Hamilton, Ohio – The social experiment worked. And grew. And lasted.
Now - 10 years after its inception in 2012 - Giving Tuesday is a regular and important feature of the holiday calendar.
According to its official website, “GivingTuesday was created … as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good.
“Born and incubated at the 92nd Street Y and its Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact in New York City, GivingTuesday is now an independent nonprofit and a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.”
Many non-profit organizations benefit from the day, including the Fitton Center for Creative Arts.
Rather than ask for a Giving Tuesday donation, though, new Fitton Center development manager Arnita Gunn wants to tell a story.
“As a community arts center, we really try to emphasize the community part of that,” she said. “People know us for our shows – which are excellent - and our education programs. The variety and quality of the classes and workshops we offer and the level of teachers working here is second to none.
“But being part of the community means getting out to places where exposure to the arts may not happen without our help. We don’t just cater to people with discretionary income who have the ability to come to us. We want to make the arts accessible to everyone.”
Which explains Fitton Center partnerships with several area social service organizations.
The Fitton Center reaches about 60 students a week at Booker T. Washington Community Center, another 30 through the Boys & Girls Club East and 50 more at Boys & Girls Club Grand Blvd. Plus 15 to 20 students weekly at Best Point (formerly known as St. Aloysius).
“We use the arts to help kids stay in school, to teach them different ways to solve problems, to enhance their creativity and to look at the world through a different lens,” Gunn said. “When children are engaged in the arts, all of those things happen.
“That’s why we do it. That’s our mission statement in action – building community excellence through arts and culture.”
Then there are groups like the Golden Tappers, a senior-citizen dance troupe of about 20 members who rehearse two hours a day twice a week in the Fitton Center theater.
“We offer our older residents a chance to be part of a community anchored by their love of dance,” Gunn said. “Beyond the social and artistic aspects, we’re helping them stay active and fit. That’s another way the arts can improve the quality of life for a community and its residents.”
Back to the GivingTuesday organization for a moment.
“Our global network collaborates year-round to inspire generosity around the world, with a common mission to build a world where generosity is part of everyday life,” their website said.
“That’s what we do,” Gunn said. “You’ll see us all over Butler County. We’re located in Hamilton, yes, but our community also is West Chester, Liberty Township, Fairfield, Ross, Oxford. All over.
“I will ask people for donations, but not today. For us, Giving Tuesday is more about recognizing that day-to-day generosity, that day-to-day commitment to our community and the people we serve. Giving Tuesday is a chance for us to show how the arts can transform lives and celebrate those organizations who help us make those transformations.”
The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.
Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture