Hamilton County Commissioners and ArtsWave announce COVID relief grants for Hard-hit Arts and Cultural Nonprofits

January 27, 2022 – Hamilton County has teamed up with ArtsWave, the engine for the region’s arts, to announce that it will award $2 million in nonprofit arts and cultural grants funded through the County’s allocation of American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars. The grants will be awarded to combat the negative economic of COVID-19 on the local arts community and to fuel the region’s economic restart. Links to the applications and funding guidelines are available on the County’s Covid relief site – https://513relief.org/ and https://www.artswave.org/apply.

The Hamilton County ARP Arts and Culture Relief Program will cover costs of necessary expenditures incurred by Hamilton County arts and culture organizations due to the COVID-19 public health emergency between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2022. All interested applicants must submit their materials through ArtsWave’s website (artswave.org/apply) by 5:00 pm on February 15, 2022. Review of applications will begin immediately, and grant recipients will be notified in March by ArtsWave.

ArtsWave will host a virtual information session on Wednesday, February 3, 2022, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. answering questions and outlining the eligibility and application process. To join the information session, visit artswave.org/apply and click on “Hamilton County ARP Arts and Culture Grants Information Session.”

“We know that a stronger arts and cultural environment means a stronger Hamilton County,” said Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas. “This industry has been decimated financially by the pandemic and we wanted to make sure that we take care of the people and organizations that make us so vibrant.”

“We are One Hamilton County and that means taking care of everyone-our neighbors, our small businesses and our arts and cultural organizations,” said Commission Vice President Alicia Reece.  “Our creative community has helped us get through the pandemic with their innovation, art and song; it is time we support their recovery.”

“At a time when many of these organizations had to scale back and use their creativity to connect us all, we want them to know, we are with you, we support you,” said Commissioner Denise Driehaus. “We need you to recover so that Hamilton County can continue to innovate, create and shine as a community.”

The arts in the Cincinnati region have an economic impact of $300 million annually and employ 10,000+ people. Losses of more than $140 million in revenue have occurred since the pandemic began. The arts were one of the first local industries to be affected by the virus and they’re projected to be the last to fully recover.

The COVID-19 relief grants will cover costs incurred due to business disruption, in a two-year period in which performing arts venues and museums lost significant box office and admissions revenue. The grants can also cover costs of mitigation expenses for re-opening and adaptations required for digital programming. Total grant amounts will be based on operating revenue from the prior fiscal year.

“Arts organizations typically derive between half and two-thirds of their annual operating budgets from earned income sources like ticket sales, sponsorships and contracts,” said Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave President & CEO. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for arts organizations that, like any other industry, have fixed costs and valuable employees. Relief from Hamilton County from the CARES Act funding and now the ARP, combined with City of Cincinnati relief efforts and three years of ArtsWave Campaigns funded by the community has allowed our arts to make it through this time, so that we can say, “Live Arts Are Back.” Thank you, Hamilton County, City of Cincinnati and ArtsWave donors for helping our region rebuild itself through the arts.”