Arts exceeds ’21 campaign by $500K

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, ArtsWave has reached the goal it set for its annual community campaign — raising a little more than $11.5 million, a $500,000 increase over 2021.

Tim Steigerwald, president and CEO of Messer Construction Co. and chair of the 2022 ArtsWave campaign, shared the news with arts organizations, donors and civic and business leaders at a celebration held Monday at the Weston Gallery.

Tim Steigerwald

The event marked the first in-person celebration for the finale of the annual campaign since 2019.

During the meeting, business leaders comprising Steigerwald’s campaign cabinet were recognized for their efforts in fundraising for the arts in a challenging time.

“Thanks to the thousands of residents and hundreds of companies that have invested in the arts as a way to restore the health and vitality of our region,” Steigerwald said. “This is the year that re-building really starts, after two-plus years of pandemic disruption and hundreds of millions in revenue lost by arts organizations.”

At the same event, ArtsWave Board chair James Zimmerman announced Steigerwald’s successors for what will be the 74th ArtsWave campaign in 2023.

“The annual campaign is the most important thing we do at ArtsWave,” he said. “Tim Steigerwald has done a tremendous job in rebuilding its momentum. To continue that trajectory, we are delighted that the well-known leaders of RCF Group — Carl Satterwhite, president and owner, and Scott Robertson, chairman — will co-chair the upcoming 2023 campaign.”

Funds raised from the ArtsWave campaign will support 150+ arts organizations and projects in 2023 that result in thousands of experiences for the region’s residents and visitors. The annual campaign enables ArtsWave to make grants for concerts, shows, plays, exhibits and festivals like BLINK that advance the sector’s shared strategy to build Cincinnati’s national reputation, deepen roots in the region, enliven neighborhoods, bridge cultural divides and fuel creativity and learning through the arts.

Every year, ArtsWave relies on both loyal and new supporters to reach the goal for supporting the arts. To date, more than 23,000 individual donors and 311 companies and foundations have participated in the 2022 campaign.

Steigerwald noted appreciation for donors who contributed to his “Chairman’s Rebuild Challenge” to add $1 million to the campaign, which stood at $12.5 million prior to the pandemic and fell to $10.8 million in 2020.

Steigerwald solicited $500,000 in one-time gifts from 22 leading arts supporters, which was then used to incentivize new and/or increased gifts of $5,000 that collectively created another $500,000 in campaign pledges.

As is the case every year, the total dollar amount announced includes contributions already received and reported, as well as projections for workplace campaigns that are ongoing.

Due to the pandemic, there are more companies than usual that are running campaigns this summer.

“For those businesses and individuals who are still finishing their campaigns, please know that your support is essential,” said Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave president and CEO. “We need everyone’s support to ensure that live arts are back!”

Community-based fundraising through ArtsWave has been the comprehensive way to fund the region’s arts since 1927.

Donations can be made at

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