"People don't always face uncomfortable topics head-on. Sometimes they tiptoe around them," says Alyssa Batsakis, CEO and producing artistic director of the Ghostlight Stage Company. That sort of tiptoeing can keep uncomfortable truths in the dark. Therein lies the origin story for Ghostlight's "Shining A Light" series. Batsakis, along with the staff and board of Ghostlight, looked for the corners of the arts sector that needed light, then identified people who could bring it. "Shining A Light," a series of workshops made possible in part by your gift as an ArtsWave YP member, is aimed at young professional artists (but open to all) and brings important questions of accessibility and gatekeeping to the forefront of Cincy's arts sector.

That starts with understanding why we "tiptoe" in the first place. Even as we see many organizations hire full-time, leadership-level DEIA coordinators, the nature of nonprofit work means that, especially for smaller organizations, slim budgets leave little room for new initiatives. Understanding that barrier, Ghostlight looks for creative, scalable solutions. For example, the next workshop, "Making the Arts Accessible," poses questions like, "How can we be accessible with no accessibility budget?" and "How can we get creative and produce that budget?" An expert panel from Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Ghost Light Interpreting will help find the answers.

In April, the series tackles fatphobia in the arts with "Contemporary Theatre and the Fat Body: Moving Through Space as Your Authentic Self." The movement-based workshop will provide a safe space for people of all body types to "move your body as it is," followed by a lecture about fatphobia within the performing arts and beyond. In May, local actor, dancer, director, choreographer and educator Darnell Pierre Benjamin, a two-time recipient of ArtsWave's Black and Brown Artist Program grant, leads a town hall-style lecture and discussion about antiracism efforts in the arts.

Ghostlight takes a creative approach to audience feedback. Anyone who has attended a performance is familiar with post-show surveys, but "Shining A Light" folds part of that into the workshops themselves. Audience members are asked to write down answers to questions like, "What's something you don't want to forget from today?" and "What's one thing you're going to change moving forward?" They put their addresses on an envelope, put their answers inside and in three months, receive the message. "We get feedback. They get an accountability reminder," says Batsakis.

The Ghostlight Stage Company is a relative newcomer to Cincy's arts sector. Conceived as a performing arts group, it has quickly become a center for mentoring artists and arts professionals as well. Batsakis hopes "other organizations will see what we're doing as a smaller, newer organization and be inspired to continue this kind of work."

"Shining A Light" takes place on the first Monday of the month, from 7-9 p.m. Click here for details on the next workshop.