In 2006, an impassioned group of arts and culture advocates, community leaders and enthusiasts capped several years of tireless efforts for local public funding of arts and culture. The outcome of their work and the consensus of Cuyahoga County voters was the first comprehensive public sector investment for the County’s arts and culture assets through a new cigarette tax.
A number of factors led to the arts and culture referendum’s passage. Not the least of these aspects was how the arts and culture folks put to use the skills they learned and the relationships they made working on other local issues campaigns. We have worked for the passage of library issues, health and human services issues, parks and schools issues. We prepared for an arts and culture campaign by joining forces with our colleagues in other areas of civic importance to back their efforts. In doing so, we have seen our sector become a recognized political force. The resources our sector is able to bring to bear to run any campaign are volunteers and a fiscal commitment. These resources played a crucial role in helping to pass important issues and renewing the cigarette tax in 2015.
Arts and culture exists in many aspects of our community from the small business sector, to the health industry, to tourism and to the homes of people everywhere. Arts Cleveland takes into account all of these relationships in order to understand the full public benefit of arts and culture. Arts Cleveland was instrumental in the passage of the bed tax for arts and culture in Lake County, and the cigarette tax for Cuyahoga County in 2006. We conducted research and worked with public officials and community leaders to find the most appropriate public revenue stream for the sector. Since public organizations manage the funds generated from those taxes, Arts Cleveland continues to offer guidance and information to public officials so they can fully leverage arts and culture to achieve their goals.