Cincinnati, OH – May 15, 2014 – ArtsWave announces a new strategic initiative in partnership with LISC Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to support arts activities in five Place Matters neighborhoods in the coming year. ArtsWave will award $45,000 in grants to LISC’s designated community revitalization organizations in Avondale, Covington, Madisonville, Price Hill, and Walnut Hills. Each Place Matters neighborhood will use the funds to contract with arts organizations supported by ArtsWave or to support activities that include community-building arts programs.

“ArtsWave sees this partnership with LISC as an opportunity to direct resources in alignment with broader community goals and strategies,” says Alecia Kintner, President & COO, ArtsWave. “We know that the region’s arts organizations can be vital partners in bringing neighbors together and building more vibrant communities, and we wanted to intentionally layer arts resources in locations where there they can fit within existing workplans. We are very excited about how the Place Matters neighborhoods intend to leverage the power of the arts to advance their specific objectives.”

The collaboration began to take shape in late January 2014, when ArtsWave convened a gathering of the LISC leadership team along with representatives from the Place Matters neighborhood redevelopment agencies to discuss how the arts could be further integrated into their dynamic urban interventions. In this initial conversation, there was an immediate consensus that community art gatherings and public art installations play a vital role in the comprehensive revitalization of a neighborhood, transforming and beautifying physical spaces, spurring economic development, and reducing safety concerns. Furthermore, ArtsWave’s recent research on local arts engagement demonstrates that residents who are highly-engaged in the arts report a growing circle of friends and a deeper connection to their community.

"This exciting partnership with ArtsWave will help fuel community engagement and pride in the five Place Matters communities. Successful creative placemaking is about the impact of local arts on people in these neighborhoods," says Kathy Schwab, Executive Director, LISC Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

Some of the projects that will be supported through these grants include:

- Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation will use funds to bring the powerful “Kin Killing Kin Art Series” to the neighborhood as part of its strategy to promote alternatives to violence. It will also help residents connect to African culture through cooking and performance programs from Bi-Okoto and Cincinnati Black Theatre.

- The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington will enhance its 2014 Art Off Pike with “ArtsWave Presents” appearances by Visionaries & Voices and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, among others; and celebrate its 2015 bicentennial with special site-specific performances by a variety of arts groups including fall performance by Cincinnati Opera in Linden Grove Cemetery and a spring performance Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in a Westside greenspace.

- Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation will launch The Madisonville Jazz and BBQ Festival, a new event in the fall of 2014 in the heart of the business district at Madison and Whetsel, and immediately adjacent to the Madisonville Arts and Cultural Center (MACC).

- Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation will add arts programming to its We Are Walnut Hills Springfest and its second annual Street Food Festival, and to its transformed community public space, Five Points Alley.

- Price Hill Will and Santa Maria Community Services plan to bring together members of their multicultural communities to share performances by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and MYCincinnati in schools and community centers.

“We typically think of the arts in terms of enrichment and self-expression, but they are also a great tool for building community,” says Pamela Taylor, Community Outreach Coordinator, Price Hill Will.  “We’re so excited to have this opportunity to bring together diverse populations in East, West and Lower Price Hill, building cohesion through the shared experience of watching and participating in live performances.”

Each grant project will also involve local community partners such as United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Urban League of Cincinnati, schools, community councils, Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs, and business associations.

This initiative falls under ArtsWave’s umbrella program called ArtsWave Presents, an effort to extend arts programming across the region. Funds for this initiative were contributed by The Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee as part of ArtsWave’s record-breaking $12 million 2014 community campaign for the arts. This is the second wave of strategic investments by ArtsWave in 2014, following the partnership with Interact for Health on the “Join the Fun” program that launched in February. ArtsWave will announce its impact grant awards to local arts organizations in June.

For a complete listing of projects, visit Follow @ArtsWave and @LISC_Cincy on Twitter, and ArtsWave and LISC Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky on Facebook for announcements of upcoming public events.