Cincinnati Ballet Shatters Record $30.8 Million Goal to Fund New Dance Center in Walnut Hills


Cincinnati, OH (MARCH 30, 2021) –
Cincinnati Ballet President + CEO Scott Altman announced Tuesday the organization has successfully completed and exceeded its $30.8 million dollar capital campaign to fund a new state-of-the-art facility in Walnut Hills. “We are truly humbled and honored by the tremendous support of our donors, patrons, and the community, especially during these challenging times,” Altman said. “A project of this size and scope is a watershed moment for Cincinnati Ballet and we are so excited to take the next step into our future.” The new Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Center for Dance will feature nine studios in 57-thousand-square-feet of space, as well as boast an outdoor Community Terrace and Performance Plaza adjacent to Johnston Park, a Rooftop Terrace, and stunning views of Downtown Cincinnati. The larger space will also accommodate the Ballet’s expanded education and community engagement programming. For the first time in Cincinnati Ballet history, the organization will own its own building at 1801 Gilbert Avenue. Located at the foot of Eden Park, the new Center for Dance will also anchor the Walnut Hills Arts Corridor.

Cincinnati Ballet’s Move With Us campaign exceeded its $30.8 million goal by more than $80,000 as of Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Longtime Cincinnati Ballet patrons and supporters Margaret and Michael Valentine were the first to support the project, committing $10 million dollars, the largest one-time gift in Cincinnati Ballet history, to name and memorialize the Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance. “We are honored to be a part of this historic project,” Margaret Valentine said. “Cincinnati is fortunate to have such a thriving arts sector, and I think it’s important for members of our community to give back. I understand the importance of demonstrating leadership for projects that benefit the city and the new Valentine Center for Dance will provide many cultural and educational opportunities to the region.” Cincinnati Ballet is also grateful for a $3 million gift from Rhonda Sheakley and her husband Larry A. Sheakley. As a permanent commemoration of the Sheakley family’s generosity, the largest Company studio will be named the Rhonda and Larry A. Sheakley Premier Studio. That gift was followed by significant gifts from Otto M. Budig, Sue and Bill Friedlander, Lynn and Brain Good, and Marty and Nick Ragland. Move With Us. A Campaign for Cincinnati Ballet’s New Home, with co-chaired by Rhonda Sheakley and fellow Emeritus Trustee Larry Kellar.

“The new building is architecturally stunning, both inside and outside,” said Artistic Director Victoria Morgan. “There’s so much openness and light. What an experience it will be for our dancers to move in this amazing space.” The highly visible, iconic building was designed by GBBN Architects and is being built by Messer Construction. The new facility will also support expanded dance classes in the Otto M. Budig Academy, and a deeper commitment to community offerings such as Ballet Moves, created in partnership with Cincinnati Children’s. New Ballet Moves offerings will also provide the opportunity for students who traditionally use a mobility device to participate in a supportive environment employing an innovative, double track harness system or utilizing their devices. Cincinnati Ballet is the first ballet company in the country to install this specialized track system that will allow students to partner, stand at the barre and go across the floor.

An additional ‘1801 Community Campaign’ launched in December 2020 with personalized engraving opportunities on the plaza steps for a gift $1,801; Those opportunities are nearly sold out. Additional naming rights are available, and gifts received will be earmarked for future capital needs and sustainability of the new facility. Donations can be made at

Otto M. Budig Academy students will be the first to train in the new space with Summer Intensive programming in June. Official Grand Opening celebrations presented by PNC Bank will take place in September and include free community events, as well as a Grand Opening Gala. Details will be announced in the summer.

About Cincinnati Ballet
Since 1963, Cincinnati Ballet has been the cornerstone professional ballet company of the region, presenting a bold and adventurous array of classical, full-length ballets and contemporary works, regularly with live orchestral accompaniment. Under the artistic direction of Victoria Morgan, Cincinnati Ballet has become a creative force within the larger dance community, commissioning world premiere works and exploring unique collaborations. With a mission to enrich, expand, and excel in the art of dance through performance, a high-
caliber academy, and impactful education and community engagement in local to global communities, Cincinnati Ballet reaches beyond the stage in programs that allow every person in the region to be part of the continued evolution of dance. To that end, Cincinnati Ballet presents exhilarating performances, provides extensive education and community engagement programs, and offers top-level professional ballet training at Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy.

Cincinnati Ballet 2020-2021 Season Sponsors: Rhonda & Larry A. Sheakley, Margaret and Michael Valentine, ArtsWave, Mercy Health, Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, Ohio Arts Council, Frisch’s, The Austin E. Knowlton Foundation


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