ArtsWave Invests $11 Million in Greater Cincinnati Community

ArtsWave community arts centers day
New Funding Strategy Focuses on Increasing Arts Impact, Innovation, and Engagement

June 22, 2012 — ArtsWave announces $11 million in grants and initiatives to create vibrant neighborhoods and bring people together through music, dance, theater, museums and more. In 2012, ArtsWave will focus on funding efforts to increase the impact of the arts, foster innovation, and expand cultural engagement in the community. These investments are made possible by the thousands of people who contributed to ArtsWave’s annual community campaign—donors who recognize the importance of the arts to everyone in Cincinnati and the region.

Community volunteers committed the majority of funds - $9.4 million - for impact grants to thirty-three local arts organizations ranging from $10,000 to over $2 million. In addition, ArtsWave will invest $400,000 in smaller project grants and strategic local partnerships. ArtsWave will also support two major new initiatives with $400,000 in funds given specifically to foster innovation and expand arts engagement: The New Pathways for the Arts Initiative, and the Arts Engagement Index, in partnership with Agenda 360. Remaining funds are used to measure and communicate the impact of the arts on the region, and to support the ArtsWave campaign.

This year marks the first time that ArtsWave has made grant-making decisions based on the community impact of the recipient organizations, using data and measurement strategies chosen by the organizations. Grantmaking committees also considered criteria such as leadership, sustainability, and collaboration with other arts organizations. One and two-year impact grants will support arts organizations large and small that are creating vibrancy and connecting people throughout the region.

View a list of the 2012 impact grants.

“We believe that the arts have a profound impact on the health and vibrancy of our region,” says Pete Strange, Chair, ArtsWave Board of Trustees and Chairman, Messer, Inc. “When we announced the change to our funding process two years ago, our goal was to better support these organizations, and to better recognize their impact on our community. We are pleased that these grantee organizations have embraced the challenge of measuring their impact, and shared with us ample evidence of their contributions to community vitality—which we hope will be further sustained by these grants.”

The grantmaking process provided many examples of how theaters, museums, arts centers and more make Cincinnati a great place to live:

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s professional musicians not only create extraordinary music heard all over the world, but also contribute to the success of over 65 other musical and educational institutions in our region from Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet to chamber ensembles to community orchestras.

The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati reaches almost 195,000 children each year through touring and local performances all over the tri-state. Attending shows together, families grow closer and create lasting traditions that span generations.

The Carnegie Center for Visual and Performing Arts will provide over 17,000 hours of arts education in local Covington schools next year. The Carnegie is gathering data to show how arts instruction and integration improves literacy and helps schools succeed.

To celebrate its 80th anniversary, the Taft Museum of Art has installed 80 framed reproductions in outdoor spaces throughout the region. The Taft partnered with community arts centers, libraries, city and county parks, and local businesses to help select the installation sites and engage the public with fun, free events.

View more examples of the impact of the arts on our region.

Over $250,000 in impact grants will go to community-based arts centers in neighborhoods such as Kennedy Heights, Clifton, Covedale, Bond Hill, Wyoming, Hamilton, and Covington. “We are delighted to increase our contributions to these centers that serve as cultural hubs for their neighborhoods and program partners with our larger arts institutions,” says Mary McCullough-Hudson, President & CEO of ArtsWave. “By investing in a wide variety of arts and culture groups throughout the region, we hope more people will engage in and benefit from the arts.”

More than 50 volunteers served on grantmaking committees, contributing over 1,500 total hours to the process. 57 arts organizations filed letters of intent to apply for funding in early February, and 45 were invited to complete the application process. Organizations that did not receive impact grants will have the opportunity to apply for project grants in August and January.

The ArtsWave Board of Trustees also approved the commitment of funds to create strategic partnerships with several local organizations including Cincinnati Public Radio, CET, and the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. In a separate action, the Board voted to give a special grant of $125,000 to the Cincinnati Art Museum for the coming fiscal year.

These changes to the grantmaking process are another step in an ongoing transformation for ArtsWave. Formerly the Fine Arts Fund, in 2010 ArtsWave adopted a new name and expanded mission to create community through the arts, attracting national attention for its ground-breaking research in messaging and advocacy.

About the Arts Engagement Index: The Arts Engagement Index (AEI) is a research tool that tracks trends in consumer arts and cultural engagement over time. Its objectives are to stimulate innovation, inform arts and culture policy, and expose opportunities for increasing arts engagement. Unlike other studies of arts participation, the AEI surveys the general population, not just current arts attendees. The engagement score factors in both frequency of arts participation and the importance of those cultural activities to the survey respondents. The survey will be conducted by ArtsWave in partnership with Agenda 360 and guided by researcher Alan Brown of the research firm WolfBrown. It includes questions on demographics, cultural activities, arts learning indicators and civic engagement. For previous survey results in Philadelphia, visit

About the New Pathways for the Arts Initiative: Created by EmcArts, Inc., New Pathways is a training and immersion program for arts organizations in local arts communities, to advance and accelerate the development of innovative strategies and to strengthen adaptive leadership. Designed for Cincinnati in partnership with ArtsWave, this program consists of a series of Community Workshops, hands-on work sessions introducing and exploring the topic of organizational innovation for leadership teams from up to 20 arts organizations, and the Incubating Innovation program, a concentrated ten-month framework for select organizations to incubate and prototype a specific innovation project. For more information, visit or