Our new series, "Better Know Cincy's Arts," gives you a closer look at the organizations you help support through the annual ArtsWave Campaign. Check out the second episode above to to learn more about Visionaries + Voices, one of the many organizations that receive ArtsWave funding.

Art has the power to bridge what divides us — race, age, gender, class, circumstance and more. It's such a fundamental aspect of art that, in a University of Cincinnati survey, 90% agreed that the arts help us understand perspectives from other cultures.

That power is on full display at Visionaries + Voices, an inclusive art studio and gallery that provides creative and professional opportunities to artists with developmental disabilities. Across two locations, V+V aims to diversify the arts community by providing space for over 120 artists, not just to learn, but to teach.

"The Teaching Artist Program puts an adult with a developmental disability in a leadership role, standing in front of a class," says Robin Winkler, executive director of Visionaries + Voices, "and it might be the only time that kids with and without disabilities see someone with a disability in a leadership role."

The program's stability means that children get to develop relationships with teaching artists like Neil Dignan. "I love going to schools, teaching the kids and having them come back and say, 'Neil, I love how you taught me on Friday,'" Dignan says.

ArtsWave's support ensures that V+V can offer the Teaching Artist Program in schools that otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it. "The funding through ArtsWave allows us to continue those partnerships, which are so important," says Seana Higgins, education director at Visionaries + Voices. "They look forward to us coming every month, and the support allows us to offer those [programs] for free."

As you've probably heard many times before, representation matters. The Teaching Artist Program at Visionaries + Voices takes that maxim to heart. It demonstrates the capabilities and creativity of people with developmental disabilities. Rather than settling for raising awareness about developmental disabilities, V+V creates educational opportunities that impact both students and teachers, and it happens thanks to community members like you.

Visionaries + Voices is one of 150+ organizations, projects and artists supported by the ArtsWave Campaign. Give today to ensure their work continues to impact the Cincinnati region in the future.