We promised you a fun campaign and that's what happened. For 10 weeks, our community came together through the fun, creative things happening all around!
Watch this slideshow highlighting some of the great things that happened all across the community during the 2010 annual community campaign!
We surprised people on buses with mobile galleries, enjoyed the many events of Sampler Weekend, threw a party full of performances, conducted a public contest, and organized a surprise public dance event on fountain square, Splash Dance.
All year round and all across the region, people enjoy music, dance, museums, art centers, theatre, and much more. All of these contribute to making our community vibrant and encourage people to live, work, play, and stay here.
Thanks for your continued support in helping make fun things like these happen -- we can't do it without you!
We’ve been waiting for a special moment to share this Behind the Scenes video with you.
This is the time because….
We’re nearing the end of our annual community campaign for the arts and we’ve been sharing the Splash Dance video with everyone during the campaign because it is such a great way to share our story.
This new video shows all the hard work, fun, and joy of hundreds of people from across the region who came together to create this surprise dance.
Here’s how it happened.
Last summer, Aaron Betsky of the art museum shared a YouTube video from Belgium with Victoria Morgan of the ballet. The video showed a surprise dance event in a train station to the song "Do Re Mi".
Shortly after that, Victoria told me she’d seen a video beautifully illustrating the way the arts bring people together and make places vibrant and exciting.
I asked her to send me the video and had an immediate reaction: We have to do this in Cincinnati!
Only, rather than using professionals, we could recruit volunteers from all over the region to participate.
Victoria agreed and together we approached about six other people working in arts organizations to form a team of organizers. Early on, we included reps from Lightborne (as our directors and producers of the video) and MidPoint Music Festival since we wanted to perform the dance on our public square during the kickoff for the festival.
We all sent notes to people at other arts organizations, friends, and family, inviting them to be part of a surprise. We didn’t tell them much – and we made them promise to keep the secret if they wanted to participate.
Over 300 people signed up using an online form hidden from the public. Later we told the volunteers they would be dancing – but not where.
Cincinnati Arts Association donated rehearsal space in the Aronoff and Know Theatre gave us time in their theater and rehearsal rooms. Five local bands donated the music. And two awesome teachers from the ballet’s Rhythm and Motion series choreographed the dance. Sixteen local dancers donated their time to teach the routine to everyone.
We assigned each of the volunteers to one of eight teams and provided numerous rehearsal times over a 3-week period leading up to the dress rehearsal. We also posted a breakdown of the routine on a password-protected website for all of the dancers to use at home.
We used social media to provide clues and energize our team.
The night of the dress rehearsal – in donated space at the Music Hall Ballroom - everyone submitted a release form, picked up a “ta-da” lapel button, and got ready to dance.
When all of the volunteers performed the whole dance together for the first time – many of us were in tears. It was incredibly moving to see all of these people come together for our community – people of all ages, backgrounds, neighborhoods, and experience.
The next day, we surprised everyone on Cincinnati’s Fountain Square – in the pouring rain. We always planned to dance no matter what the weather and despite the deluge, everyone came! For about three minutes, the rain slowed. And we all danced together to show off our city.
Since then, the community has embraced the video – sharing wonderful reactions and asking if we’d please do it again. The dancers did repeat the fun in the sunshine on a Sunday afternoon at Findlay Market and Newport on the Levee. Later, a few of the dancers surprised us at the ArtAlive celebration kicking off our community campaign. Nearly 100,000 people have viewed the video on YouTube and CityBeat readers voted Splash Dance one of the year’s best new things, while the editors gave us an award for Best Arts Promo of 2009.
You can watch the Splash Dance video here. You’ll see that it makes our city look vibrant and alive. That’s what we love.
Readers nominated and voted for Splash Dance as one of the city's best "new things" in a category that editor John Fox described as filled with a very diverse set of nominations "from retail businesses and restaurants to events and organizations to people and social issues." Fox decided to write a short article about the top vote getters in the category as a response to what he calls the "Know Nothings": People who "who like to tell you (and the world) how Cincinnati is a boring city and there’s nothing to do here and all the old places are stupid and nothing new ever happens. They stubbornly cling to the notion that new things here can’t be exceptional because Cincinnati is incapable of being exceptional."
In the "Out and About" category, CityBeat staff named Splash Dance "best arts promo".
As City Beat noted, all who participated and watched the Splash Dance loved it and had a great time. Thanks to everyone involved, CityBeat voters and staff!
Watch this video to share in the fun things going on around Cincinnati!
Cincinnati area artists and their friends came together to celebrate the kickoff of our annual community campaign for the arts with surprise events all over – at lunch-spots, shopping areas, and even on buses!
On February 17, people encountered dancers, singers, musicians, and bright, fun artworks in unexpected places!
Lots of people told us they loved the surprises and the bus riders I met couldn’t stop talking about it.
We loved the surprise art because it celebrates the way art creates surprising benefits for everyone in our community.
Art makes our neighborhoods colorful and exciting, creates places where people want to visit, live, and work. And art brings people together – people, who might not ever have a chance to meet otherwise, share an experience and have something new to talk about together.
In the last few months, we’ve been part of surprise singing at the holidays, and surprise dancing in the rain on Fountain Square.
Like – these tweets from the day of surprises!
To celebrate the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010, we bring back our biggest hit of the year: the Cincinnati Splash Dance! The Splash Dance is a great example of the way the arts connect us all and make our city such a vibrant, fun place to live, work, play, and stay!
Happy New Year to all!