The annual ArtsWave Community Campaign is the most significant driver of artistic endeavors in Greater Cincinnati. And this year, the leaders behind the fundraiser are dead set on ensuring it’s the biggest one in history.
On Tuesday, representatives from a variety of arts-related organizations and other community groups gathered in Music Hall’s Wilks Studio to formally kick off the 2024 campaign.
During the press conference, Procter & Gamble CEO Jon Moeller and his wife and former P&G executive Lisa Sauer – this year’s campaign co-chairs – announced the goal is to surpass the record of more than $12.4 million, reached in 2017.
Moeller and Sauer used the platform to emphasize how important the arts are to the region and why they make Cincinnati such a special place. The couple talked about the importance of supporting the arts in our February cover story by John Faherty, with photography by Helen Adams.
Every year, the ArtWave provides financial support to more than 150 arts organizations, projects and artists.
Tuesday’s programming featured performances by youth musicians and a display of paintings and other artworks created locally. Those gathered also paid tribute to Louis Langrée, the celebrated conductor who’s in his final season as music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He’ll transition to music director laureate.
“The arts are not a luxury,” Moeller said. “The arts are integral to making the region a compelling location for employees and visitors.”
Louis Langrée, outgoing Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra music director, received a painting by Cedric Michael Cox in appreciation for his decade-plus service to Cincinnati.
While the formal fundraiser only began this week, it received early momentum thanks to more than $1 million in gifts from individuals, businesses and foundations through the Chairpersons’ Kickstarter drive.
Those contributions will support four ArtsWave programs designed to increase connection of lesser and underserved communities to consistent arts engagement. They’ll do so by providing 50,000 kids with arts field trips and bringing more residents together through ArtsWave’s affinity groups.
In total, more than 60 local CEOs agreed to make early gifts of $5,000 or more as part of this challenge.
“We need to set our sights high so that the arts continue to thrive and deliver the same value to the region over the next decade as they have over the last one, and so that our investments keep pace with inflation,” Moeller continued.
An investment in more than art
This year’s campaign theme is “Stronger Arts for a Stronger Region.” It aims to build on the recently released “Economic Impact of the Arts & Culture in the Cincinnati Region” report by the Cincinnati Regional Chamber.
Findings by the Chamber’s data team revealed that the local arts sector had a $1.6 billion impact from 2019 to 2022. It also predicted that impact value to jump to $2.8 billion over the next four years.
For every $1 invested through the Community Campaign, partners leverage more dollars and generate nearly $43 in economic value for greater Cincinnati, according to Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave’s president and CEO.
Kintner described the economic news as a “clarion call” – or a strongly expressed request for action – for continued investment in the region’s arts and culture sectors.
“Ever since Charles and Anna Sinton Taft’s original 1927 public challenge to secure the future of the arts, our community has come together each year to build a stronger region through the arts,” Kintner said of ArtsWave’s origins.
“This history has produced a strong return on investment,” she continued. “Our arts drive our region forward in a quantifiable way.”
True community support
To help with the campaign, Moeller and Sauer assembled a cabinet of 43 volunteer leaders from an array of business sectors – real estate, travel, food and beverage, banking, architecture, health care, even cosmetics. Several have connections to Moeller and Sauer through P&G.
Campaign vice chair is Jill P. Meyer, former president and CEO of the Cincinnati Chamber. She’s now with The O.H.I.O. Fund.
As part of the campaign, ArtsWave and partners are hosting a series of special events and workplace giving campaigns in some 200 regional companies over the next three months. A workplace battle of the bands, CincyJams, returns to the Hard Rock Casino on May 10. ArtsWave will also submit requests to residents through mail and other media types.
As a thank-you gift, the Cincinnati Reds and FC Cincinnati plan to provide tickets and special experiences to donors.
The ArtsWave Community Campaign runs through May 23.
“Our cabinet comes from across the business and philanthropic community, and what we all have in common is our desire to see our region attract and retain the best talent, connect through shared experiences and fuel creativity and learning,” Sauer said. “The arts are key to accomplishing this.”
ArtsWave Campaign cabinet members
- Vice Chair: Jill P. Meyer, The O.H.I.O. Fund
- Shawn Baker, Merle Norman Cosmetics
- Gale Beckett, P&G retiree
- Tysonn Betts, P&G
- Archie Brown, First Financial Bank
- Kevin Canafax, Fidelity Investments
- Lee Carter, ArtsWave Life trustee
- Nicole Crone, P&G
- Dan Cunningham, Cunningham Institute for Growth
- Dan Fales, Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL
- Molly Flanagan, P&G
- Kay & Jack Geiger
- Sean Givler, Cincinnati Insurance Companies
- Samantha Godskind, P&G
- Michael Habel, BHDP Architecture
- Amy Hanson, Amy Hanson Advisory Services
- Barbara Hauser, P&G
- Deborah Hayes, The Christ Hospital Health Network
- Brian Hodgett, P&G
- Pramila Kamath, Kroger Co.
- Alexis Krulcik, Thunderdome Restaurant Group
- Rob McDonald, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
- Candace McGraw, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
- Karla Meyer, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, Inc.
- Gregory Olson, Urban Sites
- Christopher Owens, Taylor Oswald
- Jorge Perez, YMCA of Greater Cincinnati
- Jim Price, Brand Lab Ventures
- Andrew Quinn, Bardes Corporation
- Maribeth Rahe, Ft. Washington Investment Advisors, Inc.
- Jackie Reau, Game Day Communications
- Scott Robertson, RCF Group
- Cheryl Rose, Constellation Wealth Advisors
- Rosemary Schlachter, 25th Hour
- David Singer, The Evelo|Singer|Sullivan|Bruegge Group, Merrill Private Wealth Management
- Tracey Stofa, Ft. Washington Investment Advisors, Inc.
- Joel Stone, Fifth Third Bank
- Kitty Strauss Rosenthal
- Chad Summe, eGateway Capital
- Marcus Thompson, TriVersity Construction Company
- Jeremy Vaughan, EY
- George Vincent, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
- Kelly Wittich, FTB Financial Services / UBS Financial Services Inc.