Jonathan Sears of PAR-Projects on the value of a nonprofit arts board.

Have you ever wondered how you could make a difference for your favorite local arts organizations?

The first step could be closer than you think. All you need is a desire to make an impact on the arts.

ArtsWave's Boardway Bound is a board leadership training program for Cincy professionals. Facilitated by arts professionals, Boardway Bound prepares participants for arts board service and even matches them with local organizations. Since 2004, over 500 individuals have found a spot on a local arts board through the program.

For participants, Boardway Bound offers an opportunity to learn directly from subject matter experts and arts professionals, gaining a holistic view of their potential role. It provides professional development in governance and best practices. According to past participant Jovoni Trollinger of Fifth Third Bank, it also provided "a beautiful way to connect deeper with the arts, other area professionals and grow in the community." Morgan Mazone echoes that sentiment, adding, "it lifted the curtain on ways to handle potential tough situations. I was introduced to numerous new-to-me organizations and expanded my network of others who support Cincinnati Arts."

For arts organizations, the program provides a bench of newly trained board candidates with diverse perspectives and fields of expertise. That kind of assistance is especially critical for new and smaller organizations. When Jonathan Sears first founded PAR-Projects in Northside, he had a strong vision but no experience in leading a nonprofit. "I was coming into this world just as a practicing artist," he says, adding that a key piece of guidance he received was, "If you're gonna do this right, you need to have a board of directors." Through ArtsWave, he learned the dynamics of a board/founder relationship and was paired with board members who provided concrete value in making his vision a reality.

Each Boardway Bound session explores real-life issues confronting arts boards and provides time for networking. This year's program includes six in-person sessions, culminating in the signature Speed Dating event, where candidates come face-to-face with arts clients for mutual interviews. ArtsWave then matches the top choices of participants with the top choices of arts clients to begin a relationship that they define together.

All backgrounds and career stages are welcome. ArtsWave encourages candidates from diverse backgrounds to apply. Together, we can ensure that the programs and practices of the region's arts and cultural organizations reflect our entire community.

Boardway Bound runs from October 17 through December 12, 2024. Applications are open from now until June 30. A free virtual information session will take place on May 1 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Learn more, register for the info session or apply for the program at