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Artswave: Supporting 100+ art projects and organizations each year that make our region vibrant

ArtsWave is the engine of the arts in the Cincinnati region, supporting 100+ art projects and organizations each year that make our region vibrant.

As the pandemic nears its one-year mark, the arts play an essential role in the re-stART of our region. They also foster empathy, help bridge cultural divides, enliven neighborhoods and deepen the roots of those who call the region home. These are key elements of ArtsWave’s Blueprint for Collective Action for the Arts Sector, which guides our investments in the community.

Thanks to funding from the City of Cincinnati, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Duke Energy, Fifth Third Bank, and ArtsWave's Arts Vibrancy Recovery Fund, ArtsWave recently awarded grants to new projects by Black and Brown artists in the Cincinnati region. Of 49 applications, 22 were selected to receive funding for projects on the theme of Truth and Reconciliation. In addition, five master artists, whose work has been supported by ArtsWave over the last decade or longer, were awarded funding for their projects on the same theme.

Each of the projects has an aspect of public performance, display or showcase, with plans for an exhibition in partnership with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in summer later this year. Many artists are planning for both live and digital dissemination of their work, a reflection of both the potential for wider reach through technology and the ongoing health risks of the pandemic.

The projects span multiple disciplines and approach the theme from many different fronts. Annie Ruth, founder of the Dada Rafiki festival, will create 12 mural-size original paintings depicting the experience of Black women. The series, entitled “On Her Shoulders,” will be a starting point for cross-cultural dialogue and multi-generational storytelling. ​​​

Revolution Dance Theater's David Choate will create a multimedia piece inspired by the 1619 Project. Using dance, lighting design and video, the piece will explore inequity and disparities in economics, healthcare and the justice system.

Through spoken word, music and dance, Siri Imani will design an immersive experience of a night of public protests in Cincinnati. Confronted by police, protestors find themselves seeking refuge together and learning from one another.

Though each project is unique, as a group they will strive to advance ArtsWave’s Blueprint for Collective Action and in turn, they will make our region a more welcoming and vibrant community for all.

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