Cincinnati, once known as the Paris of the West, has had a thriving arts scene for more than a century. But the arts are more than heritage and history in Greater Cincinnati.
They’re a vibrant and vital part of the region’s economic and community development.
Here’s how the arts make Cincinnati an amazing place to live, work and visit.
The arts enliven communities
Neighborhoods across Greater Cincinnati, from Covington, Ky., to Walnut Hills, are using the arts and artists as catalysts for community development. Called creative placemaking, these efforts are being spearheaded by LISC of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and ArtsWave, which received a $35,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to create a toolkit any community could use to harness the power of the arts to bring neighborhoods together. From murals to festivals, arts education programs to innovatively designed infrastructure, the arts create a sense of community pride.
The arts put Cincinnati on the map
Those of us who live here know Cincinnati is fantastic. The arts help make that evident to people who have never been to the Queen City.
When the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra performed at Lincoln Center this winter, it received glowing reviews in the New York Times and other national media. Cincinnati’s murals and Lumenocity, the citywide concert in Washington Park, also have earned national attention. These articles paint a picture of a region where exciting, interesting things are happening, a place where people want to be and stay — especially when combined with news about Greater Cincinnati’s thriving start-up community, downtown redevelopment efforts and growing food scene.
The arts help put Cincinnati on the map, and that means when businesses such as Procter & Gamble or Kroger recruit talented professionals to the region, it’s an easy sell.
The arts deepen roots in the region
Once people arrive in Cincinnati, the arts help keep them here. Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber President & CEO Jill P. Meyer has said the arts are one of the most significant tools the region has when it comes to retaining young professionals.
One example is the Young Professionals Chorale Collective, known as YPCC, which, as the name implies, offers young professionals a chance to sing together. The group has grown to more than 650 members thanks to a winning combination of the arts and social activity that helps its members grow friendships.
To encourage more social, recurring arts programs aimed at young professionals, ArtsWave announced the creation of a young professionals grant program this fall.
The arts bridge cultural divides
Sharing music, telling stories, showing pieces of our history — the arts have the power to promote cross-cultural understanding and to celebrate the diversity of our community. ArtsWave, which supports the work of more than 100 arts organizations making an impact in Greater Cincinnati, surveyed the region and found that 55 percent of Cincinnatians seek out activities that will expose them to a broad range of world cultures.
To help people find all the arts events available in Greater Cincinnati, ArtsWave created CincyArtsGuide.com, a searchable, comprehensive online calendar.
The arts fuel creativity and learning
When people study visual, performing or musical arts, they aren’t just learning to paint or perform or make music. They also are learning collaboration, self-discipline, creativity, flexibility, empathy and a host of other vital skills. Studies also have shown that integrating the arts into other subject areas, including math and science, helps students learn better and faster.
A Corporate Board survey found that 72 percent of business leaders rank creativity among the top five skills needed in an employee.
ArtsWave, a leader of the Cincinnati arts sector, and the Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative know the key to building a 21st century workforce is providing children with both arts and science and technology. The two have joined together to create a resource guide, expected to come online this spring, to connect parents and educators to all the arts and STEM educational resources available in Greater Cincinnati.
The arts improve health
Art and music therapy have been a proven part of medical treatment for decades. But the arts can affect overall community health as well. One example happening in Cincinnati is Memories at the Museum, a free program available at the Taft Museum of Art, the Contemporary Arts Center and the Cincinnati Art Museum, in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati. The program allows visitors with memory loss to experience and make art, which in turn helps them express themselves to their caregivers.
The arts spark innovation
Innovation requires creativity and often self-discipline and collaboration — all skills that come from the arts. No wonder that many of the designers, coders, marketers and other creative professionals vital to Greater Cincinnati’s major corporations and growing start-up businesses have connections to the arts. LISNR Co-Founder Chris Ostoich wants to grow and tighten those connections, bringing tech innovation into the region’s art sector, with a new event happening April 8-10 called Tidal: Arts + Tech Challenge.
Presented by ArtsWave and sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, Tidal will harness the creativity of Cincinnati’s most talented tech professionals to solve problems from the arts sector. Arts performances and activities will round out collaboration.
The arts attract tourism
People will travel to see arts exhibits and performances. What’s more, research conducted by the Regional Tourism Network has found that cultural tourists spend more money while they’re in Cincinnati — eating out, staying in hotels and seeing the sights.
When they leave, they also are more likely to spread the word about what a great place Cincinnati is. The arts have the potential to be a big economic boost to the Queen City.
The arts unite Cincinnati
Cincinnati is home to the nation’s oldest and largest public arts fund, ArtsWave. What that means is that every year, tens of thousands of individuals and our region’s largest employers — P&G, Kroger, Macy’s and more — come together during the annual ArtsWave Community Campaign to support the arts that make Cincinnati an amazing place to live. Last year, with the help of 43,000 individual donors, ArtsWave raised $12.25 million.
This year, ArtsWave aims to raise $12.45 million and you can help reach that goal. A donation to ArtsWave supports the work of more than 100 arts organizations, from the largest institutions to community-based arts centers, all of which are making a big impact in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Metro region.