Cincinnati’s vibrant arts community has relied on ArtsWave for financial support for nearly a century. Its annual workplace giving campaign generates operating income for 150-plus arts organizations across the region in good times and bad; its extraordinary funding during the pandemic helped keep doors open and artists working.
Chaired by Scott Robertson and Carl Satterwhite of RCF Group, the 2023 campaign wrapped up in June and beat its goal by raising $11,830,354 in contributions from more than 20,000 donors and 400 companies and foundations, further bolstering the arts economy here. ArtsWave President and CEO Alecia Kintner (pictured) says the overall economic impact of the region’s arts is more than $400 million per year, providing advantages such as attracting and retaining a skilled workforce.
Kintner says economic impacts can include up to a 20 percent increase in property value when an arts venue moves to a neighborhood, as well as the BLINK event supporting 10,000 jobs. Having powerful arts and culture assets brings talent to the region and in turn impacts the strength of Cincinnati businesses. “The arts have long helped distinguish Cincinnati from other places, particularly in the Midwest,” says Kintner. “The reputational value we accrue by having world-class arts organizations and world-class arts facilities is almost immeasurable. The more we tell the story of the arts, the more future-forward power we get as a region—innovation in other industries thrives by the inspiration of creatives, including artists.”
As a part of the overall ArtsWave campaign, its More Arts, More Kids program has raised around $700,000 toward a $1 million goal. The money will fund 50,000 field trips for schools, including Cincinnati Public Schools, to museums, live performances, and other arts organizations. Kintner says students who interact with the arts improve their education and overall life experience. “The arts have a direct impact on education,” she says. “Kids involved in the arts are less likely to drop out of high school, less likely to have instances of juvenile crime, and more likely to retain information and score higher on standardized tests.” The field trips will launch in the fall.
ArtsWave was among seven arts organizations in the region to receive grants in May from the National Endowment for the Arts. Kintner says Cincinnati outpaces many other regions, including other regions in Ohio, for the attraction of federal dollars for arts projects. “Cincinnati’s arts organizations compete really well on a national level for federal dollars through the NEA,” she says. “This is another indicator of the quality and reputation that Cincinnati arts organizations and the professionals who run them are garnering for the region.”
The NEA also awarded funds to Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Boychoir, Educational Theatre Association, Know Theatre of Cincinnati, Mutual Dance Theatre, and Wave Pool. A total of 32 arts organizations in Ohio received $2.2 million in grants. Kentucky received $1.2 million and Indiana $1.35 million.