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Herriman-Funded Grants Announced for Local Arts Organizations

The arts fund named in honor of a Covington riverfront development pioneer and local philanthropist awarded its third annual grants.

The David C. Herriman Fund of Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) awarded grants totaling $226,000 to three regional arts organizations: Cincinnati Opera, Q-Kidz and ish Festival.

This is the third year for the Herriman grants, which will be awarded annually to arts organizations in the eight-county GCF funding region — Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties in Ohio; Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties in Kentucky; and Dearborn County in Indiana.

Herriman, who died in 2017, developed the Riverside Plaza and Terrace communities in Covington and was a devoted arts supporter.

His namesake awards particularly focus on new works, the education of youth and performance enhancement through funding to bring in performance artists, directors, choreographers, authors, musicians and other creative artists. 

“Supporting the arts is so incredibly important for our region as we continue to see the effects of the pandemic in our neighborhoods,” said Ellen M. Katz, GCF president/CEO. “David’s vision for this fund is highlighted by these three organizations as they pave the way for a more equitable and inclusive arts community.”

The Cincinnati Opera received funding for the world premier of Castor and Patience, which is a part of the 2021 summer season. With music by Gregory Spears and a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith, Castor and Patience focuses on two members of an African American family who find themselves at odds over the fate of a historic parcel of family land in the American South. The performers will take the stage July 9, 13, 15, 17 and 18, 2021.

“David loved Greg Spears’s music, and I fondly recall telling him that we were going to commission Greg to write a second opera for Cincinnati,” said Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director at Cincinnati Opera. “He said to me memorably at the time: ‘Count me in’. While David did not live to see the genesis of Castor and Patience, how fitting it is that the Foundation has now awarded Cincinnati Opera this major gift that will allow David’s wish to come true. We are profoundly grateful.”

The Q-Kidz Dance Team received a grant for at-risk girls in Cincinnati's West End. The project will be to write, produce and publicly perform a New Work titled “Love Revolution: Stop the Violence” in the summer of 2021. The Q-Kidz will respond to the events of 2020, both national and personal experiences through dance, songs and dialogue with the goal of creating empathy and positive action.

ish (organizers of ish Festival) received funding for the premiere of the new Jewish musical, “Rising in Love,” in 2021. The production is a modern day coming-of-age story about an engaged interracial Millennial Jewish couple who confronts their anxieties surrounding their upcoming marriage and turn to friends and family who help them learn what it takes to rise in love. The audience of diverse cultural backgrounds and viewpoints will be engaged and encouraged to explore differences, while finding new meaning and understanding through shared experiences.

The anonymous committee that considered the Herriman funding requests includes a member of the arts community, a faculty member of a local university or college and a person representing a county of GCF’s funding region, a position which will rotate each year between the eight counties.

The David C. Herriman Fund Committee will award up to three grants — one large, and one or two smaller — in 2021. GCF will publish a Request for Proposals for the next funding cycle in the spring, with proposals due in the fall.

-Staff report

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