ArtsWave Amasses Unique, 18-Month Celebration on Centennial of Women’s Suffrage

ArtsWave, the convener, planner and promoter of Greater Cincinnati’s arts announced this week an unprecedented collaboration, the POWER OF HER, to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage and the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, granting women the right to vote.

Led by ArtsWave, and presented by P&G, the 18-month initiative salutes women and honors female leadership with woman-centric works of all kinds, underscoring creativity as the vehicle for inclusion and equality. Inspired by the many Cincinnati cultural and civic organizations which were founded by women and will be celebrating milestone anniversaries over the next year, POWER OF HER encompasses art forms of all types. It includes programming; artistic collaborations, premieres and commissions; public speakers; learning opportunities; umbrella marketing; grant opportunities; and the compilation and publication of a book that features 100 women who have shaped Cincinnati’s arts.

Kicking off this June and running through December 2020 throughout Greater Cincinnati, POWER OF HER is unique from any community across the nation in its alignment and amplification of the voice of women through the arts. Hundreds of arts events and organizations will be involved in the effort, with over 95 events announced at today’s kickoff. Dozens of additional arts organizations also attended the event to learn more, so that they too can link their programming to the theme of saluting and honoring female leadership and woman-centric works of all kinds.

Planning for the initiative began a year ago, through a steering committee of arts organizations led by Patty Beggs, CEO of Cincinnati Opera. The book project, tentatively titled 100 Women Shaping Cincinnati Arts, Legacy & Present, is under the volunteer direction of Kathy Merchant, former CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. Creation of the brand mark and marketing materials for the initiative have been graciously donated by LPK. In addition to P&G’s presenting sponsorship, the initiative is supported by the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee and other community leaders.

ArtsWave President & CEO Alecia Kintner noted, “ArtsWave is honored to organize and invest in such a significant and meaningful initiative. As we hear about each of the events and activities planned, there is so much we can share, learn from and find common understanding around.” Procter & Gamble Executive Director, Global Diversity and Inclusion, Deanna Bass added, “It’s our hope that the POWER OF HER will jumpstart greater conversations and dialogue on what an inclusive community looks like and how we ensure continued growth going forward.”

Some of the content announced included:  

ArtWorks joins THE POWER OF HER with an artist-designed Voter Registration initiative to motivate young people to vote. A traveling artist collective will pop-up at cultural and arts partner venues, schools, community festivals and other events throughout 2020, leading up to the national election. The project’s mission is to design and distribute artist-created materials that inspire voter registration, community conversations and increase voter knowledge and participation. This summer, a team of youth apprentices, led by Reverb Art + Design, will create artwork to educate and encourage young voters.

ArtsConnect presents ArtLocal Art Show in Springfield Township featuring works from an array of women artists.

Cincinnati Art Museum presents Women Breaking Boundaries (October 2019 – April 2020) is a special exhibition and the museum’s main contribution and focal point to the POWER OF HER. It explores the role of women in art and art history through art works from the museum’s permanent collection created by female artists from the seventeenth century to today. The cross-departmental selection of 38 artworks from Europe, North America and Asia are in a range of mediums, including oil on canvas, metalwork, ceramic, and prints to photography and fashion. Prominent artists include Georgia O’Keeffe, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker, Mary Cassatt, Julia Margaret Cameron, Elizabeth Catlett, and Chiyo Mitsuhisa. The exhibition will encourage visitors to think critically about gender, inclusion, and diversity and how that translates to the museum’s gallery walls. Visitors are encouraged to view Women Breaking Boundaries, explore rotating galleries, as well as the Cincinnati Art Museum permanent collection galleries that feature women. A free gallery guide highlighting female artists in the collection will be available at the entrance to the museum. Related programs will be held at the museum in conjunction with the run of the exhibition, including Family First Saturday, Gallery Experiences, gallery talks and more.

Cincinnati Arts Association will feature “A Night with Janis Joplin,” early in the 2019-2020 Season.

Cincinnati Ballet: As we mark the centennial of women’s suffrage and right to vote in 2020, Cincinnati Ballet celebrates the progress made while continuing to push female empowerment. The theme for The Kaplan New Works Series, using innovative dance, will focus on Women’s Suffrage and include four female powerhouses - Heather Britt, Andrea Schermoly, Sarah Van Patten and Cincinnati Ballet Principal Dancer Melissa Gelfin. Cincinnati Ballet Artistic Director Victoria Morgan is one of only three artistic directors of American ballet companies with budgets of more than $10 million. 

Cincinnati Museum Center Exhibition on Women's Suffrage to be housed in Union Terminal, February through September 2020. With the Girl Scouts of Southwest Ohio and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, CMC will also lead the Southwest Ohio Regional Coordinating Committee and liaise with Ohio History Connection to Develop an Online Guide to Women's History Resources at the Cincinnati History Library & Archives and work with schools to encourage student exploration of women's suffrage issues. Publish a special issue of Ohio Valley History focused on women's suffrage. Six-part lecture and town hall series using recognized scholars and trained facilitators to lead discussions about the intersection of women's suffrage with race, class and faith. Special Celebration of Women's History Month and International Women's Day with local female artists, musicians, performers, athletes, business owners, scientists and more; event includes educational activities, musical performances, lectures and workshops.

Cincinnati Opera 100th Anniversary Season includes “Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin” is a song cycle by four female composers about the first woman elected to Congress. Girls 2020, a collaboration with The Music Resource Center, WordPlay, and i.imagine, tells stories of empowerment sourced from local young women in the Greater Cincinnati region. With a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, the 2020 world premiere opera Castor and Patience centers on two members of an African American family who find themselves at odds over the fate of a historic parcel of land they have inherited in the American South. Cincinnati Opera is led by one of a handful of women leaders within the Opera field, Patty Beggs.  Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Includes six female-centric productions in 2019-2020 season, including Margaret Atwood’s “Alias Grace (1840s Canadian mystery inspired by the true story of accused murderess Grace Marks), “Becoming Dr. Ruth (one-woman show about sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer), “Actually,” a new play by Anna Ziegler, grappling with the complexities of gender, race and consent (with nightly post show discussions); “Destiny of Desire,” by Karen Zacarias, a homage to Latin American soap operas through the fates of two baby girls switched at birth, Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” and “Once on This Island,” Broadway hit musical about a peasant girl who rescues a wealthy boy while falling in love. 

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company 2019-2020 "Season of the Woman" rollout includes regional premiere of “Miss Holmes,” which adapts the classic mystery series and reimagines the iconic Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as two women solving crimes in Victorian England; an examination of the relationships of women in politics in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” with the title character re-gendered as a woman; “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” includes two women who win the day over infamous trickster Falstaff through their own uniquely feminine wits and wiles; and Shakespeare's bloodiest tragedy, “Titus Andronicus” which will depict both female power and violence against women. Female playwrights and authors will present a fresh adaption of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” by Kate Hamill and the modern classic by Tracy Letts, “August: Osage County,” telling the story of a family in turmoil centered on a powerhouse matriarch. Season will close with a regional premiere of the heartwarming story behind the friends who saved William Shakespeare’s plays from disappearance in “Book of Will” by Lauren Gunderson, the most produced female playwright in America. And, because the passage of the 19th Amendment, while worthy of celebration, did not in fact guarantee voting rights for all, “All The Way” by Robert Schenkkan, a modern classic, set in the tumultuous 1960s, telling the story of LBJ’s fight to enact the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s 125th Anniversary Season CSO celebrates its 125th Season (2019-2020) with programs recognizing three women conductors, 20 guest performers that are women, and compositions by more than seven women: CSO: Anne-Sophie Mutter Plays Beethoven (Sept 2019) conducted by Eun Sun Kim with a world premiere by Gabriella Smith. CSO: Petrouchka + Tchaikovsky (November 2019) with a CSO co-commission by Julia Wolfe. CSO: Renee Fleming and Rachmaninoff (January 2020) (both programs feature works by women, not to mention Fleming). CSO: Schubert’s “The Great” (January 2020) features Unsuk Chin’s Cello Concerto conducted by Simone Young.  CSO: Rachmaninov and Prokofiev (April 2020) conducted by Xian Zhang. CSO: Season Finale (May 2020) features a Julia Adolphe World Premiere commission. CSO Proof: Surrealist El Tropical (April 2020) curated by Rosie Herrera.  Cincinnati Pops: Hamilton’s Renee Elise Goldsberry (September 2019).  Cincinnati Pops: Ledisi: Let Love Rule (February 2020).

Contemporary Arts Center has a long history of celebrating women in the art world – founded by three women 80 years ago and now housed in the first major museum in the U.S. designed by a woman, Zaha Hadid. Exhibitions throughout the next year-and-a-half profile several contemporary issues faced by women today, including “Time Saved vs. Time Served” (July 2019) an exhibition and performance exposing mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on women. Cultural hybridity and intersectionality will be explored through  the exhibitions of Saya Woolfalk and  Botswana-born, Toronto-based artist Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, (July-October 2019).  Other artists like Lauren Henkin (Nov 2019-March 2020) and Joan Tanner (May-August 2020) will create site specific works that wrestle with the challenging gallery spaces created by Zaha, while Mexico City based artist Tania Candiani who uses Cincinnati’s industrial past to inspire a work exploring labor, utopianism and perceived progress.

Contemporary Dance Theatre Area Choreographer Festival, featuring works that including a strong representation of female choreographers.

Cultural Centre of India will feature traditional performances and engagement of dance from India, choreographed by female artistic director and featuring female dancers. Dada Rafiki A shared sense of sisterhood, inclusiveness and empowerment shown through East African Conversations, slated for 2020. Program will be a multisensory artistic experience of theater, dance storytelling, music and spoken word, honoring the legacy and impact of women, promoting a universal message of hope, health and healing for Greater Cincinnati. 

Ensemble Theatre 2019-2020 Season includes six plays written by women, and a full season of works that represent not only the very best in contemporary theatre, but also appeal to the breadth and depth of universal human experience. ETC’s 34th season kicks off with the five-time Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home, a powerful journey of self-discovery based on the best-selling memoir by Alison Bechdel. Then, lousy language is taken to school with explicit comedy Sex and Education by Lissa Levin. Hop into the holidays and discover the beauty in each of us with family-friendly musical The Frog Princess and then in the new year, gaze into the crystal ball with Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Fortune, a raucous rom-com with a sweet sixth sense. Written by one of the nation’s most sought-after contemporary playwrights, Dominique Morisseau’s Pipeline is an urgent, gritty drama about the American education system and its sinister cycle of privilege. Based on a true story, Photograph 51 is a snapshot of an unsung heroine and the pivotal yet often-overlooked role she played in the biggest breakthrough of the 20th century. Two-time Obie Award-winner Susan Miller’s heartfelt drama 20th Century Blues is a close-up on age-defying friendship and closes out the season.

It's Commonly Jazz celebrates its 34th year of It's Commonly Jazz opens with young female jazz artist, Adanya Lin, a recent SCPA graduate, incoming Oberlin Freshman with a recently recorded jazz album, and her ensemble.

Kentucky Symphony Orchestra plays through five decades by and for women artists in July 2019. 

Learning Through Art, Inc. Books Alive! reading program includes selections that reinforce the significance of the 19th Amendment and POWER OF HER subject matter with plans to be administered throughout Cincinnati Public Schools.

MamLuft&Co. Dance offers a showcase of new works and insider access to all-female choreographers' processes through quick dialogues.

MUSE, Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir MUSE will celebrate their 37th Annual Spring concert collaborating with other organizations like the Contemporary Art Museum, Grailville, and the Indianapolis Women’s Chorus throughout 2020 to bring awareness and celebrate this historic centennial and its relevance to the issues of equal rights today. 

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center plans OUR FOREMOTHERS for the Spring of 2020. This initiative celebrates women who have fought discrimination at various levels and forms. Women have always contributed to our society in impactful ways, but often their efforts are undervalued and unrevealed. This “History Show” illuminates lesser known trailblazing women who contributed to the greater good of our society.

School for Creative & Performing Arts’ “Matilda the Musical," will be performed in November 2019, featuring an extraordinary girl who, armed with a sharp mind and a vivid imagination dares to take a stand and change her destiny. SCPA will be providing all-female A Capella vocalists and all-female dancers for various other arts performances throughout the initiative.

The Taft Museum of Art’s historic house is celebrating its Bicentennial with an exhibition to celebrate the 200th-Anniversary, A Splendid Century, features work from 12 female artists and includes several works representing female subjects from the Greater Cincinnati area. Two powerful exhibitions prominently featuring women artists will open at the Taft Museum of Art: a contemporary art installation by Alice Pixley Young will open in the Sinton Gallery, and a major exhibition titled Modern Women/Modern Vision explores 20th-century female photographers will align with FotoFocus2020. There are several monthly programs inspired by females including a Lunch & Learn on the Ohio Lesbian Archives, an Artist Eye Tour led by illustrator Erin Barker, and enhancements to the historical interpretation of the Museum founded by Cincinnati philanthropists Anna Sinton Taft and her husband, Charles P. Taft.

 The Children’s Theater of Cincinnati is commissioning a song cycle for young people about the women's suffrage movement that will tour to schools in 2019-2020 and will also celebrate its 100th Anniversary. Female storylines throughout next year-and-a-half, including: “Suffragettes: With Liberty and Voting for All,” “Mrs. Claus Saves the Day,” “Coretta Scott King,” “Annie, Jr.,” “Harriet Tubman: Straight Up Outta' The Underground...,” “Roald Dahl's Matilda: The Musical,” “Dorothy in Oz” and “Cinderella Wore Cowboy Boots.”

Women Writing for (a) Change core writing classes and retreat to encourage self-expression primarily for women in a variety of forms, including poetry, memoirs, fiction, non-fiction and journaling. Young Professionals Choral Collective Will present "Chiaroscuro," a concert curated in partnership with the Cincinnati Art Museum and featuring 150+ singers raising their voices to celebrate and explore the light and shadows in which strong women live, work and create.

Game Day