Riding the wave of excitement following BLINK and the re-opening of Music Hall, we were thrilled to see this week that Jetsetter Magazine has put Cincinnati at the top of its list of “7 U.S. Cities that are Hipper Than You Think.” Describing our vibrant cultural scene, the writer calls out the Contemporary Arts Center and the art collection at its next-door neighbor, the 21C Museum Hotel. This most recent shout-out is on top of more than 230 million national media impressions earned by Cincinnati’s arts organizations in 2017. ArtsWave is working closely with Source Cincinnati to spread the word: the arts put Cincinnati on the map!

Over and over we see how people’s minds are opened and changed about Cincinnati once they come to visit, the way Jetsetter's Siobhan Reid did. Two weeks ago, ArtsWave had the chance to wow our own group of visitors when we hosted 25 leaders of other community arts campaigns from 10 different cities for a retreat.

Our topic was “Hot Pursuits: Innovation and Inclusion” and we drew on local business leaders to bring these ideas to life in a way that only Cincinnati could. The first day, LISNR’s Co-Founder, Chris Ostoich, led a session on disrupting and hacking old models. That night, we toured (and sampled) Rhinegeist and talked about conditions for entrepreneurship and scaling great ideas.  

The second day, Fifth Third Bank underwrote our group’s workshop at the Implicit Bias Lab at the Freedom Center. The Enquirer supported our breakfast conversation with historian and NURFC Interim President Dan Hurley and Chief Diversity Officer Jule Kucera, who explained the connections between our city’s 19th century founders and present-day arts abundance.

We challenged ourselves: how can we, as grantmakers, recognize our unintended biases? Senior Inclusion Advisor Mary Stagaman of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and Diverse by Design facilitated our dialogue on developing more inclusive practices. We talked about how united arts campaigns traditionally have supported well-established institutions whose work attracts publicity and dollars, but that to be truly inclusive we need our policies and resources to extend far more broadly into our communities. Many in the room were looking to ArtsWave as an example of a campaign that has successfully evolved from supporting a few organizations to now supporting more than 100 each year―giving us a much better shot at maintaining abundant arts opportunities for all our residents.

We ended our two days with inspiration from ArtsWave Board Member and P&G Chief Global Design Officer, Phil Duncan. Through videos, he showed us how innovation and inclusion go hand in hand in the company’s advertising and culture. He also gave us a heads-up (though not a preview) on the phenomenal ad that premiered yesterday, Love Over Bias, which is worth a shout-out of its own as an example and opportunity for our community to embrace.