"Future of the Arts" Gala Presents Performance of Cincinnati Arts Organization in Collaboration with SCPA Students

Photography provided by SCPA and Catie Viox


According to Charity Navigator’s 2017 study of Cincinnati, the 56 largest charities in the Queen City consistently rank higher than comparable charities around the country in assets, contributions and revenue. Further, 23.2 percent this funding is put toward the arts, culture and humanities. It’s been proven that Cincinnati is a generous city, especially when it comes to the arts. Organizations like the Cincinnati Ballet, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Opera, the Cincinnati Pops and the May Festival Chorus are living examples of this generosity.

On January 25, 2019, all five of these organizations will participate in an event together for the first time. These major arts groups will perform at Music Hall alongside students from Cincinnati’s own School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA). The event has been spearheaded by Teresa Summe-Haas, SCPA External Relations Officer, with Otto Budig serving as Honorary Event Chair. He is also a member of the board for SCPA.

“I became involved with the School for Creative and Performing Arts as a direct result of Tom Klinedinst. Tom was the chair of the endowment fund that is evolving for SCPA. Before he was tragically and quickly taken from us, he convinced me that it would be a good idea for me to join the board. Both for the good of the organization and in deference to his memory, I did join the board, have been there ever since, and have enjoyed it thoroughly,” says Budig. “The board itself is small, and yet it has some significant leaders, the latest of whom are Murray Sinclaire and Jennifer Damiano. They are going to add a great deal to the quality and stability of the board.”

Otto sees his place on the board as more than just an honorary title – he is invested in the arts community in Cincinnati and in the wellbeing of SCPA.

“Once I am involved in a board, I tend to not say ‘Oh that’s nice; another notch in my belt,’ and just go to the meetings. I become deeply involved and this is certainly the case with the SCPA. One of the most remarkable people in the organization is Teresa Summe-Haas. She was program director at Memorial Hall, and created a remarkable change where virtually every night there was something going on,” says Budig.

“However, with the renovation of Memorial Hall and 3CDC’s desire to assume responsibility for that work, she moved to [SCPA] and has done a masterful job there, not only in providing channels for additional funding, but also creating an environment where the community has a greater sensitivity to what SCPA is doing.”

Otto has a long history of being involved in the arts in Cincinnati, having serving on the boards or organizations such as the Cincinnati Ballet, the Cincinnati Arts Association, the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Cincinnati Zoo, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Ensemble Theatre, and more.

Otto believes that the Future of the Arts Gala will be beneficial not only for the school, but also for all of the organizations involved as well as the community.

“This evening that is going to occur in January called ‘The Future of the Arts Gala’ is one of [Teresa’s] extraordinary ideas. What she has done is convince all of the professional arts organizations in Cincinnati – the Symphony, the Pops, the Opera, the May Festival and the Ballet – to bring to the stage their professional skillsets and couple those with the young people of SCPA,” says Budig.

“It will provide for these professionals an opportunity to see the gifted students that will be their replacements someday. For the students, it will give them an opportunity to show their skills, and also integrate them with the professionals. Third, it provides an opportunity for the community to understand more about the SCPA. It will give them an opportunity to see how effectively an integration between the professionals, who are so marvelous in their own right, and these young people can come together – it’s going to be a wonderful evening.”

Summe-Haas is also very optimistic about the impact of the event. “It is truly amazing that our students at the School For Creative and Performing Arts have the opportunity to be mentored by and perform alongside Cincinnati’s top arts organizations: Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and May Festival. Our students are excited to take part in such an extraordinary evening,” she says.

The event will feature a performance by the Cincinnati Ballet’s Second Company, led by Director Suzette Boyer Webb. They will dance alongside SCPA’s Dance Ensemble, led by SCPA’s Director of Dance, Pat Rozow. The Opera will perform with two vocalists, joined by two of SCPA’s own students. The May Festival Chorus, led by Associate Director Matthew Swanson, will be joined by 35 SCPA students led by Laurie Wyant, SCPA Vocal Director. The Cincinnati Symphony will provide a 12-piece ensemble alongside students, while the Pops will be represented by Julie Spangler with SCPA’s nine-piece Jazz Ensemble.

This is the first time in Cincinnati’s history that all five of these organizations will perform at the same event. The gala, presented in Music Hall, will take place on Friday, January 25, 2019. The event will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:15 p.m., with the program and dinner beginning at 7:00 pm. Individual tickets will be sold for $150, while tables for 10 can be reserved for $1,500.   

“I have seen these young people maturing their skillsets and their artistic sense, and it is just wonderful to see. It’s very heartwarming, and it provides an opportunity for these young people to show what they are artistically capable of doing,” says Budig.

Summe-Haas echoes this sentiment: “The Future of the Arts Gala will be a very special night to celebrate what’s important to us – the arts!”


The School for Creative and Performing Arts is located at 108 W Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45202. To RSVP for the Future of the Arts Gala, visit scpacpsk12.weshareonline.org