One of my favorite memories in the arts is also one of my favorite professional memories, the chance to cover the first-ever master class by legendary modern dance choreographer Merce Cunningham in Russia for the Moscow Times.  It was the early 1990’s, just as Western cultural influences were being sought after and welcomed in Moscow. Merce was in his mid ‘70s at the time, relying on a cane to stand and a translator to communicate in front of a room of classically trained Russian ballet dancers.

As the class got underway, the dancers grew more and more perplexed by the clear vision but absence of specific directions from Merce. His characteristic style suggested where to go on stage, but not necessarily how to get there. For dancers who are accustomed to learning a sequence of steps in a particular order with precise timing (and with instructions in Russian, not English), this was beyond confusing. 

Finally, after explaining again where to go but asking the dancers to freely create the “how,” Merce grew frustrated and said, “You only have two feet. Pick one and GO.”  

I am thinking of this today as ArtsWave shares a new ten-year framework for collective action in the arts that we are calling “The Blueprint.” It’s our way of saying to grant recipients, “here is where we want to go” in making an impact on our community. How we get there will be revealed over time through programs and experiences created by the many wonderful arts leaders and artists in our midst. 

The Blueprint outlines five key areas where ArtsWave believes that arts organizations – collectively -- can help “move the needle” toward bigger regional challenges or opportunities. The areas range from the ways that the arts can help raise the profile of Cincinnati to attract talented employees to regional businesses, to how the arts help people feel at home once they are here; from how the arts can be powerful bridges across divides of race and ethnicity, to how the arts can create more vibrant, healthy neighborhoods; and finally, how the arts can better prepare all kids in Greater Cincinnati for 21st century jobs by fueling their creativity and learning.

What does this mean for ArtsWave’s donors and friends, and for all the residents and visitors of the region? We believe that ultimately, the collective programs and experiences offered by arts organizations around these focus areas add up to a more vibrant regional economy and a more connected community. 

ArtsWave also wants to be sure that you, as our donors and friends, have an easy way to be connected to all the great things happening in the arts. That’s why today we are launching a new service,  You can search this new online, mobile friendly arts calendar by type of art, by date, by venue, by “free” or “family friendly” (even as specific as “for tots,” “for kids,” or “for teens”!). You can find YP-focused gatherings and classes, workshops and lectures. You can see which events have ArtsWave ArtsPass discounts and deals. You can find google maps to the events and add them to your calendar. You can even “tell a friend” through social media., a service of ArtsWave, is our way of showing just how many amazing arts activities are all around us. With so much to do and experience, now gathered all in one place, there is only one thing more to remind you of: “Pick one and GO!”