Cincinnati arts groups eligible for $2 million in county funding

Hamilton County Commission, ArtsWave team up to award pandemic relief

On the heels of making more than $5 million of American Rescue Plan monies available to nonprofits serving families, Hamilton County commissioners will award $2 million to Greater Cincinnati arts and cultural institutions.

The grants will be awarded to help offset the negative impacts of the pandemic on the local arts community and to help the region’s economic restart. The commissioners are contracting with the local arts fundraising group, ArtsWave, to administer the funding. United Way of Greater Cincinnati is administering the general relief fund.

Hamilton County Commission President Stephanie Dumas

“We know that a stronger arts and cultural environment means a stronger Hamilton County,” said Stephanie Summerow Dumas, the commission’s president. “This industry has been decimated financially by the pandemic and we wanted to make sure that we take care of the people and organizations that make us so vibrant”.

The relief grants will cover costs incurred due to business disruption, in a two-year period where performing arts venues and museums lost significant box office and admissions revenue. The grants can cover costs of mitigation expenses for re-opening and adaptations required for digital programming.

Total grant amounts will be based on operating revenue from the prior fiscal year.

“Arts organizations typically derive between half and two-thirds of their annual operating budgets from earned income sources like ticket sales, sponsorships and contracts,” said Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave president and chief executive officer.

The arts in Cincinnati have an economic impact of $300 million annually and employ more than 10,000. Losses of more than $140 million in revenue have occurred since the pandemic began. The arts were one of the first local industries to be affected by the COVID-19 virus and are projected to be the last to fully recover.

ArtsWave will host a virtual information session answering questions and outlining the eligibility and application process at noon on Feb. 3. Applicants must submit materials through ArtsWave’s website by 5 p.m. on Feb. 15. Grant recipients will be notified in March.

Links to the applications and funding guidelines are available on the county’s pandemic relief site. and

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