fine arts fund

Singing and Dancing are Mandatory for the New Year

Cincinnati Enquirer reporters Janelle Gelfand and Jackie Demaline detailed the busy season of live performances -theater, music, and dance - in our future with a
series of articles. (Indeed, we're also exceedingly grateful that our local daily print media still has reporters and critics highlighting and covering these events, along with offerings at museums and galleries and regional arts centers.)

In today's economy, we're extraordinarily fortunate for our local heritage of investment in arts and culture that puts us in good stead as we face an uncertain economic future in the near term.

News reports of budget struggles in organizations that depend on public support filled newspapers across the country this holiday season.

Nonprofits and public agencies that provide critical social and economic benefits are struggling as tax revenues and private asset portfolios of foundations and individuals decline significantly and unexpectedly.

Reporters Gelfand and Demaline also covered the worst of this local situation in a front-page article: The Show Must Go On.

Sure. We've seen some prudent retrenchment and anticipate that many local leaders will focus on ensuring that our high expectations continue to be met while still living within more limited means.

Yet, we are fortunate that the long-term support and investment (in both dollars and time) from community residents has created a place to live that provides us with so many spaces for sharing and experiencing art, including some that are open to all without charge such as the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Fine Arts Fund Sampler Weekend, events at our local universities, and other community-based events all over the region.

As we look forward to the kickoff of our annual Fine Arts Fund campaign, we're grateful that we've built a long record (we're the oldest fund in the country!) of success through broad community participation with more than 44,000 donors.

Our campaign relies on many modest contributions, not one-time big donations. Our community invests in the arts, which has put us in position today to weather this storm.

As we look to the future, we believe that arts and culture events can help everyone manage the stress and uncertainty of these times. And we're striving to ensure that the value of these experiences will move all of us to share, participate, contribute, educate, and raise our sense of civic commitment to this wonderful community.

Of course, we're all frustrated by the limitations and suffering created by this economic downturn. But it's in these times that sharing experiences -- like live theater, music, exhibits about history and culture, dancing and singing -- with our friends and neighbors is a critical investment in our health, strength, and happiness. Access and participation in the arts for everyone is a necessity now, not a luxury we can forego until times are better.  

Comments (5) Write comment

01/13/2009 9:18 AM | Dick Waller |
I thank Margy Waller (my daughter) for reminding us how fortunate we are to be living in a city that values arts and culture so greatly. We have an extraordinary wealth of art, music, theater, dance, etc., that enriches our lives. In my opinion, the availability of these cultural offerings is a necessity, not a luxury, and an integral part of our city life.
01/12/2009 10:40 AM |
Teresa Hoelle |
01/09/2009 11:17 AM |
Peter Elia |
Well said!
01/09/2009 7:32 AM |
Missie Santomo |
Thank you. This is great!
01/08/2009 7:12 PM |
Ed Stern |
Wonderfully done.Thank you so much. Ed Stern  


Fun in Madisonville


I'm not sure what it takes exactly to introduce kids to the arts - opera and theater in this case - in a way that will translate to more participation and a community sense that the arts belong to all of us. But, the Halloween party in Madisonville sure seems like an important effort and a model worthy of support.


To see the show, I drove to the Center at 5021 Whetsel Avenue off Madison Road. As I cruised past the sparkling new center, Margie waved from the gallery on the first floor. As I slowed, she called out: "If you are looking for the show, you found us!" I parked in the spacious lot next to the center and listened to music playing over the outside loudspeakers as I made my way past the eye-catching mirrored murals on the doorway to the open gallery space on the first floor. Entering the upstairs theater, I was impressed with the intimate venue and comfortable seating - which I later learned will be the site of an upcoming Blue Chip Players' production of Arthur Miller's play "The Price" . (That's a play with a great story about family and the value of things we save.)

After the show, I watched as the kids bashfully got up close to the "cast". They were still mostly afraid of the witch, but they liked Gretel and the forest animals a lot. As they left, the arts center volunteers offered kids water and a decorated bag of goodies. (Even the hand-created bags were little pieces of art!)

The Cincinnati Opera staff and leadership are on the cutting edge of offering performances in the community - not just in the lovely historic buildings downtown. And Dan Dermody at the Madisonville Arts Center offers his new space to all kinds of art producers.

Other traditional and older art organizations are often found in unexpected spots as well. The Chamber Orchestra recently started playing concerts in the new Anderson Center . Linton Music offers a Monday night series in Loveland and the popular children's Peanut Butter and Jam Sessions in locations across town from Kennedy Heights to Wyoming to Mason. And leaders in neighborhoods from Evanston to Sharonville have opened their own arts centers creating a place for resident interaction and access to more arts for a diverse audience.

This is the kind of community I want to live in - a region where there's lots of opportunity and inclusion in the arts, spaces for people to share these experiences and talk together about the art they create and share.