More than 40 arts organizations helping to build a more vibrant economy and connected community across Greater Cincinnati will receive operating support grants thanks to the thousands of contributors to the 2016 ArtsWave Community Campaign, chaired by Jill Meyer and Awadagin Pratt. 

The Sustaining Impact Grants approved June 24 by the ArtsWave Board of Trustees add up to $9.7 million. ArtsWave, which is the nation’s first and largest united arts fund, will invest an additional $550,000 in fiscal year 2017 through a variety of grant initiatives, including programming for young professionals, support for neighborhood arts and festivals, and Sparking Impact Grants that will provide dollars, for the first time, for projects from impact-oriented individual artists. 

Additionally, $250,000 in support targeted for special initiatives related to arts education and cultural tourism marketing will bring the total investment in the arts sector to $10.5 million this year, supporting more than 100 arts organizations and programming around the region. 

“Greater Cincinnati is fortunate to have tens of thousands of people who give generously each year to the ArtsWave Community Campaign to support the arts that make our region amazing,” CEO Alecia Kintner said. “This is community money invested with community input for community benefit.” 

Guided by research about the regional priorities valued by Community Campaign contributors, ArtsWave developed the Blueprint for Collective Action, a 10-year strategic plan that outlines five key areas in which the arts contribute to building a vibrant economy and more connected community in Greater Cincinnati. All organizations receiving ArtsWave support must provide details about plans and programming that address Blueprint goals. Arts organizations have embraced the plan, with many reflecting the Blueprint goals in their own strategic plans, and report a ripple effect of benefits from the impact-based model. More organizations are collaborating on new and diverse programming. More institutions are getting involved in neighborhood development efforts. More venues are reporting a widened, increasingly engaged audience. 

The CSO was a top scorer in the new grantmaking process and will receive the largest Sustaining Impact Grant in dollars. As a large regional organization, the CSO provided ArtsWave with details about how it was making an impact in all of the Blueprint goals. For example, the world-class orchestra builds Cincinnati’s national reputation through recordings and tours that have taken it to Lincoln Center in New York City and beyond.

Other examples of organizations producing outstanding work in each of the Blueprint goals include: 

• ArtWorks putting Cincinnati on the map with its innovative mission to transform people and places around the region through investments in public art and creative enterprise. Its murals alone have garnered national attention for Greater Cincinnati.
• Cincinnati Art Museum deepening roots in the region through its Art After Dark program, an exciting monthly social gathering that mixes art, music and culture. 
• Elementz bridging cultural divides through community outreach and programming collaborations with a variety of arts organizations, including Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Cincinnati Ballet. 
• Kennedy Heights Arts Center enlivening its neighborhood with creative programs and festivals, which it develops through close connections with residents.  
• Cincinnati Boychoir fueling creativity and learning, not only among its own choir students, but through programming in Cincinnati schools. 

During the volunteer-led grant review process this spring, 50 people, representing ArtsWave’s business and civic partners and including young professionals and stakeholders from across the diverse communities of Greater Cincinnati, gave more than 1,000 hours of their time to consider applications for the Sustaining Impact Grant Program. A panel of community experts separately reviewed the financial information of all the applicants. Volunteers read through applications and attended day-long panels of presentations from the arts organizations. Both arts organizations and volunteers provided overwhelmingly positive feedback about the process, which is the next step on ArtsWave’s journey to an impact-based grantmaking system measuring how the arts help the region. 

ArtsWave began this evolution six years ago, and the transformation recently was profiled by the Drucker Institute. The change was prompted by 2008 research that showed most ArtsWave contributors gave to the arts because they believed the arts benefit the region, helping to build thriving neighborhoods, bridge cultural divides, and fuel creativity, collaboration and other 21st century skills in their children. ArtsWave citizen donors value a wide variety of arts and arts organizations, large and small, old and new. Ten years ago, before moving to an impact-based model, ArtsWave provided general operating support grants to 18 organizations. Four years ago, ArtsWave invested general operating support grants in 35 organizations. Now, ArtsWave is awarding 41 organizations with Sustaining Impact Grants and, through additional grants, supporting a total of more than 100 arts organizations and programs across Greater Cincinnati. 

“The demographics and interests of our community have changed and continue to change. The Blueprint and our community-led process makes sure ArtsWave, and the arts sector as a whole, is changing with our community and continuing to provide relevant, impactful programming,” said Lisa Sauer, ArtsWave Board of Trustees Chairwoman and Vice President Product Supply, Global Home Products & External Supply Solutions at P&G. “By focusing on community impact, we leverage the power of the arts to do great good in our region and build the sustainability of the arts in Greater Cincinnati.”

Organization Grant
ArtWorks $175,500
Behringer-Crawford Museum $34,900
Bi-Okoto Cultural Institute $25,600
The Carnegie $78,000
The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati $221,000
Cincinnati Art Museum $1,488,000
Cincinnati Ballet Company $851,900
Cincinnati Black Theatre Company $6,500
Cincinnati Boychoir $33,100
Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra $35,600
Cincinnati Children's Choir $47,100
Cincinnati Landmark Productions $64,300
Cincinnati May Festival $270,500
Cincinnati Men's Chorus $5,600
Cincinnati Opera Association $860,200
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park $1,125,000
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company $151,400
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra $2,800,000
Clifton Cultural Arts Center $39,700
concert:nova $8,700
Contemporary Arts Center $376,600
Elementz $33,200
Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati $142,900
Fitton Center for Creative Arts $98,800
Kennedy Heights Arts Center $31,600
Kentucky Symphony Orchestra $47,400
Know Theatre of Cincinnati $56,500
Linton Chamber Music $12,600
Madcap Productions Puppet Theatre $41,800
MamLuft&Co. Dance $8,300
Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center $12,400
Melodic Connections $29,200
MUSE- Cincinnati Women's Choir $8,400
My Nose Turns Red Theatre Company $9,100
Oxford Community Arts Center $23,700
Pones Inc. $2,600
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park $36,900
Taft Museum of Art $297,600
Visionaries + Voices $39,000
Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati $19,600
The Wyoming Fine Arts Center $33,200