ArtsWave’s grants serve the entire tristate, helping make the arts accessible to everyone in our region.

Cincinnati is the only region in the United States that, for each of the past five years, has seen an investment of 10 million dollars made in the demonstrable, desirable impact of local arts — thanks entirely to the donations made by tens of thousands of individuals, foundations and businesses to the annual ArtsWave Community Campaign. More than $60 million has been raised in all since 2014, including a series of grants just recommended and approved by 50 volunteers and board members.

You cannot separate the impact and variety of arts experiences in Greater Cincinnati from this tradition of thoughtful philanthropy and investment, which goes back decades and sets this region apart.

Thanks to donors to the 2018 ArtsWave Campaign, significant awards to drive community impact have been made to 37 organizations. Sustaining Impact grants ensure that these organizations continue to build Cincinnati’s reputation to attract talent, deepen the roots of current residents, bridge cultural divides, enliven our neighborhoods and fuel creativity and learning in all kids. On top of these 37 large grants, every year ArtsWave makes dozens of project grants meant to catalyze these same impacts — in new ways, with new partners and for increasing numbers of people.

In our grant review process, ArtsWave holds organizations accountable to meeting these shared goals. In aggregating data about outcomes, we are assembling a powerful case for the importance of the arts in service of our community.

Thanks to ArtsWave grants, organizations are connecting us as a region. Examples include Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park as it prepares to tackle August Wilson's civil rights-era drama, "Two Trains Running," and then premieres a locally-sourced and developed new play, “Cincinnati King,” about the history of King Records. MamLuft&Co. Dance will expand their dance education programs to Price Hill, where they will conduct classes in Spanish to be more accessible to those for whom English is not their native language. The Contemporary Arts Center downtown will continue its popular nights for teens across the region, who are choosing to congregate inside the galleries in surprising numbers, rather than other entertainment or outdoor destinations.

Thanks to ArtsWave grants, organizations are also creating a more vibrant economy through the arts. ArtWorks will create 16 new murals in locales including Springfield Township, Avondale, Pendleton, Silverton and Oakley — changing streetscapes and elevating neighborhood pride. Cincinnati Landmark Productions and Madcap Puppets will open the Madcap Education Center in Westwood. Elementz will settle into its new home near Findlay Market and welcome teens, creatives and neighbors into its inviting and transformational space.

Adding to the roster of ArtsWave awards are those receiving Catalyzing Impact grants. For example, the Dinsmore Homestead Foundation and Cincinnati Black Theatre Company received funding to write, direct and perform five vignettes about the meaning of death and mourning in the 19th and early 20th centuries depending on gender, age and race. What might we learn about our own beliefs and fears from putting ourselves in the minds of our ancestors?

Another Catalyzing Impact Grant recipient, Children, Inc, will deploy an anti-bullying program in Northern Kentucky classrooms that uses music, dance, drama, visual arts and creative writing to promote acceptance and empathy. How many children can we better nurture through programs like this?

Safer streets, improved property values, self-awareness and more tolerant practices are all wonderful benefits of arts participation, which we call the Arts Ripple Effect. It’s not just ArtsWave that sees this, though. The 2018 Winter Greater Cincinnati Survey reveals that nearly 8 in 10 Cincinnatians view our arts as critical to the region's overall economic health.

A statistic like this underscores the importance of investment in arts impact and the stewardship responsibility that goes along with it.