Art Parades- bringing communities together!

We celebrated art in our region with 14 different art parades this past weekend! ArtsWave staffer Mike Boberg recounts his experience at the Kennedy Heights parade. Check out our slideshow of all the different Art Parades below.

Shark at the Art ParadeOur second annual Community Arts Centers Day event, supported by the Haile/US Bank Foundation and programmed in part by ArtWorks, featured 14 communities hosting “Art Parades”.  As I drove up Kennedy Avenue towards the Kennedy Heights Arts Center on Saturday, August 27th, I had no idea what to expect.  Would the crowd just be parents of the kids who created a Gargantua Tarantula float, or would others come out, too?  Would the ice cream generously provided by United Dairy Farmers be enough to meet the demand, or would they have a lot of leftovers?  At least the weather was cooperating, I thought, as I parked in the old Kroger store lot and headed on foot to the Center.

When I arrived, I was surprised at the number of people who were already there creating sidewalk chalk masterpieces, playing with their dogs, or just setting up lawn chairs as they awaited the arrival of the parade, which began in Pleasant Ridge and marched east to the Center.  Then, I heard the unmistakable Samba beat that could only be Baba Charles leading “the band” as parade participants drew closer and closer, not yet cresting the hill to the west.  Suddenly, the musicians appeared, followed by dozens, then scores, then hundreds of participants. 

They just kept coming:  Kennedy Heights Arts Center summer camp kids pushing or riding in their man-powered “floats” created just weeks before; parents and children from the neighboring Montessori school; girl scouts and boy scouts from local troops; dancers from arts innovation movement; a woman with a giant parrot; they just kept coming.  And the crowds along Montgomery Road continued to grow as the parade drew ever closer.  There were people parking their cars and darting across the busy street to get the best vantage point for the approaching parade, while others arrived towing their kids in wagons from their homes nearby. 

As the parade participants arrived at the Center and turned into the driveway, the energy level was palpable!  Over 400 individuals came together for the parade, spilling across the center’s lawn. I was completely overwhelmed at the variety of people from different backgrounds who were there celebrating both art and their community. 

This was one of those “goosebump moments” when you can see first-hand how the arts really do bring people together to share in a common experience.  Whether strangers or long-time neighbors, people talked, laughed, enjoyed UDF ice cream, took pictures of all the kids in their “art” costumes and admired the incredible floats that had been created during summer camp.  In one word, it was phenomenal!

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Ellen Muse-Lindeman, Executive Director of  Kennedy Heights Arts Center, Michael Stout and all at ArtWorks, the Haile/US Bank Foundation and UDF for their generous support of Community Arts Centers Day: Art Parades!    In my eleven years at ArtsWave, events like Sampler weekend, Splash Dance on Fountain Square, and Paint the Street  have been times I have actually felt a part of something bigger, and  truly understood the power that the arts have to bring our community together to share in unique and fun experiences.  Now I can add the Kennedy Heights Art Parade to that list of powerful moments of sharing art and community.

Guest post by Mike Boberg, Director of Shared Services

Art Parades This Weekend!

Shark float for Art Parade

Community Arts Centers Day, an annual celebration of community arts centers throughout the greater Cincinnati region, brings people together with fun and free arts activities in their local neighborhoods. This year, ArtsWave, ArtWorks, and several community arts centers are partnering to create an exciting new summer tradition: Art Parades! On Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28, 2011, participating organizations will host eleven Art Parades featuring participants of all ages celebrating their communities with creative costumes, masks, banners, musical instruments, and more! Local residents will parade their original art works around their neighborhood and then enjoy a FREE ice cream socia generously sponsored by United Dairy Farmers. Community arts centers and arts events like this make our region a better place to live, work, play, and stay.

Click here for a complete schedule of Art Parades.

More information on each Center’s parade and activities can be found at  The Shark float pictured above will appear in the parade in Kennedy Heights on Saturday.

Community Arts Centers Day 2011 is collaboratively organized by ArtsWave, ArtWorks, and the centers with generous financial support from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation. Ice cream generously donated by United Dairy Farmers.

Back to School!

For many young people in our region, it's Back to School week: time for new teachers, new textbooks, freshly-sharpened pencils!  Everyone in the community benefits when schools succeed, turning out well-rounded individuals and educating the whole child.  Schools succeed by providing motivation, developing creativity, and ensuring students are ready to take their place as citizens and contributors to our civic life.  Fortunately, we know that integrating the arts into kids' education in and out of school makes it easier for schools to succeed.


This month marks the beginning of ArtsWave' third year of arts integration programming in six selected Cincinnati Public Schools.  Teaching artists from local arts organizations, such as Bi-Okoto Drum and Dance Theatre, partner with teachers to infuse art into the curriculum, bringing history, geography, science and literature to life through music, drawing, dance, and performance.  Check out our video of highlights from the first two years of the program.  Thanks to all the local artists who helped make this program a success.




Big congratualtions to our partners at Cincinnati Public Schools for being rated "Effective" for the second year in a row-- the highest ranked urban school district in Ohio.  We love how the arts are making our region a great place to grow up!

The Reward of Giving!

Local brand engagement agency Northlich shared their story of their company ArtsWave campaign and how it has directly affected our region. Check it out!



muralArts & culture is the brand essence of Cincinnati.  In a city with so many aspects of art – music, dance, theatre, museums, festivals, and more – there is a sense of pride in contributing to the arts community.

Northlich has a long history of involvement with ArtsWave, a non-profit leader and catalyst advancing the vitality and vibrancy of our communities by mobilizing the creative energy of our entire region.

As the employee campaign coordinator for the ArtsWave community campaign, I continue to be amazed by the generosity of staff contributing every year. It can be challenging in economic times and is hard to ask people for more, but Northlich asked employees to give what they could without a set financial goal. We had 100 percent participation in the ArtsWave community campaign this year and rewarded our employees with a bonus day off.

Northlich’s contribution wasn’t just blended into a general fund. We are fortunate enough to see our efforts in a mural that was recently painted over the doors of the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission in Covington (NKCAC).  Established in 1966, the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission helps low income individuals and families develop the knowledge, opportunities, and resources they need to achieve self-reliance.

Ironically, my mentee of four years works at the NKCAC and will now be able to enjoy a mural that represents the arts community and Northlich’s continuous support. In a world as small as the people you know – six degrees of separation – it is even more rewarding when an effort such as this turns out to directly touch someone you know well.

picture: ArtsWave Mural at NKCAC on Madison provided by Northlich

Dance, Dance, Dance Party Friday!

People all over town love serendipitous art -- that happy surprise at a time or in a place you don't expect to see it.

Our friends at Pones, Inc., and the Cincinnati Ballet collaborated with us in some unexpected places - a Vine Street storefront on Final Friday, on Metro and TANK buses during rush hour, and even at the airport! 


This fun video inspired us to try something new - making our own dance moves to celebrate getting ready for the weekend! And so... #DancePartyFriday was born. We need your help to make it work!

How you can participate:


* Make your own video! - it doesn't have to be fancy - just a quick clip of you, your office mates, your dog... getting down because it's Friday - a smartphone or camera will work - post it to our Facebook page!

* Share photos and/or song selections - what's your current dance party jam? Let us know - on Twitter, (@ArtsWave), using the #DancePartyFriday or #DPF hashtags, on Facebook, or drop us a line right here!


Let's get dancing... it's FRIDAY!!!!!