CINCINNATI — Local artists are among some of the business owners and workers hit hardest by the pandemic, but Cincinnati's ArtsWave has stepped in to help.
The organization will begin offering $1,000 grants to 100 individual artists who live in the Greater Cincinnati area.
"We can’t afford as a community and a region for these artists to have to leave Greater Cincinnati to find work opportunities or to change their profession to re-engineer their lives so they can just meet their daily bills," said Alecia Kitner, ArtsWave CEO and president.
The group made the announcement Tuesday at the Art Depot in Lebanon, Ohio, which offers classes and rentable studios for artists.
For Marianne O'Neil, owner of Soul Sidekick Studio in Lebanon, the pandemic hit at the worst time; the studio opened in February of 2020 but had to close down the following month during the pandemic-induced shutdown.
She and her friend Kathy Klein handcraft jewelry and other artwork to sell at their studio in Lebanon and a shop in Findlay Market.
Since then, shaking a devastating feeling of defeat and keeping up creativity has been a struggle, she said.
"It’s really hit us bad. Its been disappointing and just a little depressing, so keeping that spirit, that creativity spirit, up and wanting to still offer our ideas, it's been challenging," said O'Neil.
Now the funding from ArtsWave offers a bit of hope through the funding grants, which can be applied for online.
Grant awards will be based on clear demonstration of lost work and financial hardship due to the coronavirus, ArtsWave announced in a press release.
To be eligible, artists must earn 25% or more of their income through their art and must not have received funding in the prior round of ArtsWave grants.