Arts and community leaders kicked off the 2023 ArtsWave Campaign recently at the Contemporary Arts Center. ArtsWave President & CEO Alecia Kintner shared the "CREATED TO GROW: STRONGER ARTS FOR A STRONGER REGION" campaign theme, which is fitting as Cincinnati celebrates its recent news of making the top 20 most arts-vibrant large cities nationally.

Coming off a banner year of more than 775 million impressions in national media for the arts and the largest event in Cincinnati's history — the projection mapping, mural and lighting event BLINK®, illuminated by ArtsWave — executive director Justin Brookhart shared impact results of the event. "From survey results, BLINK attracted attendees from 29 states; the event directly created or supported 1,638 jobs; and it had a direct economic impact of $126 million," said Brookhart. He added, "This event is not possible without the support of ArtsWave, our partners, and all the generous donors and supporters that help make it a gigantic, free, public art event. This truly is a 'nowhere else' experience."

Campaign co-chairs Scott Robertson and Carl Satterwhite of RCF Group thanked donors and their Cabinet of 36 volunteer leaders helping to secure support from businesses. They introduced the "More Arts, More Kids" $1 million Chairmen’s Challenge for Arts Education and shared the news that $427,500 has been raised to date. Beginning this fall, ArtsWave will launch a pilot program to enable 50,000 arts field trips for kids over the next five years, ensuring that all elementary children within Cincinnati Public Schools can experience the arts.

"Arts in schools and field trips to arts venues were among the first things to be cut during the worst of the pandemic," says Robertson. Satterwhite adds, "These experiences are so important to kids' well-rounded education." Any new gift of $5,000 or more, or a gift increased by $5,000 or more, may be designated to fund "More Arts, More Kids."

During the kickoff event, Robertson and Satterwhite announced the fundraising goal of $11.7 million. Money raised by the Campaign will fund 150+ organizations and projects that will create thousands of cultural performances, exhibitions and other arts experiences over the next year.

Mayor Aftab Pureval underscored the importance of the Campaign and arts education (check out his #MyFirstArts story), and he made an appeal to "join me today in making your gifts to create stronger arts for a stronger region." We encourage you to help us spread the word on the importance of arts education by joining the #MyFirstArts social media challenge.

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