June 22, 2015 — ArtsWave announces $10.4 million in grants and initiatives to create a vibrant regional economy and bring people together through the arts. These investments are made possible by the thousands of people and organizations who contributed to ArtsWave’s recent community campaign chaired by Tom Williams.  ArtsWave continues to be the largest united arts fund in the country, both in contributions and in number of donors.

“The annual investment of more than $10 million by a community arts campaign is extraordinary,” notes Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave’s President and CEO. “It is an enviable Cincinnati tradition and demonstrates the community’s deep belief that the arts are essential to making our region an amazing place to live.” 

As it does each year, ArtsWave relies on grantmaking committees of more than 50 community representatives to help evaluate grant submissions and determine dollar awards. A majority of funds provide impact grants to 35 local arts organizations. In addition, ArtsWave is investing $435,000 in 60 smaller project grants and strategic local partnerships. Restricted gifts to the community campaign will underwrite special initiatives in arts innovation, arts education, and arts and health.  Contributions to the campaign also support a wide variety of shared services for arts organizations such as collective marketing, board training, and employee engagement programs, as well as campaign fundraising expenses. ArtsWave will also continue its groundbreaking work in quantifying and promoting arts’ impact across the community.

ArtsWave made two-year impact grants in 2014 to 15 organizations, contingent upon performance and campaign success, and at Friday’s meeting, the Board approved the second year of funding for these impact grants. The Board also allocated funds to support one-year impact grants for another 20 organizations to be awarded this fall. 

“We are very fortunate to have the strong support of the business community through more than 260 workplace giving campaigns,” says Lisa Sauer, Chair, ArtsWave Board of Trustees and Vice President Product Supply, Global Home Products & External Supply Solutions at P&G. “The ArtsWave community campaign provides a special opportunity for employee engagement around issues that businesses know are important to their employees like thriving neighborhoods and connected communities. Our regional arts organizations have become more adept at measuring and sharing their impact. ArtsWave is building on this momentum as we look for opportunities to align the collective impact of the arts with broader community priorities and reach more people across the region.”  

At the same meeting, the Board approved grants for four special projects that exemplify how the region’s arts organizations are innovating to increase their impact on the community. Last year, in recognition of the retirement of ArtsWave’s longstanding chief executive Mary McCullough-Hudson, the Board of Trustees established an Innovation Fund in her honor to provide a pool of resources to incentivize risk-taking and entrepreneurial thinking within the arts sector. Twenty-one arts organizations submitted 3-minute videos outlining an innovative approach to increase audience attraction and/or audience engagement; eight organizations were invited to complete a full application.  The Innovation Fund committee selected four projects for funding:

Kennedy Heights Arts Center (KHAC) - Celebrations with heART - $25,000
Building on a 10+ year history of bringing diverse people together through community-based arts practices, the new, adjacent KHAC Lindner Event Center will create hands-on, communal arts experiences led by artists and customized to enhance life’s celebrations, such as weddings, anniversaries and bar/bat mitzvahs.

MamLuft & Co. and Clifton Cultural Arts Center – The Dance & Dash Booth - $15,000
The Dance & Dash booth will be a visually curious and exciting mobile structure that invites event attendees to step inside, create a short dance video, and share it via technology and social media.

Cincinnati Ballet – 2016 Fall Production TBA - $10,000
Scheduled to open in Fall 2016, this unique production now in development is designed to change the community’s definition of dance and invite audiences to engage with the art form in a completely new way.  Cincinnati Ballet will announce details of this production at a later date.

Elementz – “Heroes Rise” Street Dance Competition and Showcase - $10,000
In October, Elementz will produce an authentic “street dance” competition, Heroes Rise, in the underground “transit center” in front of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, celebrating hip-hop and street culture in an approachable and family-friendly context.

The ArtsWave Board of Trustees also approved the commitment of funds to strategic partnerships with several local organizations including the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, Cincinnati Arts Association, and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, among others. Each strategic partnership is designed to advance ArtsWave’s impact agenda by extending ArtsWave’s reach into new constituencies, provide capacity-building support, leverage marketing and promotion for the sector, and support innovative collaborations.

“By investing in a variety of grants that help sustain individual organizations, as well as in support services and collective initiatives that build capacity across the sector, ArtsWave amplifies the impact of the arts across our region,” explains Tara Townsend, Chief Impact Strategy Officer. 

For a complete listing of organizations receiving ArtsWave grants and partnership awards in 2015, see 2015 Impact and Partnership Renewals.