Almost 20 years have passed since ArtWorks first set out to make a positive impact in Cincinnati through the creation of public art. It began with a desire to create brighter futures for Cincinnati’s youth through arts-based job opportunities. Over two decades, ArtWorks has grown to become the largest employer of visual artists in the region today. Since 1996, ArtWorks has provided paying jobs for more than 2,700 youth (ages 14 to 21) and hundreds of professional artists - the economic impact of which represents more than $12MM in wages alone. ArtWorks creates art and community impact through three strategic programming areas: Public Art, including an extensive mural program; ArtRx, an initiative devoted to sharing the healing power of art; and Creative Enterprise, a division created to train and support creative entrepreneurs.
ArtWorks is rewowned for creating large-scale murals that transform blank city walls into vibrant works of art. ArtWorks has 90 murals in 43 different neighborhoods, but downtown Cincinnati boasts the largest concentration, featuring 26 murals in the 45202 zip code. This outdoor gallery is not just the brainchild of a single artist - every mural is created through extensive community engagement and painted by a legion of our City's talented youth, ages 14 to 21.
ArtWorks is proud to be a member of DCI. Our relationship with DCI connects ArtWorks to a broad network of businesses who are supportive and ready to collaborate. Many of ArtWorks’ most prominent downtown murals were created as a result of these connections. Many DCI member organizations lend ArtWorks walls to paint on, share their facilities with painting teams, or contribute donations support mural projects. DCI is integral to ArtWorks’ vision to make Cincinnati a unique, vibrant and prosperous place to live!
Each year, ArtWorks hires 200 youth Apprentices who come from all over the region to work together under the guidance of professional artists. But beyond the paint, studies show that paid work experience during the high school years leads to higher levels of career success later in life. ArtWorks provides crucial job opportunities that give our City's teens an edge on the future.
Starting in April visitors to downtown can experience great art on a grand scale just by hopping on one of ArtWorks’ new walking tours. Led by youth Apprentice tour guides paired with specially trained adult volunteers, these fun and lively mural tours blend art, history and Cincy’s unique culture with a good walk through downtown or Over-the-Rhine. Tourists will get inside the scoop on how each mural came to be as they experience first-hand what makes the Queen City so special.
But ArtWorks’ impact in downtown extends way beyond walls. Through the ArtWorks Creative Enterprise division, creative entrepreneurs have access to the knowledge and network they need launch and run a successful small business. CO.STARTERS, a nine-week business development program now has more than 240 graduates who have gone on to launch 34 businesses. Many are street-level businesses that fill vacant storefronts with unique businesses to add character, vibrancy and unique products and services to the urban center. Have you ever been to Off-the-Vine juice bar or Libby clothing boutique in Over-the-Rhine? Those are just two of the many CO.STARTER graduates with businesses downtown!
ArtWorks is truly an arts tour-de-force, but its continued success depends on the support of individuals and local businesses. To share their mission and vision for Cincinnati with potential supporters, ArtWorks is hosting their Annual Breakfast at the Duke Energy Convention Center on April 30 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. This inspiring storytelling event is free to attend. If you’d like to learn more about ArtWorks and how to support this transformative organization, please RSVP at ArtWorksCincinnati.org.
To attend one of the ArtWorks walking tours, register online at ArtWorksCincinnati.org. DCI members receive a 25% discount on ticket prices.