Salome Tregre in The Nutcracker
Salome Isabel Tregre, Ethan Kimbrell and Gracie Paff in "The Nutcracker"
Photo credit: Peter Mueller

December traditions in Greater Cincinnati are well underway. The Cincinnati Zoo and Pyramid Hill sparkle with lights. The trains have left the station at the Behringer-Crawford Museum and Cincinnati Museum Center. Ebenezer Scrooge is re-discovering the joy of the season at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, while the Cincinnati Ballet is sweeping audiences away on Clara's adventures with the Nutcracker. Some things never change.

But happily, some things do change! Diverse representation in media and on the stage is critical, and this season many arts organizations are demonstrating their commitment to showcasing diverse talent. Cincinnati Ballet, for example, cast 13-year-old Salome Tregre as Clara in "The Nutcracker," marking the first time in the production's local 50-year history that the role has been filled by an African American ballerina. Meanwhile, The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati's "Cinderella," features Kiara Hines as Cinderella and Ryan Chavez Richmond as Prince Daniel—both people of color.

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati's holiday production, "The Dancing Princesses," features a similarly diverse cast: Princess Gidela (Samantha Russell), King Aldrin (Ken Early) and Prince Jack (Darnell Pierre Benjamin) are all portrayed by African American actors while Princess Meiko is played by Rebecca Wei Hsieh, who is of Asian descent.

Local arts groups are also striving to increase accessibility for all patrons, including sensory-friendly performances and guides at the Cincinnati Ballet, The Children's Theatre, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, Playhouse and Cincinnati Art Museum. This expanded inclusivity helps put the arts at the core of more families' holiday traditions and memories.


With welcome changes, our holiday traditions continue year after year. At ArtsWave, we have our own favorite tradition: every year, we show our appreciation to the Residential Volunteers who help us prepare our Community Campaign mailings. This year, we called out two volunteer milestones: Susan Koch has been donating her time and efforts for 20 years, and Ida Tergerson for 40. Imagine: helping ensure continued arts innovation in Cincinnati by volunteering with ArtsWave for multiple decades! We thank Susan and Ida for their dedication to our region's thriving arts, just as we thank everyone in our generous community for their annual support.

To find holiday arts happening near you, please visit the Holiday Arts Experiences page on ArtsWave Guide. Cheers, and see you in the New Year!