The Ripple Effect: Partners in Action - Volunteers Make Cincinnati a More Welcoming Place

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World Choir Games VolunteersThe 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, as well as a wide variety of sports, civic, and arts and cultural events, are in the planning stages and all of them will need volunteers to help welcome baseball fans from across the country. How can these large scale events harness the energy of local volunteers? 

In 2012, Cincinnati hosted the World Choir Games, an extraordinary arts and community event that welcomed thousands of singers and music-lovers from all over the world. Central to the World Choir Games’ success were the efforts of more than 5,000 local volunteers who assisted in everything from ushering performances to serving as translators for international choral groups.  It was a spectacular example of Cincinnati’s can-do spirit, and inspired the creation of The Welcomers Network.

The Welcomers Network was founded by Shannon Carter, 2012 World Choir Games USA co-chair and founder of Crayons to Computers, and Louise Hughes, board chair emeritus of the Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau and retired Director of Community Engagement at P&G.  Using a database and powerful integrated software to connect volunteers to multiple organizations, the Welcomers Network is dedicated to enhancing the region’s economy and image by helping to host and attract large conferences, conventions, and other events.  More than 4,000 experienced volunteers are currently registered and 14 active partner organizations offer opportunities through the Welcomers common technology program. As a member of the initial planning committee, ArtsWave helped connect The Network to a number of its constituent organizations which now utilize the system. 

“Finding local volunteers is a time-consuming task for event organizers. Welcomers makes their job easier, and our region more attractive as a venue, by providing turnkey support for large-scale, one-time, national and international arts, cultural and special events,” said Carter. “These events bring business to our region’s hotels, restaurants, stores, and cultural institutions.”  

ArtsWave’s research into the intersection of arts engagement and civic engagement suggests that volunteering in the arts is an important way for individuals to deepen their roots in the community, make new friends, and build civic pride.

For community members who love the arts and want to get more involved, the Welcomers Network makes it easy to connect to some of the region’s most beloved institutions. Partner organizations include the Aronoff Center for the Arts, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, WAVE Foundation at the Newport Aquarium, Cincy USA Visitor Center, Cincinnati Parks, Cincinnati’s World Piano Competition, the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra and local events such as LumenoCity and others sponsored by the Downtown Residents Council. 

“Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have a strong culture of volunteerism. One in four adults are volunteers. People take pride in using their skills and experience to give back to the communities where they live and work,” noted Hughes. “The Welcomers Network gives them a powerful way to channel that spirit and find new opportunities to make friends while having fun.” 

Volunteers can learn more about the Welcomers Network and identify opportunities at the Network’s web site:

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Welcomers at Aronoff

The Ripple Effect: Strategy in Action - Employee Campaign Coordinators (ECC)

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CPS ArtsWave T-ShirtsDid you know that 54% of contributions to ArtsWave’s Community Campaign are made through workplace giving campaigns?  Last year, 258 local companies ran workplace campaigns for ArtsWave.  For each of these companies, volunteers are needed to coordinate activities and events.  We call these volunteers Employee Campaign Coordinators (ECCs) and they are vital to our success.

“A great ECC can really make a difference in the success of a workplace campaign,” says Jodi Perry, ArtsWave's Senior Manager, Corporate Campaign.  “Their energy and enthusiasm for the arts and ArtsWave is infectious.” Volunteers also come up with clever themes, prizes, activities and events that make the campaign fun and in line with their individual corporate culture.  It’s a big commitment of time each year, but many volunteers say it is one of their favorite parts of their job.

Research suggests that adding team bonding experiences and a little fun to the workplace helps with employee engagement and retention. With its emphasis on discovering great things to do in the region and bringing people together through the arts, ArtsWave workplace campaigns provide employers with a great opportunity for employee engagement.

Lauren Peter, Account Representative for Horan Associates, explains why she volunteers as an ArtsWave ECC:  “I love living in a city that has such a robust arts community and I’m glad to give back through my company campaign.  And, working in an insurance environment, it’s wonderful to be able to have a creative outlet for a few months out of the year where we can celebrate the artistic talents of our staff and encourage them to experience the arts for the first time.”

ArtsWave provides its ECCs with even resources to make it easy.  Our new website, launching in two weeks, will include a Workplace Campaign toolkit with ideas, stories, images, and everything needed to run a successful campaign.  More companies will also be participating in CincySings, our regional employee choir sing-off event, which encourages friendly competition and provides a platform for workers to showcase their hidden talents.

If you work in a company that annually supports ArtsWave and would like to volunteer your time as an ECC for your internal campaign efforts, or if you would like to start a campaign at your company, please contact us. If you’re already an ECC within your company, share your stories of employee engagement with us by emailing Spencer Mapes at or by joining our ECC LinkedIn group.   

ArtsWave thanks all of its volunteer Employee Campaign Coordinators, past and present, who give their time and energy to our community campaign.  You are ArtsWave in Action!

Sign up for The Ripple Effect semi-monthly newsletter and stay up-to-date on the impact of the arts and ArtsWave on Greater Cincinnati.


The Ripple Effect: Making An Impact - Volunteers, Ushers, and Docents Provide a Warm Welcome

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Docent - CAMDo your New Year’s resolutions include getting out more, doing more for your community, and enjoying more art? You might want to consider becoming one of the hundreds of volunteers who serve as museum docents and theater ushers for local arts organizations. It’s a great way to support the arts and connect with other people in our region.

Cincinnati Art Museum’s docent program dates back to 1960 when it was founded by Junior League members. In 1960, the first class of 28 Cincinnati Art Museum docents was established by the Junior League of Cincinnati in cooperation with the Cincinnati Public Schools and Philip Rhys Adams, museum director. This course taught docents to interpret the Art Museum’s permanent collections as they related to the sixth grade social studies curriculum. The emphasis was on history, culture, and present day trends, rather than an analysis of technical and artistic processes. In 1961, following the success of a pilot program involving 24 elementary schools chosen by the Board of Education, the program grew to include all 6,000 sixth grade public school pupils.

Today, Cincinnati Art Museum has more than 160 active docents and they lead almost 95% of school and public tours. “We could not serve almost 25,000 students each year without our docents,” says Emily Holtrop, Director of Learning and Interpretation. Docents go through more than a year of rigorous training, learning about the museum’s collection, art history 101, and how to best engage different audiences in meaningful conversations about the arts.

Docents at Taft“Our docents train to connect with visitors of all ages and abilities, from little kids to teenagers to guests with special needs,” says Ms. Holtrop. “The Art Museum belongs to everyone in our community and so they have to know how to serve all members of our community. Our mission is to bring people and art together and they are the ones doing it.”

If you've ever attended local theater, then you’ve likely been handed a show program by a volunteer usher. Ushers welcome audience members, help with wayfinding, and distribute programs.  Some ushers also assist in delivering audience surveys that help theaters understand the demographics of their audiences and the impact of their work. Theaters appreciate the time and dedication of these volunteers who play an important role in creating a great audience experience. Ushers often are allowed to see the show for free as a thank you for their service.

At Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, many couples and groups of friends usher together as part of their regular social life. “We have some ushers who have become friends from volunteering here and plan their dates so they can work together,” says Lettie VanHemert, Managing Director, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. She notes that this network of dedicated theater fans often usher at multiple theaters, becoming a shared resource for the theater community. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park sees families using ushering as an opportunity to spend time together and even has a four-generation family of ushers!

Emilie Dressler TCTCincinnatiThe Children’s Theater of Cincinnati has a special team of volunteer ushers to assist with their weekday school performances at the Taft Theater. Led by Emilie Dressler, School Volunteer Coordinator, this group makes sure that 2,000 kids are in their seats and ready to watch every performance. In addition to individual volunteers, Dressler also coordinates groups from community organizations like Junior League of Cincinnati, and businesses like Turner Construction.

“I love to see the students faces as they get off the bus, see the tall buildings and enter the theater to see a live performance,” says Ms. Dressler. “Many of them have never seen a live theater performance so it is a joy to see how excited they become when coming to the Taft Theatre, and their reaction after the show…I want their experience to start off in an upbeat way.”

Interested in becoming a volunteer docent or usher? Call your favorite arts organization and ask to talk to their volunteer coordinator. Museums often have waiting lists for their docent programs, but may have opportunities in other roles, such as Visitor Services Aides. Share your stories with us online with #ArtsRipple.

Sign up for The Ripple Effect semi-monthly newsletter and stay up-to-date on the impact of the arts and ArtsWave on Greater Cincinnati.

Turner Construction UshersDocents at Taft 2

Greater Cincinnati Free Arts - January - March 2015

The only thing better than the amazing arts in our region is when those arts opportunities are FREE. Check out some of the ways to experience the arts at little to no cost this winter. Join the conversation about amazing arts experiences by using #CincyWinterArts. Share photos, video, or updates about your arts experiences!



Bring the kids for some free opera. See Hansel & Gretel from ROKCincy at Dunham Arts Center on January 10 at 2pm.

Art on Vine is a boutique art fair showcasing works by various artists, available for sale. Check it out at Rhinegeist on January 8 from Noon-7pm.

No plans on a Monday night? Visit Below Zero Lounge on January 12 at 7:30pm for Paula Vogel's play And Baby Makes Seven, presented by Queen City Queer Theatre Collective ($5 suggested donation). 

Free theatre for ages 11 and up: see the sensitive but unsentimental teen story Theory of Mind at Oxford Community Arts Center on January 30 at 7pm. This play is part of the Off the Hill series from Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Check the full schedule to find more free performances of this production.

Check out a brand new opera for free! The Cincinnati Opera's Opera Fusion: New Works will present excerpts from Meet John Doe on January 31 at 7:30pm at Memorial Hall. 

The Contemporary Arts Center is renovating the lobby space and are offering free admission through March 12.



Get some free arts at the Walnut HIlls High School Fine Arts Sampler. Check out the full schedule of free arts offerings for February 21

Enjoy comedy? See Laughter on the 23rd Floor by Neil Simon at Temple Sholom Cincinnati. The show runs February 27-March 1. Tickets are free, but reservations are recommended.

Cincy Shakes, Macy's Arts Sampler 2014



ArtsWave's Macy's Arts Sampler is back for one weekend only. Enjoy free arts across the region on Saturday, March 7 and an open house at Music Hall on Sunday, March 8

If you're a fan of the World Choir Games or the Sing-Off, check out ArtsWave's CincySings Semi-Finals at the Aronoff's Jarson-Kaplan Theatre on March 14 at 2pm, hosted by Local 12's Bob Herzog. Employee choirs from across the region will compete for a spot in the CincySings finals (April 8 at Music Hall, hosted by Drew Lachey).

Check the schedule from ROKCincy for more performances of Hansel & Gretel at libraries throughout Greater Cincinnati.

ArtReach from The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati will present a production of The Rockin' Adventures of Peter Rabbit on March 8 at 1pm at the Mayerson JCC and on March 20 at 7pm at the Oxford Community Arts Center.

TBA: Free Dance Concerts from MamLuft&Co. Dance this spring! 



Discover more amazing free things to do at, including visual arts, performing arts, music, literary events, and culture. 

Love museums? You can always visit the Taft Museum of Art for free on Sundays (thanks to Western & Southern Financial Group). Want something more modern? The Contemporary Arts Center has free admission (thanks to Macy's) on Monday nights from 5-9pm.  The Cincinnati Art Museum has free admission, as well as numerous free events (especially on weekends), like daily tours, Art 360, Art After Dark, Family First Saturdays, and more! 

Downtown has lots of great opportunities for free art. Check out the Weston Art Gallery, located next to the Aronoff Center; discover your new favorite ArtWorks murals, take a glance at the YWCA gallery, or see some free art at the public library

Looking for something a little more daring? Manifest Gallery shows some of the latest cutting-edge art, and is always free to visit! 

Christ Church Cathedral (in downtown Cincinnati) has Music Live at Lunch every Tuesday! Free if you bring your own lunch, or just $5 to buy lunch at the cathedral.

Wednesdays mean free live theatre at Know Theatre of Cincinnati. Read more about the radical and revolutionary "Welcome Experiment."

Want more info on free art? Follow ArtsWave on Facebook and Twitter to see more updates on free arts events. 

Do you have a free arts event to add to this list? Email our Manager, Digital Communications Rebecca Calkin to get your event added.

ArtsPass Roundup: January - March 2015

You gave $75 to ArtsWave and opted-in for ArtsPass benefits. You even created your account on the ArtsPass website and started perusing your benefits. Now what do you do?

There are tons of upcoming exciting music, theatre, art, and dance events in our region. Make family memories, plan a date night, or schedule a friends' night with ArtsPass! Here are the many ways you can use your ArtsPass in the beginning of 2015.  Login now to redeem these offers.

** Denotes appropriate for the whole family

= Denotes events specifically designed for children

~ Denotes may be appropriate for ages 12 and up




Tickets are on sale for Broadway in Cincinnati shows: Anything Goes and I Love Lucy

January 6-18, Broadway in Cincinnati - Cinderella =

January 9, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra - Louis Conducts Beethoven 2 **

January 9 & 10, MamLuft&Co. Dance - MamLuft&Co. Dance in Concert at the Aronoff **

January 14, Fitton Center for Creative Art - Celebrating Self: The Wildflower Cafe & Coffee House

January 17, 18, & 24, Madcap Puppets - Once Upon A Clock =

January 17-25, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park - Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash ~

January 22 - February 15, Covedale Center for Performing Arts / Cincinnati Landmark Productions - Greater Tuna ~

January 23 - February 15, Know Theatre of Cincinnati - The Handmaid's Tale

January 24, Fitton Center for Creative Art - EntertainmentPlus! The Franz Klaber Orchestra **

January 25, College-Conservatory of Music - CCM Jazz: Composers Concert **

January 28, Clifton Cultural Arts Center - Sunset Salons: Wine

January 28, Cincinnati World Piano Competition - Moye Chen Dinner Concert Series

January 29 - February 12, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati - The Other Place

January 30, Memorial Hall Signature Series - Blues & Brews

January 30, College-Conservatory of Music - On Display: Celebrating the Winner of CCM's Zemlinsky Prize for Composition **

January 31, College-Conservatory of Music - A Trip to Trinidada and Back: Steel Drum **

January 31-February 1, Vocal Arts Ensemble - A Sealed Angel **



Tickets on sale for Broadway in Cincinnati shows: I Love Lucy and Anything Goes (until February 12)

Until February 12, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati - The Other Place

Until February 15, Covedale Center for Performing Arts / Cincinnati Landmark Productions - Greater Tuna ~

Until February 15, Know Theatre of Cincinnati - The Handmaid's Tale

February 1, Vocal Arts Ensemble - A Sealed Angel **

February 1 & 2, Linton Music - Inspired by Friendship and Nature **

February 3, New Riff Distilling - Live From New Riff: 15 Minutes With...

February 7-14, Know Theatre of Cincinnati - Saturday the 14th

February 7-15, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Chapatti

February 7 - March 14, Linton Music Peanut Butter & Jam Session - High-Low. Fast-Slow. Listen Closely, Here We Go! =

February 8, College-Conservatory of Music - Music of the Bard: Choral Settings of Shakespeare II, Choral Showcase **

February 11, Fitton Center for Creative Art - Celebrating Self: Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli

February 12, College-Conservatory of Music - CCM Winds: Music of Strauss, Mackey, Sparke, and More **

February 13 & 14, The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati - School House Rock Live! Jr. =

February 13-15, Cincinnati Ballet - ALICE (in wonderland) **

February 13-15, Fitton Center for Creative Art - Mad Anthony Theatre: Any Given Monday

February 15, College-Conservatory of Music - CCM Jazz: Jazz + Genius + Soul = The Music of Ray Charles **

February 17-22, Broadway in Cincinnati - Anything Goes 

February 20, Fitton Center for Creative Art - Fitton Family Fridays: No Show Featuring Doug Berky **

February 20 - March 7, Sunset Players Inc. - A Nice Family Gathering **

February 27, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra - Paavo + Piano Power **


Tickets on sale for Broadway in Cincinnati show: I Love Lucy 

Until March 7, Sunset Players Inc. - A Nice Family Gathering **

Until March 14, Linton Music Peanut Butter & Jam Session - High-Low. Fast-Slow. Listen Closely, Here We Go! =

March 1 & 2, Linton Music - Legendary Leon Fleisher Returns **

March 7 & 8, ArtsWave's Macy's Arts Sampler - Free Arts Across the Region

March 7-15, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park - Peter & the Starcatcher **

March 7, Fitton Center for Creative Arts - Dan White Sextet **

March 8, College-Conservatory of Music - CCM Jazz: Modern Masters: The Music of Ellington & Strayhorn **

March 11, College-Conservatory of Music - CCM Winds: Tales of Mystery & Imagination **

March 11, Fitton Center for Creative Arts - Celebrating Self: Henry Cepluch 

March 12 - April 4, Covedale Center for Performing Arts / Cincinnati Landmark Productions - The Marvelous Wonderettes **

March 13, Fitton Center for Creative Arts - Fitton Family Fridays: The Frisch Marionettes present...The Jungle Book: The Story of Mowgli's Fire ** =

March 13, College-Conservatory of Music - CCM Chorus: Monumental: Berlioz & Stravinsky (Philharmonia, Chorale, & CCC)

March 14, ArtsWave's CincySings Semi-Finals, free and open to the public

March 15, Cincinnati Children's Choir - Celebrate Youth ** = 

March 16, Cincinnati World Piano Competition - Feng Bian

March 19 - April 2, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati - Detriot '67

March 20-21, Cincinnati Ballet - Mozart's Requiem **

March 21, Fitton Center for Creative Art - EntertainmentPlus! Jazz! Banu Gibson **

March 21-29, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park - Buzzer

March 21-29, Madcap Puppets - Under the Bonsai Tree =

March 22, Cincinnati Ballet - Ballet Toybox **

March 25, Clifton Cultural Arts Center - Sunset Salons: Improv

March 25, College-Conservatory of Music - Bearcat Piano Festival, Guest Artist Recital **

March 25, College-Conservatory of Music - Spring Showcase, Choruses **

March 27 - April 18, Know Theatre of Cincinnati - Hearts Like Fists

March 29, College-Conservatory of Music - CCM Winds: PRISM XVIII **

March TBA, Cincinnati Black Theatre Company - Tribute to Motown


Our museum, restaurant, and retail partners have year-round ongoing offers. Make sure to check those out! 




Broadway in Cincinnati Opening at Aronoff