Tidal: Art x Tech

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Tidal is coming to Cincinnati this weekend. No, not the thing Kanye West keeps trying to get you to sign up for. This is a three-day hack-a-thon aimed at merging the city’s art and startup communities.

Chris Ostoich, co-founder of LISNR, has been on the ArtsWave board of trustees for the past few years. An entrepreneur from the tech/startup universe, he always felt a little out of place among the philanthropists and luminaries of the arts that made up the majority of his fellow ArtsWave board members.

“You have streets named after you, a building—those are the people on the board,” says Ostoich. “And then there’s me, in the corner, broke-ass entrepreneur.”

After years of sitting in meetings and feeling like he wasn’t contributing, Ostoich, a problem-solver at heart, finally realized that his purpose was obvious—bringing his two worlds together. Despite the strong local culture of arts (museums, ballet, symphony, theater) and tech startups (Cintrifuse, CincyTech, The Brandery), there was little crossover between the entities.

“They are two rocket ships flying through the air, but going two different directions,” says Ostoich.

He also recognized that the issues inherent to ArtsWave and the organizations it supports—the questions that kept getting raised and discussed in these board meetings—we’re well-suited for the tech universe. How can the Taft Museum of Art learn more about its visitors? How can the Cincinnati Ballet help fans follow its artists across the globe? What do people think about their time at the Contemporary Arts Center? How can ArtsWave provide a richer, more collaborative experience for the city’s patrons?

“These challengs are absolutely solvable,” says Ostoich. “So why not put them in front of people who love breaking stuff and then figuring out how to fix it?”

The result is Tidal, which starts this Friday, April 8, and runs through Sunday, April 10. Teams of “problem-solvers” (who can sign up through the website) are presented on Friday with the various challenges (also listed on the website), and then have the next two days to devise a plan of action. On Sunday, the solutions are presented to the arts organizations and a panel of judges. Winners will have a chance to earn additional funding to further develop their concepts (and get to take home a free iPad Pro).

Cintrifuse is hosting the event and has joined ArtsWave as one of the sponsors, along with Casamatic, LISNR, and Fifth Third Bank.

“The idea is introduce people,” says Ostoich. “Bridging the gap between the startup ecosystem and the art ecosystem.”

For more info, visit tidaltech.splashthat.com.

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