Monday, February 16, 2004

Fine Arts Fund goal set at $10.3 million

By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DOWNTOWN - Proclaiming that the arts, and not sports, are the city's biggest draw, Fine Arts Fund campaign chairman James F. Orr unveiled the $10.3 million goal of the 2004 Fine Arts Fund campaign Sunday evening at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.

Jim Orr, General Campaign Chairman of the Fine Arts Fund and CEO of Convergys, gets a little help from members of the Otto M. Budig Academy of the Cincinnati Ballet as they announce the 2004 campaign goal at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
The goal is 3 percent over last year's campaign, which raised more than $10 million from 45,000 people, companies and foundations in Greater Cincinnati. The announcement took place amid fanfares from the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra, aided by dancers from the Otto M. Budig Academy of Cincinnati Ballet. The hall was filled with families for a Cincinnati Ballet performance of Act I from Romeo and Juliet, the closing event of Sampler Weekend, a two-day showcase of the arts.

"Imagine a ballet company without ballet dancers. That's the equivalent of the Fine Arts Fund contribution to the Cincinnati Ballet," said the company's artistic director Victoria Morgan. "It basically covers the cost of our dancers' salary for an entire year."

Orr, who is president and chief executive officer of Convergys Corp., is optimistic about meeting this year's goal. Last year's campaign, which surpassed its goal, got a boost from a dramatic increase in "leadership givers" - individual donations of $1,500 or more from employees of companies such as General Electric and Procter & Gamble, he said.

"I think that people are continually recognizing how important the arts are - economically, socially, and as great outreach to help educate young people," he said. "We're blessed in Cincinnati with a long heritage of outstanding institutions that cities many times our size, I think, would love to have."

The 55th annual Fine Arts Fund campaign will primarily support the operating budgets of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati May Festival and Taft Museum of Art. It will also provide support to more than 70 other arts organizations throughout the region.

The campaign ends April 30. The total will be announced May 3 at Playhouse in the Park.



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