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“Truth & Reconciliation”: Project Grants for Black and Brown Artists
funded by City of Cincinnati, ArtsWave and Duke Energy 

ArtsWave, City of Cincinnati and Duke Energy announce $200,000 to be awarded through a new joint grantmaking program for Black and Brown artists. Artists are invited to propose projects on the theme of “truth and reconciliation” that help lead the community toward a more just and equitable future.

Funding from the City of Cincinnati will help support the visions of eight or more city-based artists, chosen through a competitive application process. Duke Energy’s funds will expand the program around the larger Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region. ArtsWave will match both investments with additional grant dollars and commissions. We anticipate this will result in a total of 20-25 projects that explore the program’s strategic focus on truth and reconciliation. All artists will be asked to involve community partners and to exhibit or present their work to the public in summer 2021 in partnership with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Robert O'Neal Multicultural Arts Center (ROMAC).

The projects funded through this grants program follow significant artistic expressions seen this year in response to systemic inequities and injustices exposed in 2020's health and racial injustice crises. These foundational initiaitives, with involvement by ArtsWave, include the creation of the “Black Lives Matter!” mural by Black Arts Speaks and the Urban League; the Outdoor Museum project of the Cincinnati Museum Festival; and the Black & Brown Faces exhibition by Paloozanoire in partnership with the Cincinnati Art Museum and others. 

The "Truth and Reconciliation - Black & Brown Artist Grants" program will provide  financial support so that Black and Brown artists in Cincinnati, and the region, can continue to explore the themes of our times. Projects should use the arts to document this profound moment and/or help move the city and region forward to a more better future. 

Projects should leverage the power of the arts in one or more ways as outlined in ArtsWave’s Blueprint for Collective Action: to heal; to deepen roots; to bridge divides; or to promote learning and understanding. Projects should also involve some aspect of collaboration with neighborhood or community groups or partners. In this way, members of the Cincinnati region will participate in reconciling the moment and imagining a more just and equitable present and future through the arts.

Eligibility – Applicants for a “Truth & Reconciliation” competitive project grant are: 

  • An individual artist (either working as a sole proprietor or under an organized LLC as the sole member of the LLC), or teaching artist, working in any artistic discipline* and
  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

We welcome proposals that bridge divides and deepen understanding across racial and cultural groups.

*For the purpose of this program, artistic disciplines include Dance, Music, Opera/Musical Theatre, Theatre, Visual Arts, Design Arts, Crafts, Photography, Media Arts, Literature, Folk/Traditional Arts, Performing Arts, Spoken Word or Interdisciplinary Arts

You must also meet the following requirements:

  • 18 years of age or older;
  • Full-time resident of the City of Cincinnati (for City funded grants) or in one of the 15 counties served by ArtsWave (for Duke Energy/ArtsWave-funded grants) at least since January 1, 2020 and at the time of the grant award;
  • Have reported taxable income related to your work as an individual artist or teaching artist in your most recently filed tax return; and/or have a verifiable body of work through digital work samples or website.   

Proposal and Documentation Requirements:

  1. Application narrative including project description and how your proposed project relates to the theme of Truth and Reconciliation
  2. Identification of community collaborators or neighborhood partners and their roles
  3. Project Budget and Project Timeline (projects must be completed by June 1, 2021)
  4. Any plans for project presentation, installation or display for the general public beyond the planned joint Grantee exhibition at the Freedom Center 
  5. Artist Statement and artistic work samples (digital format)
  6. Proof of residency (deed, lease, utility bill or other documentation)
  7. Completed W9 and Vendor Survey
  8. Optional: Completed Cincinnati Artist Census

Funding Amounts:

We anticipate that between 8 and 16 grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to artists residing in the city of Cincinnati. We anticipate that between 4 and 8 grants will be awarded to artists in the Cincinnati region but outside of the city of Cincinnati. 

Eligible Expenses:

Expenses must be directly associated with the funded activity and include:

  • Artist Fee (self-compensation)
  • Fees paid to other artists or collaborative partners for services
  • Materials/Supplies
  • On-line tools/services
  • Marketing 
  • Community engagement activities
  • Other expenses directly associated with the funded activity

Ineligible Expenses:

  • Refinance or repayment of existing debt
  • Expenses related to gambling or gaming activities
  • Expenses related to the purveyance of “adult” materials (i.e., pornographic, lewd, prurient, obscene, etc.)
  • Activities, services, products or materials involving nude or semi-nude performances or the sale of sexual aids or devices
  • Real estate investment business expenses
  • Religious-affiliated organization expenses
  • Any expenses that give rise to or support any other activity constituting a nuisance
  • Any expenses supporting any illegal activity

Criteria for Evaluating Proposals:

  • Alignment with the program theme: Truth & Reconciliation
  • Potential of the project to document and explore the realities and emotions revealed by 2020’s health and social/racial justice crises and/or help move the city forward to a more equitable future. Projects should leverage the power of the arts in one or more ways as outlined in ArtsWave’s Blueprint for Collective Action: to heal; to deepen roots; to bridge divides; or to promote learning and understanding.
  • Meaningful involvement of and collaboration with community members or neighborhood partners, so that residents are involved in reconciliation and imagining a more just and equitable Cincinnati 
  • Track record of artistic work 
  • Project budget and timeline are reasonable and sufficient to execute the project

Important Information for Grant Recipients

  • Grant awards are competitive and contingent on available funds and the range of proposals received. 
  • This funding opportunity does not require a match.
  • Groups/ensembles/partnerships must identify a lead applicant. If awarded, the lead applicant will be responsible for entering into an agreement and receiving the funds to disperse to the other members.
  • Applicants must complete a W9 with data reflecting the appropriate individual/entity for tax purposes. Please consult with your accountant or a tax advisor to determine if the grant is taxable income in your specific situation.  
  • If an artist has established their artistic practice as an LLC or other business entity and the artist is the sole owner/proprietor of the business then the artist may choose to enter their business entity into an agreement with ArtsWave.
  • Grant awards will be paid in two parts: 75% of award payable upon execution of contract between ArtsWave and Artist and 25% of award payable upon receipt of a final report within 30 days of the project’s completion and no later than 9/30/21.
  • Grantees are required to acknowledge, with name and logos, grant support provided by ArtsWave and the City of Cincinnati and any other funding partners in connection with the project. This may include, but is not limited to, acknowledgment on promotional or press materials (print and digital/online), at the physical installation site, and/or at public engagement events. This also includes submitting event information to ArtsWave Guide (online arts calendar).
  • This grant does not constitute a purchase agreement for any artwork produced. The artist retains ownership of work produced with the support of ArtsWave.

Application Instructions

All application materials must be submitted via Submittable, ArtsWave’s online grantmaking system. We strongly recommend that you begin your online application well before the due date to familiarize yourself with the online grantmaking system and to address any technical concerns. While completing your application, remember these tips:  

  • Be brief, clear and direct, focusing on what is most important. 
  • Review panelists may have little or no prior knowledge of your organization. Create a stronger application by: 1) not assuming reviewers have extensive knowledge of all artistic disciplines; 2) explaining acronyms; and 3) explaining the characteristics of your community or audience as needed.
  • We recommend that you prepare your responses offline in a word processing program and then copy and paste them into the appropriate sections of the online application.
  • Limit the use of bullets and other formatting in text fields.
  • Add Impact@ArtsWave.org to your safe senders list to ensure that you receive all communications from the online grantmaking system.
  • Use one of the following compatible browsers: Chrome® v.22+, Firefox® version v.27+, Internet Explorer® v.8-10 (if enabled), Internet Explorer v.11, Safari® v.7+, or Edge®.

 All application materials must be submitted through the online grantmaking system by 5:00 pm EST on the deadline date. Late applications will not be accepted.  

Application Deadlines & Key Dates:

  • Dec 1, 2020 – Application deadline 
  • Prior to Dec 31, 2020 - Expected award announcements
  • June 1, 2021 - Projects must be completed
  • June/July - Exhibition/Performances at Freedom Center or other appropriate venue/forum depending on the work

Contact ArtsWave
Additional application questions may be directed to Krista Bondi, Grant Programs Manager, at krista.bondi@artswave.org

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.