Hard Rock $25K gift sparks ArtsWave

ArtsWave used its annual meeting last week at Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati to kick start its 2023 campaign and foreshadow a five-year plan to mark its 100-year anniversary as the oldest endowed local arts agency in the country.

Hard Rock Cincinnati’s President George Goldhoff – newly elected to the ArtsWave board – presented a surprise donation from the corporation of $25,000 to jumpstart a new $1 million campaign to fund art field trips for 50,000 school kids. The campaign will kick off in February as it always does each year.

ArtsWave President & CEO Alecia Kintner

“More Arts, More Kids” campaign will be part of the 2023 ArtsWave campaign, being co-chaired by RCF co-owner Scott Robertson. ArtsWave met its 2022 campaign goal, raising $11.5 million.

ArtsWave will celebrate its centennial in 2027. The agency got its start in 1927 with a public fundraising challenge from Charles and Anna Sinton Taft to create a permanent arts endowment.

ArtsWave annual meeting includes announcements on Kahn scholarship and Sachs Fund Prize.

Through endowed gifts made nearly 100 years ago to the nonprofit engine for the arts, two sets of recognition in the arts, the Kahn Scholarship and the Sachs Fund Prize, have been made possible.

The Lazard and Coralie L. Kahn Arts Scholarship, via the Bertrand B. Kahn Trust, is an annual scholarship used to help individuals in the Cincinnati region pursue a career in the arts. Undergraduate students Garrett Steagall and Courtney Hammons received the scholarships for 2022.

2022 recipients of the Rosa F. and Samuel B. Sachs Fund Prize, a bequest from the late Samuel B. Sachs to honor outstanding artistic accomplishments and contributions to the cultural life of the Cincinnati Region, were announced and awarded to retired long-time artistic Cincinnati Ballet leader Victoria Morgan and to artist, author and arts educator Annie Ruth. 

“This is among ArtsWave’s greatest joys: to pay tribute to the impact made on our community by visionary individuals through their work in the arts,” said ArtsWave President & CEO Alecia Kintner. “Victoria Morgan shaped the Cincinnati Ballet to become the nationally recognized dance company it is today while also elevating the prominence of contemporary female choreographers. Annie Ruth has used visual art, art education and poetry to change minds and hearts, impacting all of us in Cincinnati with her artistry and commitment to youth education. We thank them both for their many contributions that have brought distinction to our region.”

The annual meeting serves as the forum where new and returning officers are approved and outgoing officers are thanked. 

Leigh Fox, president & CEO of altafiber, was elected as board chair of ArtsWave’s board. Tony Mathis, president & CEO of GE Edison Works, and Debbie Hayes, president & CEO The Christ Hospital Network, were appointed as vice chairs. Matt Stautberg, CFO of Burtch Works, was appointed treasurer. Rhonda Whitaker-Hurtt, vice president, community relations, Duke Energy, was re-elected for a third year as secretary.

Besides Goldhoff, five new trustees were elected to the board for their first three-year term: Priya Dhingra Klocek, president & CEO, Consultant on the Go; Joe Muraca, assurance partner, EY; Reggie Stapes, partner, Dinsmore; Kelly Wittch, senior vice president, Wealth Management, FTB Financial; and Dave Voelker, senior vice president, individual operations, Ameritas.

Three trustees were re-elected for a second three-year term, including Fox, Hayes and Megan Shaffer, vice president of retail operations, Kroger.

Matt Stautberg, chief financial officer, Burtch Works, was elected for a third three-year term.

Outgoing Board Chair James Zimmerman, Partner-in-Charge, Taft Law, was elected for one more year of service.

Four ex-officio trustees were elected: Lauren Hannan Shafer, board chair, ArtWorks (representing grants of $50,000 or more) and Bruce Preston, board president, Cincinnati Men’s Chorus (representing grants of less than $50,000). New ex-officio trustees include: Melanie Chavez, board president, Cincinnati Opera and Jill McGruder, board chair, Taft Museum of Art.  

Outgoing trustees, Linda Antus and Evans Nwankwo, along with ex-officio trustees George Yund and Matt Heston were thanked. Special recognition was made to outgoing board chair, James Zimmerman, for his service in leading the board. 

“Throughout the pandemic, James kept the ArtsWave board focused on helping the arts weather the Covid storm. We thank him and all these leaders for serving as ArtsWave trustees or stepping up to board leadership beginning now,” said Fox.  

ArtsWave, in the late 1940s, evolved to become the first united arts fund in the nation and in the mid-1970s, the first organization to initiate workplace giving for the arts. 

Strong funding for the arts has allowed Cincinnati’s arts and culture scene to become a national draw and regional asset, creating a wave of economic and community benefits. Each year, ArtsWave supports the work of over 150 arts organizations, school outreach programs, festivals, community centers, neighborhoods and various collaborations through impact-based grants.

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