CINCINNATI — Inside Clifton Cultural Arts Center, performers keep the beat, dancers celebrate, artists put pen and paint to paper, and wherever you look, people are creating beautiful art.
Of the roughly $290 million coming to Cincinnati from the federal American Rescue Plan, more than $12 million will go to the arts, which includes funds bound for the CCAC. Executive Director Leslie Mooney knows what their new $8.5 million dollar facility would do for the community, and they’ve been on the hunt for a new site for a couple years.
"It'll be a boon for the neighborhood community investment,” she said.
They're getting some help with the building in the form of $500,000 of the allocation of federal funds Cincinnati may send their way.
“People who are behind the scenes, on the stage performing, have all been basically out of work for a year now. This is huge for Cincinnati and for the arts community, specifically,” she said.
Like many aspects of life, the arts community was not immune from the effects of COVID-19.
“Last year, we had to do it all online,” Mooney said. “While we were still able to do performances and employ musicians, it wasn't quite the same to do a live performance without the live audience."
In the shadow of Cincinnati Music Hall Wednesday morning, Mayor John Cranley announced an $8 million art stimulus.
“Our city's renaissance in full bloom despite the pandemic, is centered around culture. Art is the center of a good life,” he said.
And at the center of that life, $1 million would go toward encouraging the arts to perform outside in safe, public spaces. Another million would go directly to BLINK 2022, what is likely the city's most public art display, plus $1 million for both ArtWorks youth employment and museums across the area.
"The money being used for that is going to be hugely impactful for the entire city,” Mooney said.
That impact brings a sweet tune to an industry ravaged by the pandemic, and it’s expected to bring the performing arts a little bit closer to live audiences.