The Arts Create Extraordinary Shared Experiences

This month, Americans for the Arts is hosting a blog salon with arts professionals across the country weighing in on "changes in the nonprofits model and some of the reasons the field is constantly looking for a better way to conduct business." Margy Waller's most recent entry is below. To read all of the thoughts from arts leaders and supporters across the country, check out the ARTSblog.


We love the stuff that brings people together to experience special and fun things that can only happen here.

On Tuesday, May 3, legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed with the Cincinnati Symphony for almost 3,500 people, filling every seat in our beautiful, historic Music Hall.

The performance was so highly-anticipated that it was sold-out for months in advance, leaving hundreds of fans without tickets. So, our community leaders came together to fashion a creative response to this dilemma — making sure that people all around could share the music.

The Symphony approached Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, aka 3CDC, about offering a free simulcast of the show on our public square. Many of our local corporate and civic leaders founded and serve on the board of 3CDC, a nonprofit company committed to strengthening our core assets in downtown, and they know the benefit of creating opportunities to bring people together in our great public spaces.

Working with our public radio and television stations, they made arrangements to show the concert on the LED video board at Fountain Square, a shared space for public events of all kinds that 3CDC manages and programs.  It’s the same place where area residents also gather to watch our local sports teams – the Reds and Bengals. For Yo-Yo Ma, over 400 people came together on the Square — despite a night of cold, damp weather — to experience what our local paper declared “a night to remember.”

There aren’t many places in the world to have an experience like this one. And that’s why so many leaders came together to make it happen. Extraordinary opportunities bring attention to our community and make it the kind of place people want to move to, live and invest in; it’s the kind of thing that brings people from all over together and makes this a place where we all want to stay.