Local Spotlight: ArtsWave 

If you live in or near Cincinnati, chances are good that you’ve been to an event or exhibit that’s made possible by ArtsWave. With gifts from tens of thousands of individuals and several hundred companies, ArtsWave funds art that fuels the community, making it a better place to live, work and raise a family. Southwest Ohio Parent talked to Kathy DeBrosse, vice president of marketing and engagement for ArtsWave, to learn more about this nonprofit. 

How did ArtsWave get started? 

ArtsWave has a deep history of almost 100 years. In 1927, Mr. and Mrs. Charles P. and Anna Sinton Taft offered to create a $1 million endowment to support the arts if the community would match that with $2.5 million. This endowment became the financial basis for ArtsWave today. By 1949, the Fine Arts Fund was established as an annual community-wide campaign. The organization broadened its impact and changed its name to ArtsWave in 2008. ArtsWave now supports 150 projects and organizations each year. 

The annual ArtsWave Campaign (February through May) is the largest community-based campaign for the arts in the nation. In Cincinnati, this is how we fund the arts. It’s not through local levies or local taxes, but instead, by all of us coming together to give what we can in support of our arts and our region.  

What types of programs do you fund? 

ArtsWave believes the arts connect us and make our region vibrant. We provide ongoing and project support through grants based on decisions made by community volunteers. ArtsWave has worked with the arts community to create a Blueprint for Collective Action that strives to accomplish five things: fuel creativity and learning, bridge cultural divides, enliven neighborhoods, put Cincinnati on the map and deepen roots.  

What impact has ArtsWave made in the community? 

ArtsWave has provided hundreds of thousands of educational experiences and outreach for children across the Tri-State area. It’s provided thousands of outdoor, free and accessible arts events in every one of our 52 neighborhoods. ArtsWave has worked to make inclusion a hallmark of Cincinnati’s arts including a steady increase in direct funding for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) arts and artists.   

What do you have planned for the future? 

Live arts are back! The arts have worked hard to manage social distancing, invest in air purification and assure that those together are masked and have been vaccinated. There are thousands of performances and events that await you over the next year. 

How can families find out more about your upcoming programs? 

ArtsWave has the largest arts calendar in the community. Families can plan their arts experience by using the ArtsWave Guide at guide.artswave.org. 

How can people help ArtsWave? 

Come enjoy the arts! We are fortunate to have more arts per capita than we could ever imagine. Check what’s happening and enjoy. 

Also, don’t forget to support the arts. Ticket sales cover half of the revenue needed for a producing arts organization; you and I help to cover that remainder. If you’d like to donate, go to artswave.org/give. 

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