ArtsWave commits $326K to 49 community projects

ArtsWave awarded $326,690 to 49 organizations working to create or expand a wide variety of projects – from youth art programs to the Cindependent Film Festival – across Greater Cincinnati.

The grants are part of ArtsWave’s long-standing Catalyzing Impact program, which aims to encourage a breadth of programming through arts and cultural heritage projects.

Grant values range from $1,700 to the max $10,000 to cover up to 50% of the total expenses for the proposed project. Descriptions of the projects awarded during this grant cycle are available below.

Participants in the 2023 Norwood Together art show.

In approving the funding, ArtsWave’s board of directors stated that each project presents an opportunity to help create a more vibrant regional economy and connected community. 

This program receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as ArtsWave’s annual fundraising initiative. The 2024 ArtsWave Community Campaign continues through May 23. 

Catalyzing Impact Grant Recipients

Below are descriptions of each awarded project or program through this round of Catalyzing Impact funding. Details came from ArtsWave. Descriptions received minor editing for clarity and style.

Activities Beyond the Classroom
CPS International Jazz Festival – $10,000 

The free, all-day Cincinnati Public Schools International Jazz Festival on March 9 centered on musical participation and education at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. Students participated in masterclasses with professional musicians. In the evening, student musicians shared the main stage with accomplished violinist Tomoko Omura for a free concert.

Alliance of Chinese Culture & Arts USA 
World Drums – $1,700

The Alliance of Chinese Culture & Arts USA, in partnership with 3CDC, will collaborate with various multicultural performing arts groups to host World Drums this summer. The evening event will highlight the cultural significance that drums play in Chinese, Japanese, Indian and African cultures.

African Professionals Network 
AfriFest Cincy 2024 – $10,000

AfriFest 2024, organized by The Taste Of Africa, is set to celebrate African arts and cultures in Cincinnati. The event aims to promote cultural awareness, connect people to local resources and celebrate diversity. It will feature live performances, art exhibitions, cultural workshops and culinary experiences. 

Art Equals
Creativity Connects – $3,150

The Creativity Connects project provides opportunities for a diverse population to be creative by using non-traditional spaces for artmaking. By providing self-contained art packets targeted at addressing mindfulness and connecting community organizations that provide vital services, people in the Greater Cincinnati area will be given resources to reduce stress and enhance services through making art.

Back2Back Ministries 
Neighborhood Play 2024 – $5,000

Back2Back Cincinnati’s Neighborhood Play program will offer community-based, trauma-informed summer art camp experiences to 100 Cincinnati students, ages 6-17, from June to July of 2024. Students will engage in socioemotional learning through daily art activities that promote personal storytelling, cross-cultural competence and mental health well-being. Students at each camp session will contribute to a mural project, beautifying a public space in their neighborhood. Neighborhood Play camps will take place in two- to three-week sessions in partnership with neighborhood organizations and artists in Roll Hill, Avondale and Westwood.

BasketShop Gallery
“To be close, closer” – $3,200

“To be close, closer” – created through a collaboration between BasketShop Gallery and curator Noel Maghathe – is an exhibition that explores the pain of occupation, the yearning for one’s country and deeper dimensions of personal identity. Maghathe values connecting with other Palestinian and Arab artists in their homelands and in the diaspora. Admission will be free and open to the public.

Ben Carlson-Berne Scholarship Fund
Additional music lessons for Shroder High School orchestra students – $9,975

The Ben Carlson-Berne Scholarship Fund program at Shroder High School orchestra provides five highly qualified musical instrument teachers to expand the success of the program. Teachers specializing in violin, viola, cello and bass attend Shroder High School’s orchestra classes to teach private music lessons to a selection of students. The orchestra teacher chooses based on the student’s desire to advance on their instrument, commitment to lessons and interest in classical music. The lessons provide a level of individual instruction that would otherwise be unavailable to Shroder students.

Butler Philharmonic
“Springtime” concert – $5,000

The Butler Philharmonic presents the third annual Music Weekend celebrating the successful completion of regional high schools’ music seasons. Hosted by Hamilton High School, this year’s program includes an in-school education day of music, featuring a concert entitled “Springtime,” with narratives by Butler Philharmonic orchestra director Scott Woodard. Performers include the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra, Butler Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and students in a side-by-side format.

Carthage Civic League
Putting the ART in Carthage – $2,000

The third annual Putting the ART in Carthage event will take place in May. The goal is to showcase the creative talent of the residents of Carthage, through fine art, craft and performance art. “The spirit of the Carthage Event Series is all about bringing neighbors together through the arts,” Carthage Civic League said.

Center for Great Neighborhoods
Arts in the Eastside – $5,000

Using a nationally recognized creative placemaking approach of incorporating art to strengthen and enliven neighborhoods, The Center for Great Neighborhoods will partner with local artists Soul Palette and Ximena Flores in the eastern neighborhoods of Covington, Ky. to complete a semi-permanent art installation and related community art engagement event to increase neighborhood involvement. 

Currently, the focus is on supporting Eastside Covington residents to develop, activate and update a quality-of-life plan that consists of youth/family development, housing, economic development, greenspace, transportation, and arts and culture. 

Church of Our Saviour/La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador
Community Piano Lessons – $2,500

Community Piano Lessons began in 2019 at the Church of Our Saviour/La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador through its Lives United/Vidas Unidas community music and arts ministry. In 2021, the program expanded to include William Howard Taft Elementary School. With this funding, LU/VU will offer the program at additional locations and continue to enliven Mount Auburn through music education.

Cincinnati Art Club
Art for Kids – $4,000

Cincinnati Art Club’s Art for Kids program is an arts education experience exclusively for Cincinnati Public Schools’ advanced art students in grades 3-6. It consists of two weeks of classes, meeting three days per week in the month of June. Art for Kids provides what Cincinnati Art Club described as the “basic building blocks of artistic development” that enhance creativity, fine motor skills, emotional and visual perception, conceptual planning and artistic expression.

Cincinnati Asian Art Society
“Kokeshi Dolls: Japan’s Living Tradition” – $3,415

The exhibition “Kokeshi Dolls: Japan’s Living Tradition” and accompanying programs will highlight traditional and contemporary kokeshi dolls from the northern region of Japan. Visitors and participants will learn about the history of kokeshi dolls, and the creative energy and expert craftsmanship needed to create them. Through the exhibition and cultural activities, participants will discover shared values and aspirations between Japanese and American families. The exhibition will be presented in partnership with Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library.

Cincinnati Center for Autism
STEAM Ahead for Autism – $10,000

STEAM Ahead for Autism will bring project-based learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and math to students diagnosed on all levels of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Art empowers students to grow in problem-solving, resilience, adaptability and the joy of confident competence through individualized instruction in the art labs and studios, according to the Cincinnati Center for Autism.

Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble
High School Vocal Music Education Program expansion – $10,000

Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble will continue to expand and enhance its growing High School Vocal Music Education Program by serving 30 youths through its tuition-free Vocal Scholar Program in 2024. The program offers half-hour private voice lessons to high school students, the vast majority of which come from low-income households or are minorities. It also offers two group classes a week through its Piano Lab. The goal of both is to prepare students to audition for college admissions and scholarships. Additionally, CFE also plans to open a new satellite location in Over-the-Rhine for free lessons at First Lutheran Church.

Cincinnati Lapidary Guild
Grow Community through Lapidary Arts in Our Region – $5,000

The Cincinnati Lapidary Guild is expanding its class offerings, usually reserved for members, so everyone in the community can learn how to cut, shape and polish rocks and minerals, as well as set them in jewelry. Classes at Heads Up Trading Company in Camp Washington will be open to everyone. Each class focuses on at least one skill used in the lapidary arts. Participants complete a project and leave with a one-of-a-kind work of art.

Cincinnati Museum Center
Young at Art – $10,000

Cincinnati Museum Center will bring together local artists of color, children and families at the intersection of art and STEAM learning in the KidSPACE maker studio, supported by the Dorsey Family Foundation. Once a month, a chosen artist or artists will host all-day, one-of-a-kind workshops and activities for children of all ages. This collaborative, artist-led series aims to empower families to create together and express themselves through artmaking while learning more about the work and experiences of the artists.

Cincinnati Music & Wellness Coalition
Learning Culture and Improving Wellbeing through the Arts – $5,400

Learning Culture and Improving Wellbeing through the Arts participants will learn about a variety of cultures through a range of different forms of artistic expression – African dance and drumming; Bhutanese, Chinese and Nepali dance; Appalachian history and how to play the dulcimer; musical performances on the Chinese guzheng, Japanese koto and Mexican mariachi. Two separate events will take place, consisting of arts and musical activities at the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Cincinnati Music & Wellness Center.

Cincinnati Nature Center
Earth Expressions: Forest Portals – $5,000

The Forest Portals project invites local artists to craft four unique sculptural gateways that welcome people of our region to the forests of Rowe Woods. Set among the old-growth forest, these portals will provide an enchanting introduction to Cincinnati Nature Center’s trail system. The gateways will be unveiled during the fall hiking season.

Cincinnati Song Initiative
The Fellowship of the Song – $10,000

Cincinnati Song Initiative’s new week-long program provides song lovers with an open, enriching environment to express themselves and grow in their artistry. This cost-free fellowship for five singers and five pianists aims to promote and innovate the song genre by empowering the next generation of 21st century artists who will carry the mantle of song forward in this country and throughout the world.

Cindependent Film Festival
2024 festival – $10,000

Attracting movie professionals locally, nationally and across the globe, Cindependent Film Festival celebrates the art and expertise of independent filmmaking from Sept. 19-21 at Memorial Hall. The festival will be three days of movies, media education and live screenplay readings, alongside communal networking events, red carpets and after-hours parties. Cindependent is joined this year by Black Cincinnati Cinema Collective, OutReels and Women in Film in an effort to reflect the creative voice and vision of Cincinnati.

Community Matters Cincinnati
Outerspace exhibition series – $5,000

Outerspace is devoted exclusively to facilitating a range of leadership opportunities for residents of all ages, interests, skills and backgrounds from the Lower Price Hill neighborhood, including providing a permanent home for creative initiatives led by neighbors. For the 2024 season, the Outerspace community leadership hub will host four creative exhibitions that showcase the diverse talent of more than a dozen Lower Price Hill residents to an estimated 250 attendees.

Creative Aging Cincinnati
Arts inclusion for all – $10,000

The ArtsWave funding will address two Creative Aging initiatives, providing 62 additional arts programs for seniors and expanding the organization’s collaboration with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. First, 80% of the additional programs will be designated to a scholarship program assisting facilities that serve low-income and minority seniors but lack the resources to become members. Second, the CSC collaboration expansion will provide 11 new on-site theater programs. In addition, CSC will present a touring performance at a large venue, with several community seniors in attendance.

Fourthwall Youth Studios
“Shut Down the Stigma. Turn Up the Talk” film series – $10,000 

Shut Down the Stigma. Turn Up the Talk is a youth-focused, youth-driven film series that integrates narrative filmmaking, spoken word poetry and commissioned art. It is designed to generate conversations that change the narrative on learning disabilities and mental health stigmas in our youth.

The Ghostlight Stage Company
Ken Ludwig’s “Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood” – $6,350

The Ghostlight Stage Company presents: “Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood” by Ken Ludwig at Keehner Amphitheatre Park in West Chester on May 16-19. This free community event features a classic story with a modern spin, with familiar characters like Little John, Friar Tuck and Maid Marian. “Sherwood” tells the enduring story of a hero of the people who takes on the ruthless powers that be. Refreshments, face painting and more will be available at the park along with the show.

Greater Cincinnati Arts & Education Center
Cincinnati Future of the Arts – $5,000

Cincinnati Future of the Arts is an annual program providing students with valuable performance opportunities that prepare them for professional endeavors. It serves as a bridge between fundamental arts education and professional careers in the arts by expanding the opportunities at each student’s disposal, including artistic mentorship, internships and attendance at performances.

Greater Cincinnati Dance Alliance
Synergy Dance Series – $5,000

Synergy Dance Series is an initiative conceived by Rowan Salem and Teresa VanDenend Sorge for Cincinnati-area movement artists. Its purpose is to strengthen the dance community through shared performances. Emerging and established choreographers from diverse backgrounds, practicing a variety of dance genres, are invited to come together, share their work, and receive feedback from the audience. Audience members participate in a format customized by each choreographer, including feedback cards and audience talk-backs. To further support the dance community, Synergy Series hosts a community dancer audition and pre- and post-concert workshops for selected choreographers.

Indigo Hippo
Material Play – $5,000

Material Play is a creative workshop series exploring growth, resilience and community through art making with upcycled materials. Indigo Hippo will partner with local artists and organizations to offer free and accessible neighborhood-focused creative sessions for youth in Over-the-Rhine, where participants will explore different creative mediums and learn new skills from local artists.

International Foundation for Contemporary Music
The Response Project: “Tremor” – $10,000

“Tremor” will create new music and art inspired by the lived experience of disability giving voice to disabled artists. Twelve new musical works and multimedia visual artworks by local and internationally known artists from diverse backgrounds will be presented in an art exhibition and classical music concert, with both events designed to be as accessible as possible. The artworks themselves will put the authentic experience of disability at the center of their meaning. The event’s accessibility measures will not be an accessory to the new works, but part of the artistic material itself.

Jazz Alive
Jazz in the Camp at the American Sign Museum – $5,000

Jazz In the Camp at the American Sign Museum is a weekly jazz concert series in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Camp Washington. Held every Wednesday in June, the four-week series will feature well-known jazz artists from the Greater Cincinnati area and around the world.

Jhankar
“Trinaad: An Indian Classical Fusion Instrumental Concert” – $6,000

“Trinaad” is a unique concert that combines three musical traditions: Jazz (Western traditions), Hindustani (classical music from Northern India) and Carnatic (classical music from Southern India). Saxophonist George Brooks, acclaimed for bridging the worlds of jazz and Indian classical music joins mandolin player U. Rajesh, whose album with Jazz musician John Mclaughlin was nominated for a Grammy award. The concert also features two accomplished percussionists: Harshad Kanetkar on the tabla and S. Selvaganesh on the kanjira.

Juneteenth Cincinnati
37th annual Juneteenth festival – $10,000

The 37th annual Juneteenth Cincinnati will be held in Eden Park on June 15-16. The festival helps people learn about our American history in a non-threatening environment, with music, food and historical interpretation, with a diverse group of people sharing information about the African diaspora.

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful
Future Blooms – $2,500

Boarded-up, abandoned buildings are an eyesore and a drain on the surrounding community. The Future Blooms program aims to change that. Keep Cincinnati Beautiful artists and volunteers paint the barricades on vacant buildings, transforming plywood boards into whimsical representations of windows, doors and storefronts. This simple change aims to allow members of the community to imagine the potential in an otherwise under-appreciated building. 

Lydia’s House
Mural at affordable housing site for low-income families – $5,500

Lydia’s House provides supportive, affordable housing for single-mother-headed families earning 30% of area median income or below. After the success of a previous ArtsWave-supported mural project, the Lydia’s House community plans to install a second mural on a new apartment building. Children of affordable housing residents will help paint the mural, along with residents of the surrounding neighborhood, bringing neighbors closer together in a shared desire for public and participatory art. This project creates access to arts experiences for people of all races and ethnicities in the diverse Norwood neighborhood.

Maketank
“Illustrated Memoirs: Exhibition of Original Artwork” – $2,000

“Illustrated Memoirs: Exhibition of Original Artwork” will feature illustrations created by immigrant and refugee youth participants in Maketank’s Illustrated Memoir Project. Through the initiative, professionals will frame 24 pieces of original artwork and publish an anthology of 12 memoirs, representing the four primary regions of the world that participants call home. Multiple venues in Cincinnati and beyond will host the exhibition, including Wave Pool and the Contemporary Arts Center. Opening receptions of the exhibition will feature memoir authors reading and autographing their books.

Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center
The Center for Storytelling – $5,000

Holocaust & Humanity Center is launching a Center for Storytelling that will leverage the power of story to connect diverse audiences to our mission of using the lessons of the past to inspire action today. Through innovative storytelling across digital and in-person platforms, they will amplify stories that challenge, evoke emotion, and inspire change.

National Commission for Black Arts & Entertainment
Family Heritage Hop: A Black Arts & Culture Museum Tour – $10,000

The Family Heritage Hop is a curated bus tour visiting key Cincinnati museums, offering guided experiences that spotlight Black arts and culture. This free program aims to break barriers by making cultural exploration accessible to families in Cincinnati’s diverse community.

Norwood Together
Norwood International Art Show – $5,000

Norwood Together is organizing the Norwood International Art Show on Sept. 21. This juried art show is part of the organization’s Welcome Week Celebration, bringing immigrant and local artists together, building strong connections and affirming the importance of welcoming, inclusive places. The show aims to enliven neighborhoods by bringing art to a diverse group of residents in the region and activating Victory Park with art experiences. The project is a partnership with Queen City Clay, Jam in the Can and Off-Pike Market.

Play in the Park
Art, Music and Us: A Community-Engaged Vision for Play in the Park – $6,000

Play in the Park in Kennedy Heights is dedicated to enhancing the lives of residents of all ages by transforming the local park into a vibrant space for safe and enjoyable gatherings with family and friends. Participants will immerse themselves in arts programming, enjoy live performances by talented local musicians and performing arts groups, and engage in interactive activities designed for both children and adults.

Popped Art
“Great Things Ahead” – $10,000

“Great Things Ahead” is a creative installation of color and light designed to make a dim space bright, creating a more energized and vibrant place for the community to connect. More than 30 businesses are located in the immediate area of Northern Kentucky’s Covington Station underpass, with many pedestrians, cyclists and cars passing through daily.

Robert O’Neal Multicultural Arts Center
Teen ARTrepreneurship Program, performing arts addition – $10,000

The ROMAC’s ARTrepreneurship Program is a paid youth employment and training initiative, exposing teens to diverse career options in the arts and equipping them with essential work skills. Along with classes to learn artistic craft in music, dance and acting, participants will learn vital work skills, including budgeting, resume creation and interview skills. They’ll also gain insight into the collaborative efforts behind a performer like Beyoncé.

Skirball Museum Cincinnati
“Faces of Israel: A Photographic Conversation by Larry Roberts” – $7,500

This exhibition features 36 photographs, attendant public programming and a publication, including text and photographs that document the people who inhabit the land we call Israel. Pittsburgh-based photojournalist Larry Roberts crafts photographs of Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze and tourists, depicting a world quite distant from the constant conflict and hate splashed across the headlines. Given the current political climate in Israel, the exhibition is a vehicle for deepening understanding and connection for Jews and non-Jews alike.

SkyVengers Cartoon
The SkyVengers Mobile Cartoon-LEVEL 2 – $10,000

The SkyVengers Mobile Cartoon Lab-LEVEL 2 consists of four creative workshops. Each of the six-week workshops introduces and inspires creativity, software knowledge and digital art to the next generation’s creators. Young people of all backgrounds will learn the foundation of professional-level software.

University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
CCM Prep String Program – $10,000

In 2023, the Strings Program provided music education to third graders at Hays-Porter Elementary in Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood. This year, CCM is using the ArtsWave funding to expand to fourth graders at Hays-Porter, as well as fifth and sixth graders at Woodford Academy. Students receive group strings instruction, plus individual attention from professional musicians and teaching artists who are trained by CCM’s world-class faculty.

Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio
Rooting Change through Art and Community – $5,000

The Urban League and the Black Arts Speaks artist collective have partnered to design, curate and install artwork in the newly renovated Holloman Center for Social Justice. Focused on the theme “From Protest to Policy Change,” the collaboration addresses systemic issues of racism, overcomes the underrepresentation of Black art and Black artists, and creates a community convening center that enhances the vibrancy of Avondale by increasing the availability and accessibility of arts experiences.

Vulcan’s Forge Performing Arts Collaborative
Spirited Musings – $10,000

Vulcan’s Forge’s “Spirited Musings” will present two performances by Infinite Flow Dance, a Los Angeles-based professional dance company whose members are mostly dancers with disabilities. In addition to the main performances, Infinite Flow will hold six K-6 elementary school assemblies on disability inclusion for Cincinnati Public Schools; Marisa Hamamoto, Infinite Flow’s founder, will hold a motivational presentation at Kennedy Auditorium on Xavier University’s campus; and two separate Reader’s Theatre productions will take place, five times each, at various senior care facilities across the Greater Cincinnati region.

Westwood Works
“We Can All Grow Here” interactive community mural – $3,000

“We Can All Grow Here” will be a 40-foot by 10-foot public mural in the Westwood business district. It represents the hopes of the community to create a space where all can grow and thrive together. The flowered design shows plants and flowers of many different colors, shapes and sizes, representing a diverse community. The design includes an interactive “coloring book” lower portion that neighbors can fill in themselves with chalk.

Whited Sepulchre Records
Cincinnati Experimental Music Festival – $10,000

Whited Sepulchre Records will hold a music festival in September that will feature national and international experimental artists, as well as innovative local artists. Audiences can attend pre- and post-show parties with local artists and DJs, as well as workshops throughout the day.

WordPlay Cincy
WildHome: Free Urban Nature Immersions – $7,500

WildHome is a collaboration between artists Julia Orquera Bianco and Amy J. Tuttle, supported by WordPlay Cincy. WildHome reconnects people with artful cross-cultural experiences exploring healthy bonds with nature and place. Through workshops and community events, the project will amplify rich multicultural storytelling, artmaking, song and written word. Free community offerings will take place from August to November, serving over 250 people of diverse backgrounds. Venues include Wordplay Cincy (activating Bianco’s installation, “TOGETHERNESS”), Aiken High School and several urban parks.

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