in partnership withLocal 12 News
Members of ArtsWave Pride, the newest ArtsWave Connects group, gathered for Cincinnati Opera’s Pride Night Celebration in Music Hall’s Corbett Tower. / Image: Amy Smethurst

Cincinnati's First Telethon for the Arts Is Tonight!

Cincinnati has a diverse arts community, from world-renowned professional organizations like the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Ballet, to groups that teach arts to children across the region (and everything in between). These organizations aren’t funded by local tax dollars but instead by the annual ArtsWave Community Campaign, the nation’s largest collective funding for the arts.

ArtsWave has deep roots in our community. It was founded in 1927 as the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts by visionaries Anna Sinton Taft and Charles Phelps Taft when they offered a $1 million endowment for the arts if the community could match it by raising $2.5 million. The annual campaign began in 1949 as the Fine Arts Fund and today the nonprofit is known as ArtsWave. You can visit the Taft’s amazing home and art collection today at the Taft Museum of Art on Fourth Street.

Now, ArtsWave supports more than 100 groups across the Greater Cincinnati area: everything from professional arts organizations to groups like City Gospel Mission’s Princesses Ballet that provides free ballet instruction to low-income families, and the Catalytic Fund, which recently created public art through decorating picnic tables to enliven the neighborhoods of Northern Kentucky.

What about ticket sales? Kathy DeBrosse, VP of Marketing and Engagement for ArtsWave explains: “Ticket sales aren’t able to cover half of what arts organizations need to operate. That’s where ArtsWave comes in.” Yet ArtsWave supports so much more than ticketed performances. In the last year, ArtsWave has provided funding that has enabled 235,000 educational experiences impacting children throughout +500 schools throughout 15 counties, including 100% of CPS schools; 500,000 experiences for young professionals, and over 1,000 performances in neighborhoods, outside of traditional performance venues.

How can you help support the arts? According to Lisa Wolter, VP of the Community Campaign, “there are so many ways!” ArtsWave has made it easy for you to get involved at whatever level is comfortable for you. Here are two options:

  • Visit Toast to the Arts restaurants now through March 31, where 25% of proceeds of featured specialty cocktails, wine and beer, including Fretboard’s collaboration beer with ArtsWave, We Are The Arts Lager, will be donated to ArtsWave. Several breweries offer kickback nights, where $1 will be donated per drink.

  • Donate!

If option #2 is the way you want to go, here are several ways to donate:

  • Through your workplace campaign (check with your HR department to see if they participate)
  • Directly on ArtsWave’ website
  • Through the ArtsWave Telethon, presented by Cincinnati Bell, March 12 from 8-10 PM on Local 12 WKRC-TV

If you make a donation by calling 513-777-ARTS during the ArtsWave Telethon, through workplace giving, or by directly donating on the ArtsWave website, you’ll not only help support the arts, but you’ll get to participate in the arts, too.

  • If you’re a new donor at +$75 or you increase your prior donation by 10%, you’ll get Team Cincinnati— two free Cincinnati Reds tickets and two tickets to a unique behind-the-scenes experience with FC Cincinnati at their new practice facility.
  • At the +$75 level, you’ll receive an ArtsWave Pass, which is good for discounts to +100 arts organizations, restaurants, shops and sporting events throughout the year.
  • At higher levels, you’ll receive special benefits at this fall’s largest arts event, BLINK, including an interactive experience and a VIP Donor Lounge.

Want to experience everything ArtsWave has to offer? There are several events coming up soon:

  • ArtsWave CincySings
    March 17th and April 9th

    ArtsWave CincySings, brought to you by Accenture, is the region’s hottest sing-off, done Cincinnati-style and modeled after shows like American Idol, The Sing-off, and The Voice. 10 teams from of some of the region’s largest employers will compete for the prize to sing the National Anthem at ArtsWave’s Art in the Park this summer. The event will be held April 9 at 7 p.m. at Music Hall. To find out more, go to ArtsWave’s website.

  • ArtsWave Days
    March 30, April 6, and April 13

    ArtsWave has created Saturday showcases of the arts, ArtsWave Days, brought to you by Macy’s, free to the public during their community campaign so that the region can experience the arts firsthand.

    March 30: Hands-On Arts, with over 100 arts classes and shows at 10 different locations, including manga drawing, refit, face painting, sculpting, drumming, beading, hip-hop and an array of performances.

    April 6: Music Hall Open House from 12-4 PM with the first public guided tours ever offered at an Open House by the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall, as well as lots of rehearsals, storytelling, activities and performances throughout the day. It’s your chance to explore behind the stage and hidden depths of this Cincinnati historical wonder.

    April 6: Taft Museum of Art Open House from 4-8 PM with some of the hottest dance groups and musicians in the garden and front lawn, along with guided tours and food trucks.

    April 13: A pair of grand finale concerts wrap up ArtsWave Days. Soul of the Arts features electrifying jazz, R&B, gospel, modern dance and more at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts. The 4 PM concert features Revolution Dance Theatre, Cincinnati Super Choir, and Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. The 6 PM concert features MUSE, Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.

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For information and to sign up for these events, head to To experience Cincinnati arts without leaving the comfort of your home, tune in to Local 12 on March 12 for the ArtsWave Telethon, presented by Cincinnati Bell.