, he has made a profound impact, forging meaningful connections with various groups in and around Columbus. As Artist Laureate, he will continue as an exemplary ambassador, making transformative changes in people’s lives.”

Kevin McClatchy receives a gold wreath from current Artist Laureate Nyama McCarthy-Brown.
To celebrate his selection as the next Artist Laureate, Kevin McClatchy receives a gold wreath from current Artist Laureate Nyama McCarthy-Brown.

Senior leaders notified McClatchy of his selection during a surprise classroom visit on April 5. Attending were Vice Provost for the Arts Lisa Florman, Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Patrick Louchouarn, College of Arts and Sciences Dean David Horn, 2023-24 Artist Laureate Nyama McCarthy-Brown and Divisional Dean of Arts and Humanities Dana Renga.

McClatchy oversees the acting curriculum in the Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts. He has been a working actor in theatre, film and television for 30 years.

His recent acting credits include a residency at the Wexner Center for the Arts with Scrap HeapThe Tempest at the Royal Shakespeare Company and film and television roles. His research interests include acting techniques and creating new work through civic engagement and contemporary Irish theatre. McClatchy is a member of the Actors' Equity Association, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Voice and Speech Trainer Association.

Ohio State’s inaugural Artist Laureate, Nyama McCarthy-Brown, is concluding a successful year of outreach and engagement. This spring, McCarthy-Brown brought her new production, Dancing Stories: Comings, Goings, and Finding Home, to Ohio State's regional campuses in Lima and Mansfield. The show features a collection of dances uplifting themes of identity, inclusion and ideas around who gets to dance. The Mansfield show featured a collaborative performance with Ohio State students and dancers from nearby Richland Academy for the Arts. Dance students of Meghan Mulcahy BFA ’22 from Lima’s Liberty Arts Magnet School collaborated with Ohio State dancers during the Lima performance.

Surprise classroom visit photos

Kevin McClatchy receives a hug of congratulations from a colleague during the surprise announcement
Kevin McClatchy is congratulated by colleagues in front of his class of students.
Kevin McClatchy's students give him a group hug after the surprise announcement.