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ArtsWave Awards Latest Round of Circle’s African American Arts Grants



ArtsWave concluded its annual Community Campaign at the end of August, raising $11 million for the Cincinnati region’s arts through the help of tens of thousands of donations.

In the midst of this effort, 10 volunteer committee members convened to help select winning applications for the second round of ArtsWave’s Circle Grants. Gifts from members of ArtsWave’s Circle of African American Leaders for the Arts help fund these grants, which aim to strengthen the capacity and sustainability of arts organizations led by or predominantly serving Black Cincinnatians.


The recently approved grants will fund 11 organizations, bringing the total number of organizations that have benefited from the program to 29. The projects represent a diverse range of disciplines and goals.


For example, Elementz aims to provide opportunities for young BIPOC artists with the Amplify Performance Series. Emerging musicians, dancers and poets will share their artistry with themes that explore unique cultural experiences. Elementz anticipates an opportunity to connect longtime Black and Brown OTR residents with those new to the neighborhood. All the while, they seek to grow the audience base and strengthen social-emotional skills necessary for young performers.


In 2020, Black Art Speaks left their mark on Cincinnati by overseeing the execution of the “Black Lives Matter!” mural at City Hall. Now, they’ll carry the momentum and message of that project forward with additional public art installations that expand on the themes of the original.


The Hear Us, Hear Them Ensemble seeks to add works by composers of all identities to the standard canon of choral performances. Their new grant will help fund “Action Over Stillness,” a one-night only concert in January of 2022 featuring works by diverse composers who have met challenges introducing their music into the choral repertoire because of their background.


The Circle Grants and the projects they fund work with other initiatives toward ArtsWave’s goal to increase audience demand and appreciation for Black arts. You can help further that goal by making a Leadership level gift at artswave.org/give and joining the Circle of African American Leaders for the Arts.


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