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ArtsWave to produce new book to honor women who helped shape Greater Cincinnati’s arts and culture

ArtsWave, the region’s lead fundraiser and engine for the arts, announced at a leadership donor event Monday, that it is producing a unique book, “Imagineers, Impresarios, Inventors: Cincinnati’s Arts and the POWER OF HER,” celebrating women who have shaped Greater Cincinnati’s arts.


The project is being led by Kathy Merchant, former President/CEO of Greater Cincinnati Foundation and ArtsWave Women’s Leadership Roundtable member.

The book is part of ArtsWave’s 18-month POWER OF HER initiative, presented by P&G with support from the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee, LPK and various community leaders.

POWER OF HER salutes and honors female leadership with woman-centric works of all kinds, underscoring creativity as the vehicle for inclusion and equality. Inspired by the many Cincinnati cultural and civic organizations which were founded by women and will be celebrating milestone anniversaries over the next year, POWER OF HER encompasses art forms of all types.

Earlier this year, ArtsWave issued a region-wide call to nominate women, both legacy and living, who have played a major role in shaping Greater Cincinnati’s cultural landscape. The goal was to identify and profile 100 women.

The community’s response was overwhelming, with several hundred women nominated for inclusion.

The nominations were reviewed by leaders within the arts community and vetted by a volunteer committee using a review process with multiple rounds and criteria, including historical research supplied by our arts organizations. The final product is diverse and inclusive, but by no means exhaustive. In fact, it became clear early on that part of the criteria would have to be a long-time commitment to Greater Cincinnati’s arts, which means some of the top arts leaders of today and tomorrow may not appear, allowing for coverage and recognition possibilities in future years.

Among those featured in “Imagineers, Impresarios, Inventors: Cincinnati’s Arts and the POWER OF HER,” are women who help shape the arts in Northern Kentucky (click to enlarge).

The book will sell for $50 a copy and is slated for publication in summer 2020 by Orange Frazer Press, an Ohio-based, woman-owned publishing house. For information on preorders, go to ArtsWave.org/200Women.

“Imagineers, Impresarios, Inventors: Cincinnati’s Arts and the POWER OF HER,” will feature 122 essays arranged in 100 organizational and individual profiles that will also include the names of the leading women who founded our arts organizations in the 1800s and 1900s – 200 women in all. The essays were written by 34 local writers, many of whom are women.

“Cincinnati has benefited from the leadership and innovation of scores of women over the past 100-plus years,” said Merchant. “We are looking to honor them and tell their stories.” “ArtsWave is honored to help organize this tribute to so many women who have made such meaningful impacts on our region’s arts landscape,” says Alecia Kintner, President & CEO of ArtsWave.

The book will be unveiled at a release party in 2020 and made available for purchase at various bookseller outlets, at CVG, and through online sellers including Amazon. Revenue from the sale of the book will be used to fund arts and culture projects in Greater Cincinnati run by and/or benefiting women.

Philanthropic support to cover production costs for the book are being underwritten by four local women leaders: Karen Bowman, Melanie Chavez, Sara M. and Michelle Vance Waddell.

Additional support for the book comes from The Landen Family Foundation, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation. 

ArtsWave, a nonprofit serving the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Region, is the lead planner, promoter and fundraiser of the arts.


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