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International wines to be featured at 26th annual Cincinnati Wine Festival

Wines from all around the world will be featured at the Cincinnati Wine Festival March 3-5 at various locations throughout the city. 

The festival, celebrating its 26th anniversary this year, has grown throughout the years and has garnered interest from people in cities as far as New York, New Jersey, Pittsburgh and Atlanta, says Executive Director Debbie Dent.

Started by Russ Wiles in 1991, Cincinnati Wine Festival is one of the largest in the Midwest and has donated more than $4.6 million to 45 local charities.

The three main events during the festival weekend are winery dinners, grand tastings and charity auction and luncheon.
“There will be more than 700 wines from more than 150 different wineries,” Dent says. “You have the ability to taste different wines from all around the world right here in Cincinnati.”

Do Good:

Register for tickets for the grand tastings March 4-5 at the Duke Energy Convention Center downtown.

Register for tickets to the charity auction and luncheon March 5 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 151 West Fifth St., downtown.

• See a list of organizations that received donations from the wine festival over the past two decades.

Friends of the Pops to host informational lecture series at Mercantile Library

The all-volunteer Friends of the Pops group affiliated with Cincinnati Pops Orchestra is hosting a new lecture series beginning in March. The series will be hosted in the Mercantile Library throughout spring and provide information for those who are interested in getting a sneak peek of what it’s like to play as part of the orchestra.

“We’re really excited that Friends of the Pops has taken on this initiative to offer the public to experience the orchestra in a new way,” says Meghan Berneking, Director of Communications for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. “This lecture series gets to the heart of giving Pops fans the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes by engaging a little deeper with artists they see on stage already while also opening doors for those who haven’t been to a concert.”

Friends of the Pops was formed in 1991 by its late conductor Erich Kunzel and is committed to increasing awareness and pride for the Cincinnati Pops and provides opportunities for Pops fans to get together. 

Lectures are free and open to the public, although donations are suggested.

Do Good:

• Attend one of the lectures to learn more about Cincinnati Pops: March 30, April 19 and May 17. All lectures will be hosted in the Mercantile Library, 414 Walnut St., downtown.

• For more information, contact Meghan Berneking.

• Learn more about Cincinnati Pops at its website

Main Public Library downtown hosts "Envelope" mail artwork exhibit

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is hosting "Envelope," an exhibit of mail artwork from international artists all around the world, including work from local Visionaries + Voices artists.
Visionaries + Voices gives support to more than 125 artists with disabilities by providing studio space, supplies and support in a creative environment.
Visionaries + Voices first began looking for artwork for the exhibition during fall 2013, asking for submissions to have a focus on a neighborhood theme with no limitations on medium or size. Artists were asked to describe their neighborhood and the things that make it interesting while considering all of the different parts that could make up a correspondence.

The exhibit runs through March 10.
Do Good:

• Stop by to see mail art from Cincinnati and all around the world at the “Envelope” exhibit, Main Public Library Branch, 800 Vine St., Downtown.

Take a look at some the “Envelope” exhibit submissions.

• Find more information about Visionaries + Voices at its website.

Poetry in the Garden Contest looking for talented local poets

The Poetry in the Garden series is returning for its fifth year, and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is looking for new and talented poets to enter its contest.

The contest is a partnership between the library system and Greater Cincinnati Writers League and runs through Feb. 29. Adults who are at least 18 years old can submit a piece of poetry.

Winners will have the chance to read their work on the opening night of the series, April 5. Winners will also have their work published on the library’s website.

“We wanted to create new excitement about this poetry series and further engage our community,” says David Siders, Popular Library Manager. “The openness of the contest has really given people creative license to follow their own voice.”

Although the contest has a couple hundred entries on average, most writers are not stirred by the amount of competition.

“It’s always a welcoming and creative environment,” Siders says. “Writers support each other and the diversity of thought. We have people from very different backgrounds and where they are with their poetry.

Submissions come from all walks of life, from brief haikus to personal narrative poems on a wide range of subjects. The judging panel is a committee of literary professionals, including the Library Foundation’s writer-in-residence, Jeffrey Hillard.

Do Good:

• Take a stab at writing your own poetry and make sure to submit your entry by Feb. 29.

• Attend one of the Poetry in the Garden Poetry contest “write-ins”: Jan. 16 at 1 p.m. at the Sharonville branch; Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. at the main branch downtown; and Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Delhi Township branch.

• For information and the contest rules, visit the website

Kicks for Kids annual Christmas party to benefit local kids in need

Kicks for Kids hosts its annual Christmas party Dec. 15 at Paul Brown Stadium to help local kids in need have a special Christmas.

Aiming to “level the playing field for local children at risk,” Kicks for Kids collaborated with 14 various local organizations that selected a number of children to participate in the event. The children did a service project last week that allowed them to have a chance to not only meet their chaperone but also to give back and help others.

“The purpose of the party is to provide an incredible experience for kids who would otherwise have a limited Christmas,” says Ted Kluemper, Kicks for Kids board member. “The volunteers are there to try to help kids enjoy their night, feel loved and make it a memorable Christmas for them.”

After eating dinner on Dec. 15, the kids will separate into two groups. One group will meet with Santa to read a Christmas story and receive gifts, then they’ll have the opportunity to pick out and wrap gifts for their own family members.

Meanwhile, the other group will go downstairs to tour the Bengals and visitor’s locker rooms, where each child will have their own locker. They’ll receive a new winter coat, school supplies and a bible, then have the opportunity to go out on the field and play until the groups switch.

Covington-based Kicks for Kids has received tremendous feedback about the event over the last 21 years. Many kids have stayed in touch with their chaperones over time and have developed a big brother/big sister-like relationship, Kleumper says.

Do Good:

• Learn more about Kicks for Kids at its website.

• Make a donation to help support Kicks for Kids’ mission.

• Connect with Kicks for Kids on Facebook

A Night with Scott and Friends to benefit Manna Food Pantry on Dec. 12

A Night With Scott and Friends, the West side’s annual community Christmas concert, returns for its third year Dec. 12 at the Heritage Community Church in West Price Hill.
The concert will feature Scott Elick, a member of Starfire Council’s Out & About Program and the Cincinnati chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He is also involved with the Cincinnati chapter of the American Theater Organ Society.
Danyetta Najoli, who is the community coordinator at Starfire Council, says Elick is happy to return for a third year to the town where he grew up.
“This year, there's a sing-a-long part of the concert to encourage family members, neighbors and friends to sing alongside each other,” Najoli says. “It's a way to bring this community together through song. Singing is a universal language.”
The concert with benefit Manna Food Pantry.
Do Good:

• Attend A Night with Scott and Friends 6-8 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Heritage Community Church, 4431 Glenway Ave.

• Learn more about Starfire Council and its impact on the community. 

• Support local food pantries in your neighborhood. 

Charitable Words to host benefit event at secret location

Charitable Words provides paid internships to college students who are struggling to pay down college debt and in turn helps local nonprofits by providing needed support. Interns help local organizations shape their outward brands by improving their websites, updating photos and videos and leading campaigns.

The innovative organization is hosting a benefit Dec. 17 at a secret location in the Cincinnati neighborhood of College Hill and is inviting the community to participate in an unorthodox way of retrieving a free ticket: a scavenger hunt video with clues leading to its location. The video with clues leading to the location of the tickets was recently posted on Charitable Words’ fundraising website.

The benefit will feature free food and live performances by three bands: B. Shields, Housewives and Coconut Milk.

Partygoers will be able to bid on different items like a one-week stay at a two-bedroom condominium in Scottsdale, Ariz., Reds gear with four infield box tickets to a 2016 regular season game, a two-month Title Boxing Club membership with gloves and hand wraps among other prizes.

The location of the benefit will be announced 24 hours prior to the event, says Tyler Mechlem, a graphic design and animation intern at Charitable Words. Tickets are $10 and tax-deductible, with proceeds benefiting Charitable Words and its interns.

Do Good:

• Watch the video and follow the clues to receive a free ticket to the benefit.

• Share a link to Charitable Words’ campaign with the #charitablewords and #unlockcincinnati hashtags for a free raffle entry.

• Can’t attend the benefit? Consider donating to support Charitable Words and its interns.

Covington's Center for Great Neighborhoods kicks off campaign to finish creative hub renovations

Covington’s Center for Great Neighborhoods (CGN) honored all its moving parts — current and future leaders, key businesses, community organizers, residents and students — at its Annual Celebration two weeks ago. The Nov. 18 event also kicked off the nonprofit’s Annual Campaign, which runs through Jan. 17.
This year’s campaign will fund renovations to the historic Hellmann Lumber building, soon to be transformed into the Hellmann Creative Center.
“The Hellmann Creative Center will act as the symbolic hub of The Center’s work by offering a place for everyone in the community to make their creative ideas come to fruition,” says Sarah Allan, CGN’s Program Director of Creative Placemaking.

It’s the organization’s most monumental project to date and, when completed, will house its offices as well as artist studios and community event space.
The Center for Great Neighborhoods believes every individual within the community has something to offer and that when residents are not provided an outlet to express their creativity the neighborhood misses out, as a story remains untold. The Hellmann Creative Center will provide residents with a venue and a voice.
“We know it is a big vision, but we believe it is possible,” Allan says. “Forty years of community work has shown us what people can come up with if given the space.”   

Do Good: 

• Support the Center for Great Neighborhoods by donating.

• Share your creativity with the community and view resources available to you here

• Interested in studio space at the Hellmann Creative Center? Contact Sarah Allan.

Constella 2016 will push classical music boundaries to engage audiences

Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts has announced its 2016 season, which is invigorated with new collaborations that push expectations and conventions for classical music into new territory.
The 10-day festival kicks off April 15 and, according to renowned Russian violinist and founder of Constella, Tatiana Berman, is designed with audience experience at the forefront.
“Constella has become known as a creative incubator for artists of the highest caliber,” Berman says. “We’ve always taken chances, learning from our experiences and audience reactions along the way. Our audience tell us that Constella affects their life, opening doors to new works, artistic expression.”
String performances of Baroque dance music and West African bardic spirituals will converge. Local electronic media students will contribute digital art to be paired with classical piano performances. World premieres of ballet and contemporary dance will grace the stage.
“Amazing things are happening in Cincinnati,” Berman says.
New this year: Grammy-award winning musicians, gallery owners and film industry professionals will judge music videos and fine art created by students competing to win $2,000 in prize money.
An effort to engage audience members of all ages is ongoing. Children’s concerts have been a success in the past, and they will continue this year with interactive components intended to pique the interests of young people who gain exposure to the scene in a unique, fun way.
“There’s energy one can feel just by walking around downtown,” Berman says. “We want to harness that energy. It’s the people of this city who inspire us. We hope to inspire them in return.” 
Do Good: 

• Purchase a 2016 Constella Festival pass here for shows April 15-24 at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Aronoff Center for the Arts and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

• Connect with Constella by signing up for the Constella Club newsletter.

• Support Constella by donating.

Skirball Museum begins to open "Ten Treasures" collection to the public

Ten Treasures, a new collection of Jewish art and artifacts, is on display at the Skirball Museum at Hebrew Union College in Clifton. The museum acquired the collection in May and plans to gradually introduce more items to the public as they’re unpacked, inspected and cataloged; the collection contains more than 1,500 pieces in total.

Most of the collection had been in storage since 2002 when the Klutznick National Jewish Museum closed and B’nai B’rith International, which was in the same building at the time, moved its headquarters. B’nai B’rith started looking for a new home for the collection and eventually decided Skirball would be the perfect place.

“We had an existing relationship and thought that if all the documentation and information was here it would only make sense to also consider having the art collection here as well,” says Skirball Curator Abby Schwartz. “The arrival of this new collection has more than quadrupled our existing holding. … This is a transformational acquisition for us.”

Skirball plans to reveal 10-15 pieces of the collection at a time, giving visitors a sneak peek at Jewish culture and history. Some of the pieces from this rotation include an oil painting, a silver kiddush cup for synagogue, a torah case made of deerskin, silver and velvet from India and Sabbath candlesticks made in the late 1600s.

“These are a great starting point for conversation about Jewish art,” Schwartz says. “We made a specific effort to try to give visitors a breadth of material ranging from fairly antique ritual art to contemporary.”

The current rotation is on display until January 2016.

Do Good:

• See Ten Treasures by visiting the Skirball Museum, 3101 Clifton Ave., Clifton. The museum is open to the public 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays or by appointment.

• “Like” Skirball on Facebook to stay up to date on the collection rotation. 

• To learn more about the collection, contact Abby Schwartz. 

Jewish Federation of Cincinnati's Community Campaign focuses on maximum impact

The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati raised more than $5 million this year as part of its annual Community Campaign to aid local, national and global agencies and programs.

The Federation has a unique way of allocating funding by utilizing a network of more than 100 volunteers who spent six months assessing grant requests and deciding where money would have the biggest impact, says Director of Marketing and Communications Pam Geller.

The Federation was recently recognized with the highest rating for the sixth year in a row by Charity Navigator, an organization that rates nonprofits in multiple areas related to their donations.  

When the Federation isn’t focusing on giving and its annual campaign, it brings diverse groups together through four core pillars: ensuring quality of life, enabling meaningful Jewish lives, empowering strong congregations and agencies and supporting Jews in Israel and overseas.

“We look at how we can transform or change life locally and globally,” Geller says. “We kind of act as a safety net for all of our agencies. We work on the back end to come up with ways to make sure they have the support they need."

The Federation supports various programs in the community but prides itself on connecting and advocating for Israel. In the past, the Federation has invited several Israeli representatives to Cincinnati to educate on co-existence and what life is like in Israel.

“We want to help educate and bring the Israeli perspective to Cincinnati but also try to bring Israeli and Cincinnatians together,” Geller says.

Do Good:

• Learn more about the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati Community Campaign.

Donate to help support the Federation’s mission.

• Stay connected with the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati on Facebook

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra announces poetry contest winners

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) recently announced the six winners of its One City, One Symphony poetry contest.

One City, One Symphony is an annual initiative hosted by the CSO that fosters dialogue within the community about various themes and music. This year’s theme focused on freedom.

The poetry contest asked for original submissions responding to the question, “What does freedom mean to you?” Applicants were encouraged to find inspiration in Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony or poems written by Maya Angelou: ForgiveEquality and Elegy.
“The submissions were truly astounding,” says CSO Director of Communications Meghan Berneking. “The themes that came up, the personal experiences — both positive and negative — truly opened the gate for fruitful discussion about this sometimes-challenging theme of freedom.”
Each winner received two tickets to attend the One City, One Symphony concerts Nov. 13-14 as well as a cash prize.
“We hope that this poetry and the dialogue around the concerts will challenge people to think about freedom in a way they maybe haven’t before and feel inspired to continue this discussion into other aspects of life as well,” Berneking says.

The winners of the One City, One Symphony poetry contest are:

High School Division
Grand Prize: Dana Schneider of Edgewood, "Is Freedom Just Not That Into Me?"
1st Prize: Bridget Bill of Cincinnati, "A Snow Globe Sky"
2nd Prize: Alison Maniace of Columbus, "Are We There Yet?"
Adult Division
Grand Prize: Mark Flanigan of Prospect Hill, "The Bell Ringer’s Song"
1st Prize: Richard Hague of Madisonville, "Finding Freedom"
2nd Prize: Elese Daniel of Mt. Auburn, "Self-Portrait at 25"
Do Good:

• Read the winning poems on the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Facebook page.

Buy tickets to attend the Symphony's One City, One Symphony concerts Nov. 13-14 at Music Hall.

• Learn more about the CSO at its website

Price Hill seeks artists, businesses to participate in window painting competition

Price Hill Will and its Arts Community Action Team (Arts CAT) are seeking artists and businesses that would like to take part in the neighborhood’s 11th annual Holiday on the Hill Window Painting Competition.
Holiday on the Hill, which takes place Dec. 4-6, engages the Price Hill community through a variety of events, including a tree lighting ceremony, crafts and entertainment. This year’s theme is “Memories of Past Holidays in Price Hill,” so paintings should fit within those parameters.
“We started this competition to make our business districts more festive for the parade and during the entire holiday season,” Arts CAT Chair Ann Andriacco says.
The painting competition is open to multiple types of artists — professionals, high school students and family groups — who will be paired with a local business wishing to have its windows decorated.
Those interested in painting should sign up by Nov. 10 and will need to finish their work by Nov. 24 in time for the Thanksgiving Day Parade, when the Window Painting Competition scavenger hunt kicks off.
Winners will be announced during the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, where they’ll receive up to $300 in prize money for their talents and efforts.
“It’s been a lot of fun for everyone involved,” Andriacco says, “the painters, the businesses and the public who gets to enjoy original, local art all December.”

Do Good: 

• Enter the Window Painting Competition by e-mailing your name(s) and category to Ann Andriacco or by calling 513-501-1879 by Nov. 10.

• Check out the Window Painting Competition information sheet for details about the competition. 

• Like Price Hill Will on Facebook and connect with the organization to keep up with events and happenings like Holiday on the Hill. 

Local celebs fuel Dancing With Our Hearts to raise funds for 8 charities

The Nov. 7 gala and dance competition Dancing With Our Hearts will serve as Dance With Your Heart Inc.’s inaugural event to kick off a series of dance-related projects that raise awareness and funds for nonprofits throughout the year.
Jeremy and Desireé Mainous, franchise owners of Arthur Murray Dance Studio’s Cincinnati location, decided to launch Dance With Your Heart and immerse it into Cincinnati’s nonprofit landscape after producing events for organizations like Cincinnati Arts Association and Cancer Support Community of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. The couple recognized the need for support among local nonprofit organizations and wanted to do something to give back.
“We wanted a fundraising effort that was more inclusive of a variety of causes in Cincinnati,” Desireé Mainous says.
Previously, the couple had annually hosted Swinging for Charity, but the new event, whose mission is “to inspire and empower people to dance with their heart and dream with their feet,” will enable the couple to do more.
Dancing With Our Hearts will feature local celebrities like mixologist Molly Wellman and Cpt. James Kettler of the Cincinnati Fire Department representing eight different charities — everything from Northern Kentucky Hates Heroin to The Marvin Lewis Community Fund.
“We wanted to start a charity event that raised money for multiple causes,” Mainous says. “And we wanted those dancing to be able to choose which charity they wanted their proceeds to go.”

Do Good: 

• Purchase tickets to Dancing With Our Hearts 6 p.m. Nov. 7 at The Phoenix, downtown. 

• Learn more about the local celebrity competitors and the charities in which they represent here.

• Like Dance With Your Heart Inc. on Facebook.

Talbert House 50th anniversary celebration to support Camp Possible program

Talbert House is celebrating 50 years of building a stronger community at its anniversary celebration Nov. 7 at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati, followed by an afterparty celebration at Horseshoe Casino.

Last year, Talbert House served approximately 100,000 clients through face-to-face interaction and hotline services with the goal of improving social behavior and enhancing personal recovery and growth. 

“Fifty years ago, the founders of Talbert House believed that people would have a greater chance of success when treated in the community rather than institutional settings,” Public Relations Specialist Crystal Decker says. “They believed people would be more successful if they stayed connected to their families, work, and community.”

Proceeds from the event will fund Camp Possible, a therapeutic day camp for children ages 6-16 who struggle with substance abuse and/or behavioral health issues.

The camp helps students overcome academic and social challenges during gaps between school years. Many of them lose momentum and engage in negative behaviors when they have no schedule, direction or intervention. Camp Possible participants receive individual attention from trained staff as well as traditional group therapy sessions and skill-building activities. 

“Through the years, Talbert House evolved to meet the changing needs of clients, their families and the community,” Decker says. “But those core beliefs have remained.”

Do Good:

• Purchase tickets to celebrate Talbert House’s 50th anniversary event. Tickets are $60 for singles and $100 for a couple. The afterparty, hosted by the Talbert House Ambassadors, will feature appetizers, drinks and performances by the Rusty Griswolds and DJ Guinness.

• To learn more about how you can help Talbert House, visit its website.

• For more information on Camp Possible, contact Crystal Decker
285 Arts + Culture Articles | Page: | Show All
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