ArtsWave has used the data generated from its impact-based grants system to create a new tool to help arts organizations better serve the region. 

Arts Atlas is a set of online, interactive mapping tools that combine arts and cultural data with targeted demographic and civic data. Free and available to the public, the tools can be accessed from www.theartswave.org. Representatives from the more than 100 arts organizations supported by ArtsWave already have started using the tools. 

The Arts Atlas Neighborhood Tool reflects ArtsWave’s commitment to enhance the vibrancy of communities across Greater Cincinnati by increasing the accessibility and availability of arts organizations and experiences across Greater Cincinnati. The Neighborhood Tool incorporates data about where and when arts programming is taking place with information about the arts and cultural resources within communities, including nonprofit arts organizations, creative businesses, cultural spaces, and public art, and data about other neighborhood resources such as libraries, community gardens, and recreation centers. This allows people, by inference, to determine where arts programming is not taking place, giving policymakers and community advocates and organizations valuable information about areas of need and opportunity. 

The Arts Atlas Arts Education Tool  is a direct result of ArtsWave’s commitment to support arts programming that promotes children’s development of 21st century skills. The Arts Education   Tool includes data about all the region’s schools, including the arts education they provide, as well as data about other organizations that serve youth, including HeadStarts, community and recreation centers, YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs. The tool also includes data about arts education resources and programming provided by nonprofit arts organizations. The goal is to provide policymakers, educators, parents, and arts educators the data and information they need to support equitable access to arts education.

Each tool provides the ability to layer various data sets to examine patterns, relationships, and trends; generate summary reports of specific geographic areas; and target parts of the region that match specific criteria they identify. All of the demographic and civic data is updated as new data are available through ArtsWave’s partnership with PolicyMap, the web’s largest place-based data library. Much of the arts and cultural asset data is updated quarterly. The data on arts programming activity is updated as often as monthly. 

Arts Atlas was developed with money from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John A. Schroth Family Charitable Trust at PNC Bank as a tool to support strategic investments that increase the availability and accessibility of arts and culture experiences throughout Greater Cincinnati. Our goal is to enhance and promote our existing resources, while supporting informed investment and decision-making to ensure that everyone in the region, particularly those in underserved areas and populations, has access to meaningful arts opportunities.

Arts Atlas is another digital tool working toward the 10-year strategic plan ArtsWave unveiled last fall, the Blueprint for Collective Action by the Greater Cincinnati Arts Sector. 

“We want everyone in Greater Cincinnati to experience the positive benefits of the arts. We know that the more people participate and engage in the arts, the greater the ripple effect of benefits for all who live here,” said Tara Townsend, ArtsWave Chief Impact Strategy Officer. “By investing in a wide variety of art forms and providing strategic leadership for the arts sector in the broader community, ArtsWave creates an environment where the growing impact of the arts is felt and celebrated by the entire community.”

The Blueprint connects the work of the arts sector to five regional priorities in the areas of talent attraction, population retention, cross-cultural understanding, neighborhood vibrancy, and youth development, and provides a framework for how ArtsWave will invest in arts organizations and strategic initiatives for the next 10 years. With this new model for impact, the Arts Atlas tools provide the organizations that we fund the opportunity to be more strategic in their programming decisions. For example, Townsend said, rather than just provide programming to those schools and communities that ask for it, arts education and community engagement staff can make more intentional, informed decisions about where to invest their resources.

As resources allow, ArtsWave will continue to build out additional tools to support the other areas of our Blueprint, as well as add additional datasets to the existing tools.

ArtsWave ended its annual Community Campaign for the Arts on April 28, having raised $12.45 million for the Greater Cincinnati arts community. ArtsWave volunteers are reviewing grant applications now.