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ArtsWave is Keeping Black Artists in the Spotlight

Earlier month, Broadway star Norm Lewis visited the Cincinnati region for a two-night performance at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater. The event restarted ArtsWave’s quarterly performing arts series, Flow, an African American Arts Experience. Lewis shared a unique setlist with the region, including beloved holiday classics and Broadway showstoppers from his groundbreaking career. ArtsWave supporters, including the Circle of African American Leaders for the Arts, attended a pre-concert reception at the Contemporary Arts Center.

Flow is set to continue in 2022. Next up: See how one of the brightest stars in the jazz music scene shines. Grammy-nominated vocalist Jazzmeia Horn will perform at the Aronoff Center April 1-2. Her 2019 album, “Love and Liberation,” displays daring musicality, emotional power and a message of immediate relevancy. Horn breathes and bends jazz tradition, with tasteful touches of R&B and hip-hop that reveal a marked inventiveness. Seating is limited and tickets are available now at

Following Jazzmeia Horn, Flow partners with Cincinnati Opera to present a long-anticipated world premiere. Originally commissioned for Cincinnati Opera’s 100th anniversary in 2020, “Castor and Patience” finally arrives in July 2022. The storyline follows two cousins from an African American family who find themselves at odds over an inherited parcel of land in the American South, probing historical and continuing obstacles to Black land ownership in the United States. Composer Gregory Spears previously worked with Cincinnati Opera on its acclaimed 2016 commission “Fellow Travelers.” The libretto comes from Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. Experience “Castor and Patience” on July 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30 in Corbett Theater at the School for Creative and Performing Arts.

As Flow continues throughout 2022, a grant program to uplift and amplify Black and Brown voices in the Cincinnati region returns for its second year. ArtsWave will invest $284,000 in 22 projects by artists of color, which represent exploration of not only the African American experience, but also the experiences of those with Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Palestinian and Native American heritage.

This year’s projects represent a broad spectrum of genres, including film, visual art, dance, music and more. Each will involve collaboration with neighborhood or community partners and will culminate with an artist showcase in the summer of 2022. The grants are awarded based on how they advance ArtsWave’s Blueprint for Collective Action, including the goals of bridging cultural divides, putting Cincinnati on the map, promoting understanding and empathy, deepening the roots of residents, and improving neighborhoods.

As 2021 comes to an end, we at ArtsWave want to thank you, Black Achievers, for allowing us to share about the Art we fund in our region. You have been a wonderful audience. And if you feel compelled to donate, thank you in advance for helping us continue to fund Black Art:

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