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ArtsWave awards first set of grants for regional African American arts from new pool of funds

ArtsWave, the engine for the arts in the Cincinnati region, announced the first set of recipients of a new African American arts grants program, totaling $255,000. These grants, plus $287,000 already invested since September to organizations that are led by or predominantly serving African Americans, together represent $542,000 in support of African American arts initiatives in this fiscal year.

The ArtsWave Board of Directors approved this set of 18 grants and projects in the new African American Arts grants pool, which is designed to strengthen the capacity for arts presenting, producing, programming and instruction at organizations led by or predominantly serving Black citizens. Offering these new, dedicated grants is one way that ArtsWave is working to increase the sustainability of organizations that focus on the preservation and advancement of Black arts and culture.

“It was inspiring to see the variety in the grant proposals and the levels of commitment, creativity and impact that are being shown by African American artists in our community,” said panel Chair and ArtsWave Board Member Dr. Monica Posey, president of Cincinnati State University.

Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave President & CEO, notes “ArtsWave looks forward to working with the leaders and visionaries behind these projects and to making future investments in Black arts and culture in the Cincinnati region.”

The grants were made possible by gifts from ArtsWave’s Circle of African American Leaders for the Arts in the 2020 ArtsWave Community Campaign, plus significant support from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. “Greater Cincinnati Foundation is committed to ensuring a diversity of voices to create vibrancy in the arts for our community,” said Ellen Katz, President and CEO of GCF. “Partnering with ArtsWave on this program is one way we can do that.”

Additional dollars for this program were allocated from ArtsWave’s Arts Vibrancy Recovery Fund which was launched in May to support the post-COVID restart of the arts sector, a $300+ million industry employing nearly 10,000 and forecasted to be one of the last locally to recover.

The African American Arts program was launched in January with a celebration and a two-part plan: more regular opportunities to experience leading Black artists from around the country on Cincinnati’s premier stages through the new ArtsWave series Flow; and dedicated resources to build capacity and scale the impact of Cincinnati’s Black-led arts organizations through this new African American Arts Grants Program.

Besides announcing first-time grant recipients to this program, ArtsWave received news this week that its Flow: an African American Arts Series is being awarded one of two National Endowment of the Arts grants recently allocated to the region, with $40,000 being invested in the program. Though Flow is currently paused due to COVID-related restrictions on public gatherings and cultural facilities, ArtsWave continues to make plans for future guest artist appearances.

To help fund cultural diversity efforts like these through ArtsWave’s Arts Vibrancy Recovery Fund, go to artswave.org/recovery.


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