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Public Officials Recognition Breakfast, June 15, 2018




Local Public Sector Funding

Individual Artist Support

CAC and Individual Artist Grants: What Would Be Fair - Donald Black, Jr., CAN Journal, March 2017

Individual Artist Grants, Race and Public Benefit - Barbara Bachtell, CAN Journal, March 2017

What's Happening with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture - Cleveland Magazine, March 7, 2017

Crain's Editorial: Two Thumbs Down - Crain's Cleveland Business, January 15, 2017

The Fight Over How Cuyahoga Arts Funding is Given to Artists  - Sam Allard, Cleveland SCENE, January 11, 2017

Artists Support Fellowship Program as County Agency Ponders Change - Jay Miller, Crain's Cleveland Business, December 13, 2016

CAC to Individual Artists: Money in the Budget, No Program to Administer It - Michael Gill, CAN Journal, December 13, 2016

The Sound of Ideas: Artist Funding (audio) - ideastream, The Sound of Ideas, December 13, 2016

Cuyahoga County's discontinued Creative Workforce Fellowships must be replaced quickly - Geoffrey Peterson (Opinion), The Plain Dealer, December 11, 2016

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture to regroup after cancelling controversial new grant program - Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer, December 7, 2016

Update on Support for Artists in 2017 - Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, December 6, 2016

NAS Withdraws, CAC Individual Artist Grant Program in Limbo - Michael Gill, CAN Journal, December 6, 2016

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture cancels plan for new individual artist grant program - Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer, December 6, 2016

Arts Community Surprised and Stirred Up by Changes in Levy Funding Distribution - Anastasia Pantsios, Cool Cleveland, November 28, 2016

Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, And Individual Artists: Making Change - Michael Gill, CAN Journal, November 19, 2016

CAC Discusses Process, Goals for Proposed Individual Artist Program - Michael Gill, CAN Journal, November 17, 2016

Change Proposed for Allocating Public Funds for Artists - David C. Barnett, ideastream, November 16, 2016

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture approves $14.5M in grants, fields questions about proposed shift in individual artist grant program - Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer, November 15, 2016

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture considers big revamp to individual artist grant program - Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer, November 11, 2016

The History of Public Sector Funding

Prior to 2006, local public sector funding for arts and culture was limited in size and scope. Today, Cuyahoga County has a dedicated source of arts and culture support through a countywide cigarette excise tax generating millions of dollars annually. How did Cuyahoga County go from having one of the lowest levels of local public sector arts and culture support in the United States to one of the highest? It all comes down to a 10-year drive led by Arts Cleveland and the support of a dedicated core group of funders, advocates and legislators.


Vote for Arts and Culture from ACAC 2015 on Vimeo

In 1997, a regional planning process brought the community together and helped to establish a baseline of information about the value and impact of arts and culture. Northeast Ohio’s Arts and Culture Plan was released in 2000, and over the next three years, the arts and culture sector began to interact in new ways with local public officials. In 2003, Cuyahoga County Commissioners formed the Cuyahoga County Cultural Leadership Taskforce – a blue ribbon panel designed to develop models for the distribution of local public sector funds should a revenue source be adopted.

In 2004, advocates had their first opportunity to test arts and culture support with voters. Issue 31 was a joint economic development and arts and culture ballot issue, which would have provided arts and culture with a $10 million annual investment through a property tax. The issue failed by a margin of 3 points. Due to its slim defeat, public officials continued to work with advocates to identify a source of support for the County’s arts and culture sector. They also provided additional support to arts and culture through a program modeled off the Cultural Leadership Taskforce’s work, Cuyahoga County’sArts and Culture as Economic Development Grants. Finally, through a series of state legislative changes, a regional arts and cultural district was formed in Cuyahoga County. In 2006, Cuyahoga County voters approved a ten-year increase in the cigarette excise tax in support of arts and culture. This excise tax will need to be renewed sometime before its expiration in 2016.

Made possible by the generous support of Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture

Proceeds from the cigarette excise tax are distributed through a regional arts and cultural district, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture in the form of grants to arts and cultural organizations. The agency is governed by a board appointed by the Cuyahoga County Executive and ratified by Cuyahoga County Council. For more information on Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, and to join their mailing list, visit

What can you do?

  • Stay informed
  • attend a CAC meeting
  • sign up to receive Arts Cleveland email newsletters and subscribe to the blog
  • Participate in Arts and Culture Roundtables
  • If you are a recipient of funds from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture or a re-granting program it funds such as Neighborhood Connections, spread the word to family, friends and local, state and federal legislators about the important role local public sector funding plays in your work.

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