The Cincinnati City Council did not renew the 22 year-old Cincinnati Arts Grant Program funding individual artists and art organizations. The proposed monies for saving the program were a very modest $142,000.00.
http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/council/pages/-3654-/ item #200900421.
As written by Tom Callinan of the Enquirer, “it is estimated that the neighborhood [Over-the-Rhine] is only two buildings away from losing more than 50 percent of its historic building stock.”
There is a common denominator: US.
How much of Cincinnati must be lost before we hit bottom? One hears much ‘hood’ bashing: Price Hill blames gentrification of OTR for an influx of crime, Northside will not visit downtown, OTR states the ‘burbs are full of sheeple’ and many believe Indian Hill is the first plowed on snow days. These are actual comments heard in various places from various people and the year or season does not seem to matter…and I am a pot calling all the kettles black because I have done it myself.
…and we are still losing Cincinnati.
Brick by brick and vote by vote; every professional that migrates to Chicago, every musician that marches off to Austin, every new family that moves to West Chester equates a loss for our city. In combination, this is scary. Agenda 360 http://www.cincinnati360.com/ and Vision 2015 http://www.vision2015.org/ have addressed the loss and come up with some recommendations for stemming the tide. Cincinnatians for Progress did a great job of educating the public on the real teeth of Issue 9. http://www.cincinnatiansforprogress.com/Home.asp
Since Richard Florida’s first book in 2003, The Rise of the Creative Class, these are just some of the initiatives taken up by numerous nonprofits, civic organizations and political groups around the city. All of this is good and applauded.
…but we are still losing Cincinnati!
It appears we lack a TRUE grass-root, citywide effort. One not motivated by pet projects, politics, place, socioeconomic background, race, or ego where ordinary folks who are willing to donate their time and talent come together to form and work on a common, focused agenda.
Cincy Voices is a start to this grass-root effort in reaching across boundaries that have so long divided and are conquering our city.
OTR is the canary. If OTR is not saved, then what hope is there for the rest of the neighborhoods? We know what needs done thanks to the OTR Foundation (and the recommendations will help other neighborhoods); we must find a how.
This is a personal call to arms for me. Ordinary citizenry may not have money, but we have numbers. Let us find common ground and figure out how to use our numbers.