ArtsWave awarded 24 projects $165,000 in a highly competitive “Catalyzing Impact” grant program, while it also awarded $2 million to 53 pandemic-impacted organizations.
The Catalyzing Impact projects span 19 neighborhoods from Covington to Clifton to Finneytown and West Chester, as well as some with wide-reaching virtual programming. The diverse set of funded arts activities, ranging from $2,000-$10,000 each, show the variety of ways that the arts is bringing communities together after months of social isolation. ArtsWave said the projects also show how the arts help bridge cultural divides and make sense of challenging times.
Meanwhile, ArtsWave — the Greater Cincinnati’s engine for the arts — partnered with Hamilton County commissioners to distribute $2 million in American Rescue Plan funding to organizations dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, ArtsWave and Hamilton County awarded $3.5 million in ARP funding to economically distressed arts organizations.
“So many of our arts and cultural organizations have not fully recovered from the financial blow they received when the pandemic started,” said Stephanie Summerow Dumas, the commission’s president. “These grants allow us to invest in the entities that make Hamilton County so creative, vibrant and innovative.”
In the current ARP round, 53 arts and culture organizations are receiving grants ranging from $1,000 to $150,000 based on financial losses. The grant criteria considered pre-pandemic budget size, pandemic-related revenue losses, amount of COVID relief funding already received through other programs and projected deficits for the next two years.
“More than $140 million in revenue has been lost since the start of the pandemic, when many organizations shut down due to the state’s ban on public gatherings in March 2020,” said Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave president and CEO. “This allocation of $2 million in government relief funds, combined with individual gifts to the ongoing ArtsWave community campaign, will help arts organizations rebuild and get back to driving the vibrancy of the entire region.”
The arts in the Cincinnati region have an economic impact of $300 million annually and employ more than 10,000 people.
In the Catalyzing Impact program, the Art Academy of Cincinnati’s “Creative Recovery” program will work with Cincinnati Public Schools to make up for lost learning during the pandemic. The Village of Woodlawn will use ArtsWave funding to present a season of free events with theater, dance, music and visual art for residents. Queen City Opera will collaborate with the Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust and Humanity Center to present Verdi’s “Requiem” to commemorate the resilience of those held in Nazi concentration camps.
Several projects showcase the region’s multicultural communities.
Joy Brasileira will debut “Brazil Day Cincinnati,” planned as an annual event in Price Hill to celebrate Brazilian music, dance, culture, art and more. The Greater Cincinnati Chinese Cultural Exchange Association will facilitate a youth-driven cookbook project that shares the stories of Chinese culture, coming to America, and preserving their cultural traditions. Similarly, MAKETANK Inc. will publish the illustrated memoirs of local immigrant and refugee high school students.
For this funding round, 64 organizations applied for grants, totaling more than $515,000 in requests – far more than funds currently available. All approved projects were selected based on their ability to further ArtsWave’s mission to create a more vibrant regional economy and more connected community, emphasizing one or more of the arts sector’s Blueprint for Collective Action goals.
The projects and organizations funded are:
American Legacy Theatre, $5,000.
Home Theatre 2.0: The 21st Century Theatre Experience
“Home Theatre 2.0” is a critical expansion of the 2021 innovation in theatre that had not yet been done in the region nor in America before American Legacy Theatre brought it to life. Built upon greater accessibility and building empathy, this new theater experience elevates community members beyond controlling their own truth narrative, into a space where they leverage 21st Century technology to control how they experience the live production of their truth. In building new audiences, A.L.T. will also build new artists. One artist. One community member. Seven Days. World Premiere. Accessible for All.
Art Academy of Cincinnati, $10,000.
“Creative Recovery” is an in-school outreach project by the Art Academy of Cincinnati (AAC) Office of Engagement. It provides educational enrichment for learning recovery communities and extended learning plans for Cincinnati Public School (CPS) students attending Summer Scholars. Interdisciplinary arts and creative writing structure the academic enrichment that occurs directly as in-school workshop sessions taught by an AAC Teaching Artist & Writer in collaboration with the host school, educator and the CPS Board of Education. The Creative Recovery curriculum emphasizes studio-based and choice-based pedagogies and instructs the 21st Century skills of creativity, collaboration and critical thinking through expressive and experiential learning.
“I’m Listening” Documentary
The “I’m Listening” documentary will depict Cincinnati Police Department officers and local teens creating a collaborative mural to strengthen police-community relationships. Officers in each of CPD’s five districts will participate with 10-20 youth from the district’s neighborhoods in a series of eight artistic workshops facilitated by lead artist and project manager Brent Billingsley. Artwork produced in the workshops will be combined into a large-scale, portable mural to be displayed at a chosen venue. The image will be law enforcement engaging the members of a community in a spiritual, meaningful, playful heartfelt and always positive manner.
Carthage Civic League, $2,000.
Putting the ART in Carthage
As a part of the 2022 Carthage Event Series, “Putting the ART in Carthage” is a one-day event to be held on May 21, 2022. The event’s goal is to showcase the creative talent of the residents of Carthage through fine art, craft and performance art. Anyone who lives, works or worships in Carthage is invited to submit their creative works for the opportunity to exhibit and sell their fine art or craft. The spirit of the Carthage Event Series is all about bringing our neighbors together. What better way to commune than through the arts?
Chamber Music Cincinnati (CMC), $10,000.
Chamber Music Cincinnati Spring Arts Bridge Project
This Spring, 92-year-old Chamber Music Cincinnati will build on its groundbreaking fall 2021 season through programs representing uniquely diverse artists, composers, venues and audiences. The season includes America’s foremost string quartet, with Black cellist Astrid Schween, as well as the nation’s premier Hispanic string trio and Anthony McGill with pianist Gloria Chien. Artists will perform at Memorial Hall, local schools and major Black churches in Carthage, Bond Hill and Roselawn. Works by Black and White composers will be performed by Asian, Black, Hispanic and White musicians creating the most diverse experience ever for audiences attending a Cincinnati chamber series.
Cincinnati Black Pride, $8,400.
Black Alphabet Cincy – Film Festival (BAFF)
Since its launch as a satellite event in 2018, “Black Alphabet Cincy” has encouraged storytelling, cultivated dialogues and educated communities about the cultural and social contributions of Black LGBTQ-identified people. BAFF’s founding mission “to identify and present the stories that portray the variety of gender and sexual expressions of the Black queer community through the art of film” has sustained the organization for several years. Black Alphabet’s vision and mission reflect the desire to use media and the creative arts to promote healthy and whole lifestyles to the Black LGBTQ+ community.
Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, $5,000.
Fountain Square Rise Up Concert
This summer, Memorial Hall will present the “Fountain Square Rise Up Concert,” a free event featuring an inspiring, female national act with local and regional support acts. It will also include on-site women-owned vendors, food trucks and more. Taking place in one of the city’s most democratic spaces, the featured performers are projected to attract a young and racially diverse crowd, with the concert acting as a catalyst for Memorial Hall’s Rise Up Women’s Empowerment Series.
Cincinnati Nature Center, $5,000.
2022 Earth Expressions
The Cincinnati Nature Center’s “2022 Earth Expressions” project is an immersive, one-of-a-kind sculpture installment that blends a traditional art experience in a non-traditional natural environment. Prominently displayed and accessible to all visitors, it invites the viewer to ponder the relationship of nature and art and explore through engagement and interaction.
Community Matters Cincinnati, Inc., $5,000.
Investing in Arts Exhibits at Lower Price Hill’s “Outerspace” Creative Community Hub
For the 2022-2023 season, Community Matters and The Collective, Lower Price Hill’s resident-led artist group, are excited to launch creative programming from their new home in “Outerspace.” Located at 734 State Avenue, “Outerspace” was designed to serve as a welcoming hub for neighbors to explore creativity through a cooperative workspace and gallery. This fall, the gallery space will host two exhibitions and invite Cincinnati-area residents to come and experience the culturally and artistically diverse expressions of this unique neighborhood.
Corporation for Findlay Market, $10,000.
170th Findlay Market Birthday Bash
Findlay Market invites the community to join them in celebrating its 170th birthday Findlay Market is nothing without the community members who live and work in the neighborhood, who have supported the many local business owners for their grocery needs year after year. The bash will be a community-focused celebration consisting of kids’ art activities, free food, giveaways and live music. The celebration will last June through August, with a full-scale event on July 23-24.
Episcopal Retirement Services Affordable Living, $7,500.
Madison Villa Mural
The mission of the Madison Villa Mural is to transform people and places through investments in creativity. Episcopal Retiremen Services (ERS), in partnership with ArtWorks, will create a mural on the east elevation of Madison Villa Affordable Living Community. Work begins s in June 2022, concluding with a project dedication in the fall. The final project design concept will be a collaboration of ideas from Madison Villa residents and community volunteers. The result will be a large-scale, colorful installation adding beauty and pride not only for Madison Villa residents, but for all of Madisonville, as well as the thousands of commuters who drive on the heavily trafficked Madison Road.
Greater Cincinnati Chinese Cultural Exchange Association, $6,000.
Family Recipe Book
This youth-driven project helps Asian youth embrace their cultural heritage while growing their roots in this region. The “Family Recipe Book” will contain traditional Asian/Chinese recipes from local Asian families and restaurants in the Greater Cincinnati area. With the book, the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Cultural Exchange Association hopes to share the stories of immigrant families: their culture, their story of coming to America and how they preserve everlasting traditions.
Hamilton Fairfield Symphony Orchestra (aka Butler Philharmonic Orchestra), $9,850.
Remembering Paul Stanbery
The 2021-2022 season is dedicated to the late Maestro Paul Stanbery. During his 25-year tenure, Stanbery not only expanded the professional orchestra, but he also started the Butler Philharmonic Chorus and Butler Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. This May, in honor of Maestro Stanbery, all three groups will perform together for the first time ever. The performance will celebrate the Maestro’s contribution to the arts, as well as the Philharmonic’s 70th anniversary.
Jazz Alive, Inc., $5,000.
Jazz at the CampSITE
Jazz Alive presents “Jazz at the CampSITE,” a weekly outdoor jazz concert series in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Camp Washington. Held every Wednesday in June, “Jazz at the CampSITE” is held at the CampSITE Sculpture Park, an outdoor sculpture park that features works by local neighborhood and other artists from Greater Cincinnati. The park also serves as a welcoming gathering space for events. The 5-week series will feature well-known jazz artists from the greater Cincinnati area. Admission for Jazz at the CampSITE is free, so visitors can bring a chair or blanket to enjoy the music.
Joy Brasileira, $8,000.
Brazil Day Cincinnati 2022
“Brazil Day Cincinnati 2022” is both the start of an annual tradition and the bicentennial of Brazil’s independence. Joy Brasileira invites the region to join the Brazilian community and friends in celebrating Brazilian music, food, dance, culture, art and more. The celebration will continue throughout the day. At the end of the night, a premium stage show featuring professional samba dancers from Joy Brasileira and Revolution Dance Theater shares the story of how samba became integral to Brazil’s identity.
Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, $10,000.
The Hopple Gateway Project
Keep Cincinnati Beautiful’s (KCB) “Spaces to Places” project takes underutilized, forgotten spaces and turns them into celebrated, community places. This initiative aims to improve the safety, property values and overall quality of life in each neighborhood it works in by meeting the needs of the community and partnering with neighborhood stakeholders to create tailored spaces that showcase the community’s unique attributes. In 2022 KCB will expand upon the greenspace work started in Camp Washington with “The Hopple Gateway Project,” installing a public art piece made from reclaimed materials in a highly visible neighborhood gateway corridor.
Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled, Inc. (LADD, Inc.), $5,000.
Freedom Film Series
As part of the Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, LADD, Inc. launches the new “Freedom Film Series” in collaboration with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. This year’s launch of the “Freedom Film Series” will use film to address issues of systemic injustice, inviting the audience into dialogue with filmmakers, content matter experts and activists following the screenings. Topics addressed during the series will include inequity in policing and the criminal justice system, the disparate impact of illegal drugs on communities of color, systemic racism and more.
Lydia’s House, Inc., $5,500.
Community Designed Mural at Affordable Housing Site for Low-Income Families
Lydia’s House provides supportive, affordable housing for single mother-led families earning at 30% Area Median Income or below. In response to the need for participatory art in our community, they are executing a mural covering one side of the building that now faces their arts-focused creative play space. The mural will greet tenants, neighbors and children in the Azalea Montessori preschool, located on the first floor of the building. The mural and play space were designed with resident input and reflect the lives and desires of families served, including imagery of African American mothers.
MAKETANK, Inc., $10,000.
Sharing the Illustrated Memoirs of Immigrant and Refugee Youth
This illustrated memoir project positions local immigrant and refugee high school students as the authors and illustrators of their own life stories. Through the creation of these memoir books, young authors convey their unique lived experiences in words and images. Memoirs are created throughout the school year and will be published and recorded. Sharing these stories with the community through libraries, exhibitions, readings and podcasts will enhance understanding of the global nature of our region as well as the individual and collective strengths and resiliencies of our immigrant and refugee neighbors.
Professional Artistic Research Projects (PAR- Projects), $5,000.
Launching a Visiting Artist Studio Program
Professional Artistic Research (PAR-) Projects will create two new studio spaces at Studeō PAR- and launch a new studio artist residency program. This program will focus on ways to elevate the studio practices of local artists and put a particular emphasis on working with female artists and artists of color — groups historically overlooked and/or ignored by prominent art institutions and curators.
Queen City Opera, $5,000.
Defiant Requiem in collaboration with the Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust and Humanity Center
During the 1940s, in the Terezín Concentration Camp, Jewish musicians organized performances of the Verdi Requiem as an act of defiance against the Nazis. Although they only had one copy of the score, hundreds of musicians learned the piece from memory and rehearsed in the evenings in a cold cellar following hours of brutal labor. Queen City Opera will commemorate this testament to the power of the arts by performing Verdi’s music, combined with narration and videos of survivor testimony from Terezín. The production will be presented in collaboration with the Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust and Humanity Center.
Queen City Performing Arts Organization, dba Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, $3,500.
Pride Concert Production Support and Online Content Development
In the Spring of 2020, The Men’s Chorus was getting ready to take audiences across the pond, then host their first Big Gay Sing to celebrate Pride. That was not to be, until now. The Cincinnati Men’s Chorus will bring back the best of both concerts in a smash-up extravaganza celebrating hits from Britain’s “Top of the Pops” and treasured divas. Cincinnati Men’s Chorus presents “God Save the Dancing Queens” at Finneytown High School Auditorium in June.
Renaissance Covington, Inc., $4,250.
Innovation Alley Portrait Gallery
In 2019, Emersion Design created design concepts for the rejuvenation of three alleyways in Covington’s Central Business District. The improvements increased safety and aesthetics, serving as a catalyst for other alley improvements around the city. They limit vehicular traffic and add vibrancy, connectivity and walkability. Each alley design is unique and reflects the context, character and identity of surrounding areas. The “Innovation Alley Portrait Gallery” will showcase a diverse roster of past and present innovators of Northern Kentucky.
Village of Woodlawn Parks and Recreation Center (WRC), $10,000.
Woodlawn Enrichment and Cultural Arts Program (WECAP)
The Village of Woodlawn Parks and Recreation Center’s (WRC) “Woodlawn Enrichment and Cultural Arts Program” is a season of free events ranging from theater to dance, music to visual arts, all located at the WRC. The WRC will produce each event, coordinating logistics, scheduling, booking artists and reaching out to the community. Each event will be free and open to the public, focused specifically on increased accessibility for residents of the Village of Woodlawn.
Here’s a link to the organizations who received ARP funding.