If it’s the last week of April, it means two things at ArtsWave: the wrap-up of the annual Community Campaign, and the official start of ArtsWave’s Sustaining Impact grantmaking review, our largest annual grants to arts organizations. I need your help with both.

We are $50,000 short of our goal of $12,450,000. So close, and yet so far!

I am asking everyone who receives the Ripple Effect to help us close the gap with a gift today of just $10
. In return, I’m going to share 10 things that strike me as I am reading grant proposals. Not exactly trends (is there such a thing as an Arts Futurist?), but themes that I’m seeing.

Here are 10 observations, hopefully worth a dollar each to you:

Everyone loves a mashup. 
Partnerships between arts organizations and our local colleges and universities seem to be at an all-time high, as the arts recognize the importance of connecting to young adults as well as leveraging skills, resources and facilities.

Take art to the people.
Maybe it’s just the warm weather, but even indoor-focused arts groups are saying “take it outside” as they introduce programming that involves parks, block parties, and other public places.

Find new audiences.

Organizations are seizing opportunities for new distribution channels. Live streaming performances for national audiences, touring to other cities and even other countries, and digitizing art collections are ways that the arts will be putting Cincy on the map in the year ahead.

Everyone can make art.

We may have the oldest volunteer choir in the Western Hemisphere in the May Festival, but amateurs with other arts hobbies are being newly encouraged by Cincinnati’s arts pros. Crowd-sourced theater and a landscape painting contest, helped by social media, are just two examples.

The arts are a family activity.
How to engage active kids, and their exhausted parents, is being highly prioritized. Whether it’s family-friendly programming, new child-focused art-making spaces, youth performance experiences, teen clubs or even arts-immersive childcare – arts organizations are doing a lot to ensure that Cincinnati keeps its reputation as being a great place to raise a family – and instilling the positive benefits of the arts like creative problem-solving, teamwork, and empathy in our kids at the same time. 

New homes mean new ideas.
New construction and/or renovation of facilities is stretching the imaginations of several arts organizations’ boards and staff members. The result will be enhanced experiences for patrons, and new opportunities for neighborhoods.

Everyone should be able to enjoy the arts.
Many performing arts organizations are adding sensory-friendly performances to the calendar, removing barriers to attendance for children with challenges like autism.

Art organizations are making a difference.
Not only are organizations tackling tough social themes on the stage and in the galleries, but they are also partnering to make a local impact with organizations like Freestore Foodbank, Lighthouse Youth Services, Tender Mercies, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, retirement and nursing homes, and many others.

The arts make Cincinnati fun. 
Young professionals can find a whole slew of ways to plug in to area arts organizations and make new social and professional connections in the process. With our recent #1 ranking
 as “best city for new college grads in terms of jobs, affordability and fun,” Cincinnati’s momentum continues, and arts organizations are helping to propel it.

Cincinnati's creative professionals need the arts.
In fact, arts organizations can increasingly point to their role in nurturing Cincy’s Creative Class. From employing artists who become embedded in our community, to providing training and professional development for other fields; from incubating new arts-related business ventures to offering free or “pay what you can” admission -- arts organizations are inspiring the residents of Greater Cincinnati not only with their finished works of art, but with the creative energy required to produce them.


Like all of us working on the ArtsWave campaign, I know you care about the impact that the arts have on our region and how organizations are responding to ArtsWave’s Blueprint for Collective Action. If you have observed other things happening in the arts, please share!

I hope you’ll show your desire to create a more vibrant economy and more connected community through the arts by donating a dollar for every impact identified in my Top 10 list, just $10 today, to help us reach the 2016 ArtsWave Community Campaign finish line tomorrow.

By Thursday night, your ten dollars will add up to millions to invest in exactly this kind of impact.