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Arts + Culture : For Good

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Greenhouse Rock! fundraiser supports musicians with developmental disabilities

Melodic Connections hosts its annual Greenhouse Rock! event Oct. 10 at Krohn Conservatory to support its music therapy services for children and adults with developmental disabilities. The fundraiser will feature food, raffle baskets, a silent auction and performances by local bands SwampthangJody Stapleton and Chris Comer Trio.

The fundraiser will also feature performances from Melodic Connections’ own student musicians.

“This is a night where we celebrate them and highlight their abilities as musicians,” says Communications Manager Lynn Migliara. “It’s a place where they finally get to play for all their friends and family.”

Students chose their own songs to perform and have been rehearsing every day. 

The fundraiser is a great time for the students as well as for their parents.

“Most of these parents have spent a lifetime advocating for their child with a developmental disability and always wonder what adulthood is going to be like,” Migliara says. “They are so grateful that they get to see them up on stage with confidence. A lot of them never thought this would happen for their kids.”

Greenhouse Rock! will take place at 6:30-10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 at Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Dr. 

Do Good:

Purchase tickets to attend Greenhouse Rock! at Krohn Conservatory in Eden Park. Tickets are $75 each.

• Melodic Connections is still looking for event sponsors.

• To learn more about Melodic Connections, visit its website.

Mt. Healthy studio teaches dance, life skills

When Kelli Harmon-Dobson formed the Highsteppers Studio 16 years ago, she had no idea how much of an effect it would have on young girls in the community. The structured program uses dance and drill to form positive self-esteem, interpersonal skills and help girls ages 3-18 uncover their leadership abilities.

There’s no doubt the dance teams are talented — they’re state, regional and national champions in the high kick, pom and hip hop categories. Still, Harmon-Dobson doesn’t want dance competitions to be strictly about winning.  

“Competition or not, we don’t tell them to be better than another team,” she says. “We tell them to do an amazing job and be better than the team they were the day before.”
The structured program is a little underhanded, as most of the girls don’t realize what the program is really about until they graduate.

“We want them to have a different outlook on themselves and what they’re doing,” Harmon-Dobson says. "We try to have our girls become leaders and express themselves better. We want them to better respect themselves, each other and the community.”
The Mt. Healthy studio goes far beyond just dance, drill and building leadership skills. After spending hours together after school each week, the girls form a close bond, much like sisters do.  

“We’re more than just a dance team,” Harmon-Dobson says. “We’re family. The studio is our home.”

And the girls treat is as such. They keep a tight schedule between practicing, studio chores ad doing their schoolwork. The program requires a minimum required grade point average of 2.0.
Many of the girls participate in the bridge program, the Highsteppers Sisterhood, once they graduate high school and make the transition to college or the workforce. They come back to the studio as mentors.

The Highsteppers’ next performance is Oct. 10 at Tri-County Mall, where they’ve been performing since 2007. Their performance will incorporate breast cancer awareness, something that touches many lives of the girls and their families.
“They could be doing plenty of other things, but they're doing this,” Harmon-Dodson says. “They're choosing to be positive.”

Do Good:

• Attend the Highsteppers performance on Saturday, Oct. 10 at Tri-County Mall, 11700 Princeton Pike. Performances will take place at 2 and 5 p.m. and last approximately one hour each.

• Like Highsteppers on Facebook.

• For more information, email Director Kelli Harmon-Dobson.

COV200 seeks input for what to put inside Covington bicentennial's time capsule

Covington residents, business owners and friends recently voted to determine the winning Covington Bourbon Barrel design for a time capsule they’re creating in commemoration of Covington’s bicentennial. Now COV200 — the volunteers behind the year-long celebration of all things Covington, who aim to showcase the city’s rich 200-year history, culture and potential — is working with the community to determine the time capsule’s contents.
“We have received quite a few ideas from the community, including 2015 mint coins, menus from all Covington restaurants, the Covingtonopoly game, photos of families, letters from kids to future kids, list of top music in 2015, the COV200 book and much more,” says Kate Esarey, COV200 Project Manager and Community Development Specialist at The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington.
The time capsule itself, designed by local maker Steven Sander, will be created from the reclaimed floor of a home on Scott Street. Once filled, it will be preserved in a glass case and put on display in the new Hellman Creative Center next summer, where it will remain until 2115.
“I think a time capsule is a great way for our community to reflect on Covington’s 200th year and explore what makes our community special,” Esarey says. “I hope folks in 2115 will really enjoy understanding how we perceived Covington in 2015 and what made it unique 100 years prior.”

Do Good: 

• Contribute your ideas for the content within the time capsule by contacting Kate Esarey.

• Connect with COV200 on Facebook to keep up with upcoming events. 

Support The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington.

CityLink's MashUp fundraiser to feature unique blend of art forms

CityLink is hosting its annual MashUp fundraising event Oct. 2 to highlight the challenges of poverty in Cincinnati. But this MashUp of various art forms isn’t your typical walk through an art gallery — there will be live music, art and dance performances, including a grunge ballerina, Irish dance, rap and vocal artists.

“This is one of the most fun and unique fundraising events that Cincinnati has to offer,” says CityLink Director of Development and Communications Marissa Abernathy. “We’re bringing together similar art forms and combining them into a new beautiful combination.”

At its core, CityLink supports Cincinnatians who are below the poverty line and working to achieve economic self-sufficiency. The center focuses on goals around education, employment, financial literacy and health and wellness.

Since its doors opened in October 2012, CityLink has been able to provide social services to those in need all under one roof. 

“These performances help us to share our story,” Abernathy says. “They create a narrative around what it’s like to live in Cincinnati when you’re struggling with issues like not having a job or not having a handle on your finances or struggling with barriers that keep you from reaching your full potential.”

The event will also feature an interactive project where guests can create a lasting piece of art for the center. Last year, attendees used paint ball art with slingshots to create a mural.

In addition to various art performances, attendees can sample food and drinks from local eateries and breweries.

MashUp will take place Friday, Oct. 2 from 6-9 p.m. at the CityLink Center, 800 Bank St., West End/Brighton.

Do Good:

• Register to attend MashUp; tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door. 

• “Like” CityLink on Facebook.

• Support CityLink with your time by volunteering

Pets in Need provides low-cost care for pet owners living in poverty

Whether clients visit Pets in Need of Greater Cincinnati, Inc. for affordable vaccinations and quality care or to grab food from the pantry for a furry friend, they are consistently grateful for the services they receive.
Take Antonio, for example. He and his mother worked together to create colorful bandanas for dogs, then donated them to Pets In Need (PIN) so the organization could sell the product in their storefront shop in Lockland, which offers discounted items like collars and leashes to its clients.
“They have limited means but wanted to give back,” says Julie Berthoud-Jury, director of development at PIN. “It’s just really heartwarming.”
Clients like Antonio and his mother are afforded access to PIN, which makes a world of difference in their lives as pet owners.
High-quality veterinary care is expensive, so for a pet owner living in poverty it’s empowering to be proactive and take one’s animal to a licensed veterinarian and pay a $10 copay for needed vaccines, flea/heartworm prevention and treatments as well as other minor skin, ear and eye issues.
Just days ago, the nonprofit served its 4,000th client, but there is a need to serve more.
“A lot of our clients have adopted these pets or rescued them,” Berthoud-Jury says.
One client found a cat during the winter months after discovering it had fallen out of a neighbor’s van, where it was hiding to try to stay warm. After the engine started, the cat was burned and presumed dead.
“But he had taken it to the vet and it was actually still alive, so they were able to nurse it back to health,” Berthoud-Jury says. “He’s been bringing it here ever since. He just loves that cat dearly.”

Do Good: 

• Support Pets in Need of Greater Cincinnati by attending its annual fundraising art show and sale, Petcasso. Purchase your ticket for the preview party Saturday, Oct. 17. Proceeds will enable PIN to work toward its goal of expanding clinic hours to its growing base of clients. 

• Like PIN on Facebook and share the Petcasso invite with your friends.

• Tell someone about PIN, because many pet owners who qualify for care don’t know PIN exists. The nonprofit provides vouchers for low-cost spay/neuter and provides care that could otherwise be disregarded for an inability to pay. 

Rain Pryor's "That Daughter's Crazy" to open 2015 Cincinnati Film Festival

The Cincinnati Film Festival begins Sept. 10 with That Daughter’s Crazy as its opener. The documentary, directed by Elzbieta Szoka, explores the life of actress and comedienne Rain Pryor, daughter of Richard Pryor, through footage, photos, press clipping and various interviews.

“This year we have another amazing line up of over 100 films from all over the world, and many from our own backyard,” says Kat Steele, director of the Cincinnati Film Festival. “We’re honored to be able to bring Rain and Daryl (Sledge, the film’s producer) here to Cincinnati for this special opening night premiere event.”

A stand-up comedy show featuring a few Queen City natives will precede the film screening. Ally Bruener, Kelly Collette, Teri Foltz, Kristen Lundberg and Ky Platt will take the stage with Pryor headlining the show.

Bruener, who hails from Alexandria, Ky., was born with muscular dystrophy and uses dark humor in her cynical bit, “I Laughed at the Crippled Girl.”

"I'm amazed by the amount of diversity, with regard to both personal backgrounds and comedic stylings, that this lineup has to offer,” Bruener says.

That Daughter's Crazy will be screened at The Carnegie in Covington at 9 p.m. Sept. 10, preceded by the comedy show at 7:30. Tickets to both the comedy show and film are $20. The VIP meet-and-greet package, which includes cocktails prior to the show and film, is $40.

The Cincinnati Film Festival recently received a micro-grant from Fuel Cincinnati to support the 2015 schedule running Sept. 10-20 at various venues.

Do Good:

Purchase your tickets to the comedy show and film screening online.

• For more information about That Daughter’s Crazy, visit the film's website.

• Check out the full schedule of film screenings on Cincinnati Film Festival’s Facebook page.  

Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic returns with another star-studded collection of chefs

Washington Park becomes one big kitchen for the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic throughout the weekend of Sept. 11-13, the event's second year of hosting the best food and beverage flavors in the Midwest. Locals can enjoy culinary demonstrations, chef competitions and wine, beer and spirit tastings right on the park's event lawn across from Music Hall.

Not only will you be able to sample incredible food and drink, but CF+WC is partnering with Findlay Market and Freestore FoodBank to provide more than 14,000 meals to locals in need.

Cincinnati was recently called out as the next big food city in the U.S. by Keith Pandolfi, a Cincinnati native and freelance writer for Saveur magazine. Pandolfi — who served as a judge last year for CF+WC's Pork Chopped competition — shined a light on the restaurant scene in Cincinnati and the Midwest with good reason.

“This is the kind of thing we want to stand for,” says Courtney Tsitouris, CF+WC co-founder. “Never again and never before have you seen this particular collection of talent together. We've pulled people from the Midwest and all over the country.”

Do Good:

Register for tickets to the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic Sept. 11-13 at Washington Park. Ticket packages are available for each day as well as for the full weekend.

• Lend a hand and volunteer your time for the weekend.

• Check out the full list of this year’s participating culinary talent.

Party like a rock star at Music Resource Center fundraiser

The Music Resource Center (MRC) in Walnut Hills is hosting its annual Party Like a Rockstar fundraiser Aug. 29 to raise funds to support the after-school program, which hosts kids learning to play guitar, singing opera, rapping and playing jazz under one roof.

The benefit will feature a performance from MRC students, a silent auction and an open bar featuring craft beer, draft beer, liquor and wine, says Executive Director Karen D'Agostino.

The MRC provides recording and performing equipment to local teens between the grades of 7 and 12 for $2 a month. Kids can take private lessons, train in rehearsal rooms and record music in the multi-track recording studio.

MRC recently launched a low-frequency radio station, 95.7-FM, that features original content recorded at the studio, ranging from music to talk shows and public service announcements.

But the organization is more than just about recording music and performing arts. Mentors use life skills to create a sense of empowerment for the kids who spend their afternoons at the MRC.

“Some of them have very low confidence and struggle at school,” D’Agostino says. “But that kid who can’t concentrate comes in and sits in a studio for three hours straight. He’s found a passion he hasn’t had the opportunity to explore elsewhere.”

Do Good:

• Register to attend the Party Like a Rockstar benefit event on Saturday, Aug. 29 at The Redmoor in Mt. Lookout. Tickets are $65 for one person and $120 for two.

• The Music Resource Center depends on volunteer teachers, so please donate your time for a good cause.

• For more information about MRC’s radio station, 95.7, visit their website. 

Local glassworkers join forces to celebrate National Bead Challenge Day

Beads of Courage has worked for the past 10 years to provide a unique and innovative approach to help children who are dealing with serious illnesses find ways to cope.
To back the organization in its mission of providing arts-in-medicine programming, Tristate artists will gather at Brazee Street Studios Sept. 19 for National Bead Challenge Day. The event — hosted at 20 art studios across the country — is intended to encourage artists to produce one-of-a-kind designs that children who are coping with cancer and blood disorders, cardiac conditions, burn injuries and chronic illness, in addition to families with children in neonatal intensive care, can add to their collections.
“We’re proud to host this event each year and to know that the beads created make a difference to children undergoing difficult medical treatments and bring a smile to their faces,” says Chelsea Borgman, Brazee’s gallery coordinator.
The Beads of Courage program begins when a child receives a string in addition to alphabet beads to spell out his or her first name and continues as health care providers give him or her colorful new beads to mark treatment milestones.
Beads crafted at National Bead Challenge Day serve as particularly special additions to children’s beaded creations, as they’re reminders of their courage and perseverance throughout the coping process.
“These beads mean the world to children who receive them,” Borgman says. “It’s a way for these kids to show their strength and say to the world and themselves, ‘I did it!’”

Do Good: 

• Support Beads of Courage by donating.

• Attend National Bead Challenge Day at Brazee Street Studios in Oakley 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 19. There will be activities for children in addition to opportunities to write letters to children in the Beads of Courage program. 

• Connect with Beads of Courage on Facebook.

Arts Center ready to "Raise the Heights" with grand opening of new space

Currently the Kennedy Heights Arts Center serves about 5,000 people a year, but according to Ellen Muse-Lindeman, the nonprofit’s executive director, that number is expected to double with the grand opening of its Lindner Annex.
The new space, which allows the Center to quadruple in size, is already home to local artists — including the Ohio Valley Woodturners Guild — who are using studio space to develop their craft. It will soon play host to a variety of performing arts, public and private events and classes ranging in subject matter — everything from photography to graphic design in its new state-of-the-art Scripps Howard Media Center.
“We find that digital art forms are really popular,” Muse-Lindeman says, “Kids and young adults have lots of interests, so we want to help harness that activity and provide ways for young people to learn how to develop their own content and develop their own voices through that content.”
The Center, as it’s done for years, will continue its inclusion policy, so classes will be accessible to all.
“We don’t turn anyone away for inability to pay,” Muse-Lindeman says. “We have a sliding scale for tuition, so people pay what they’re able to afford. We have a real core concentration of participants from the area.”
And the hope is for that core to continue to expand, bringing more children, teens and adults — novices and already-established artists — into a space that fosters creativity and collaboration, while enhancing the region as a whole.
“There are so many benefits to bringing more artists to urban communities,” Muse-Lindeman says. “It brings more vitality and excitement, and when artists invest their time and their talents in this neighborhood, it attracts more types of activity and leads to positive revitalization.” 

Do Good: 

• Help celebrate the grand opening of the new space by attending Raise the Heights, an art parade and festival 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 29. The official ribbon cutting is planned for 10 a.m. Aug. 28. 

•  The Lindner Annex, in addition to the Kennedy Heights Montessori Center, make up what will now be known as the  Kennedy Heights Cultural Campus, but they're looking for a third partner to move in and complete the campus. The partner can be either a nonprofit or for-profit venture but should align with the education/arts theme. Contact Ellen Muse-Lindeman if you’re interested. 

• Connect with the Kennedy Heights Arts Center on Facebook, and stay tuned for information on events, space rental and fall programming, which begins enrollment in September.

Stepping Stones' end-of-summer "Bloom" garden party to raise programming funds

Stepping Stones provides educational and recreational programs for more than 1,000 local children and adults with developmental disabilities each year. Bloom, an annual event to raise money to support its mission and programs, returns for its 11th year Sept. 12 and is bringing in sponsors from all across the Greater Cincinnati area. 

The outdoor garden party will feature live music, food from 20 different local restaurants and caterers and a silent auction. Partygoers will be able to bid on a vacation to England to see a Manchester United soccer match, four nights in a Parisian apartment, signed sports memorabilia and other prizes.
Through the help of Bloom co-chairs and owner of Towne Properties Neil and Susie Bortz, a financial assistance program has been established to help make Stepping Stones' programs more accessible for low-income children, teens and adults with disabilities: No Person Left Behind.
“Our hope is this fund continues and is the wind beneath the wings of these people who need a little help to attend our programs,” says Peggy Kreimer, communication and grants director.

The Bloom committee has designated 15 percent of each sponsorship to go to No Person Left Behind.

Do Good:

Register to attend the Sept. 12 garden party, presented by PNC Bank, on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Greenacres Arts Center in Indian Hill. Tickets are $150.

• Can't make it to the party? Donate to No Person Left Behind.

Be a buddy to a child with a disability. Stepping Stones has an ongoing need for volunteers 13 years and older.

Bluegrass for Babies benefit concert returns to Sawyer Point

Enjoy live bluegrass music and favorite local foods Sept. 19 at Bluegrass for Babies, an annual concert that benefits Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The family-friendly event is presented by the Healthy Roots Foundation as a fundraiser for infant and child health in the community.

Nearly $130,000 has been raised since the first Bluegrass for Babies concert in 2009, says Anne Schneider, founder of Healthy Roots.

“This year we're going to support new research through the Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth,” Schneider says. “We really want to take a new look at environment impact on prenatal care and what that looks like, what the influences are.”

Healthy Roots was established in 2009 by Anne and her husband when their youngest son, Nicholas, was born with a life-threatening birth defect. The organization aims to provide tools and resources to parents and help educate them on how to raise healthy children.

The family-friendly bluegrass concert will feature craft beer; food by Green BEAN Delivery, Eli’s Barbeque, Mazunte and Dewey’s Pizza; and live bluegrass music by Cabinet, Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, Hickory Robot and Jennifer Ellis Music. There will also be interactive games and activities for children.

Adults tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Children 12 and younger are admitted for free.
Do Good:

Purchase tickets online to Babies for Bluegrass 3-9 p.m. Sept. 19 at Sawyer Point downtown.

Donate to Healthy Roots Foundation.

• Healthy Roots is 100 percent volunteer based, so donate your time as a volunteer

Comedy benefit honors women living with breast cancer

Most breast cancer foundations focus on raising money for research or to help cover medical bills, but one is dedicated to putting fun back into the lives of women living with the disease.
The Karen Wellington Foundation for Women wants women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, along with their families, to enjoy their lives by taking a break from the exhausting day-to-day struggles of doctor’s appointments, scans and chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The foundation provides these women with miniature vacations, spa visits, dinners and concert tickets.

Sticking with the theme of “Fun Now!” the foundation is hosting a comedy showcase Aug. 11 to raise money to send more women on vacations and allow them to live in the moment.
Six top local comedians will take the stage to address the sensitive issue doing what they do best: Andy Gasper, Faith Mueller, Laura Sanders, Mark Chalifoux, Gabe Kea and Chris Weir.
“Comedy and humor are such a huge part of the healing process,” says Michael Holder, host, board member and local comedian. “There is tension we can destroy with comedy. Think of it is a way of laughing in the face of cancer.”
The foundation was founded eight years ago in honor of Wellington, a young mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30 and passed away 10 years later. 
The benefit will take place 8-11 p.m. Aug. 11 at Go Bananas Comedy Club in Montgomery. All ticket proceeds go to the foundation and its mission.

Do Good:

• Plan to buy tickets and attend Fun Now!; admission is $15.

• Learn more about the Karen Wellington Foundation for Women at its website.

Lend your vacation home, condo or timeshare to the foundation to provide a fun break for a woman with breast cancer and her family.

Funke pottery studio encourages individual empowerment

Whether you’re looking to hone your ceramic skills or just starting out, Funke Fired Arts is a place where anyone can be an artist.
Funke’s instructors teach every level of a smorgasbord of classes: wheel throwing, handbuilding and sculpture. 
“People always say, ‘I don’t have a creative bone in my body,’” says Ben Clark, director of instruction. “But if you get them to take just one class, it opens a part of them they didn’t know they had. Creating something new makes people feel great. You realize how many talents you have beyond your day-to-day job.”
Funke is one of the largest clay studios in the country. The facility has multiple kilns and more than 50 spinning wheels. There are other studios, a gallery and a children’s education center as well.

But what makes Funke unique is its full-retail service shop, which sells clay, glaze, raw materials, tools, wheels, kilns, bricks, etc. They have formed several relationships with art teachers in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas in order to expand their reach. The money that comes in from art product purchases can be used to invest in education for local communities, Clark says. 

The studio is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m-5 p.m. Friday and noon-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Do Good:

• Get your hands dirty and register for a class at Funke Fired Arts, 3130 Wasson Road, Hyde Park.

• Become friends with Funke on Facebook.

• Support Funke by buying local art products.

Students build social skills at unique music/art camp

This summer you might find kids sitting in a drum circle working together to create music. The next hour, you might see them standing around a table creating a sculpture together and presenting it to their class.
These kids all have one thing in common: a social skills camp collaboration between Melodic Connections and Visionaries + Voices.
The camp is designed to give kids with different types of special learning needs a place where they can practice their social skills in a structured environment. The camps prevents a “summer slide” that often happens between academic school years, when a child's mind sits idle during the summer months and loses valuable reading and social skills. 
“This summer was loaded with all of these awesome creative mediums for kids to be their silly selves together and thrive but really have some structured practice at the same time,” says Betsey Nuseibeh, executive director of Melodic Connections. “They learn how to work together and work on making friends but also finding out what that means and looks like.”

In the past, kids had the opportunity to work on their social skills through music and art. This year, yoga and dance were added to the agenda. Ensemble Theatre also had a hand in this summer's round of one-week camp sessions. 
The summer social skills camp is a place for kids to not only show off their abilities but to also take that camp experience and use it to create more positive experiences in their lives, Nuseibeh says. 
Do Good:

• Melodic Connections is always looking for volunteers.

• Be a Facebook friend of Melodic Connections and Visionaries + Voices.

Donate to help Visionaries + Voices' mission.
267 Arts + Culture Articles | Page: | Show All
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