Northeast Ohio Arts + Culture Caucus

The Northeast Ohio Arts + Culture Caucus (Arts Caucus) is a non-partisan multi-jurisdictional group of elected and appointed officials. It includes representatives at every level of government for Cuyahoga and surrounding Northeast Ohio counties. Participants are unified by their shared interest in supporting and creating arts and cultural policy.

The Arts Caucus serves as a vehicle for public officials to connect with like-minded peers and the arts and culture community. Members examine existing policies, access sample models of legislation and work to craft and advance policies that further support and embed arts and culture into the fabric of our region. In addition to providing the group with relevant and credible information, Arts Cleveland facilitates communication between Arts Caucus members and the Arts Advocates grassroots group.

The caucus adopted its structure and format in April of 2020.

See Caucus and Caucus Sub-committee Meeting Notes

Members of the Caucus

Public Officials opt-in to the group by contacting Arts Cleveland. Members receive and respond to regular communication about arts and culture as it relates to public policy. Arts Cleveland facilitates two Caucus Sessions per year.

Ms. Donna Algeri, Community Services Administrative Assistant, Village of Brooklyn Heights

Councilwoman Dana Anderson, City of Maple Heights, District 4

Senator Nickie Antonio, The Ohio State Senate, District 23

Councilwoman Cynthia Beard, Village of Highland Hills

Councilman Keith Benjamin, Village of Bratenahl

Mayor Annette Blackwell, City of Maple Heights

Councilman Brian Brochetti, City of Parma, Ward 7

Mr. Robert N. Brown, City Planning Consultant

Mayor Michael Byrne, City of Parma Heights

Ms. Caryn Candisky, District Director, Office of U.S. Senator Rob Portman

Councilman Andy Celcherts, City of Brooklyn

Ms. Jeri Chaikin, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Shaker Heights

Councilwoman Sara Continenza, South Euclid, Ward 3

Councilman Kevin Conwell, City of Cleveland, Ward 9

Ms. Joanna May Cullinan, Artistic Director, Cain Park

Ms. Mary Louise Daley, Executive Assistant, Cleveland City Council

Senator Matt Dolan, The Ohio State Senate, District 24

Councilwoman Mary Dunbar, City of Cleveland Heights, Ward 2

Mayor Robert Fiala, City of Willoughby

Council President Joseph Frank, City of South Euclid, Ward 2

Councilman Marty Gelfand, City of South Euclid

Councilwoman Juanita Gowdy, City of East Cleveland, Ward 2

Councilwoman Sue Grodek, City of Brooklyn

Councilwoman Melody Joy Hart, City of Cleveland Heights

Ms. Allison Hennie, Urban Designer, City of Lakewood

Council President Eloise Henry, City of Richmond Heights

Mayor Benjamin Holbert, Village of Woodmere

Representative Stephanie Howse, The Ohio House of Representatives, District 11

Council President Ron Jackson, City of Maple Heights, Ward 4

Ms. Heather Johnson-Banks, Program Manager, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture

Councilman Basheer Jones, City of Cleveland, Ward 7

Councilman Joseph Jones, City of Cleveland, Ward 1

Mayor William B. Judge, City of Barberton

Councilwoman Maria Jukic, City of Euclid, Ward 7

Councilwoman Bridget King, City of Fairview Park, Ward 5

Councilman Jud Kline, Orange Village

Mayor Stanley Koci, City of Bedford

Mayor Edward Kraus, City of Solon

Councilman Richard Leskovec, City of Pepper Pike

Reverend Dr. Leah Lewis, Founder, CEO & Chief Creative Officer, Three Butterflies LLC.

Ms. Allison Lukacsy-Love, Architect + Community Projects Manager, City of Euclid

Council President Charlene Mancuso, City of Euclid

Council President Paul Marnecheck, City of North Royalton

Councilwoman Christine McIntosh, City of Euclid

Councilman Dale Miller, Cuyahoga County

Erin Cameron Miller, General Manager, Cain Park

Councilwoman Cassandra Nelson, City of Richmond Heights, Ward 3

Ms. Jill Paulsen, Interim CEO + Executive Director, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture

Ms. Tarra Petras, Public Art Coordinator, City of Cleveland

Councilwoman Kristin Saban, City of Parma, Ward 4

Representative Kent Smith, The Ohio House of Representatives, District 8

Councilwoman Kim Smith, City of Berea, Ward 4

Ms. Kristina Sorensen, Economic Development Director, City of Broadview Heights

Councilwoman Sandy Spinks, City of Bedford, Ward 1

Council President Lisa Stickan, City of Highland Heights

Councilwoman Kim Thomas, City of Richmond Heights, Ward 1

Councilman Jim Trakas, City of Independence

Councilwoman Gigi Traore, Village of Newburgh Heights

Mayor Patrick Ward, City of Lyndhurst

Mr. Sean Watterson (Co-chair), Owner, Happy Dog

Mayor Georgine Welo, City of South Euclid

Councilwoman Carmella Williams, City of Shaker Heights

Councilman Matthew Zone (Co-chair), City of Cleveland, Ward 15

Arts & Culture Makes Us Stronger Seal


  1. Veronica D Thornton on July 29, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    According to this list there are no representatives from the city of Cleveland. Will there be any officials from the city of Cleveland? Or anyone to represent Cleveland at this caucus?

    • Valerie on August 21, 2019 at 6:22 pm

      As of today, the list only includes public officials who opt’ed-in at the Public Officials Recognition Breakfast. We haven’t yet done targeted outreach, and we will absolutely be reaching out to Cleveland City Council and many other places in the next few months. We’ll discuss this a bit more at the Arts Advocates meeting on September 5.

      • C (you have my information) in your database) on April 22, 2020 at 6:00 pm

        In your outreach efforts going forward, if there is some way to do an informal census among the artists, I know of many who are part of the underground gig economy, who are truly in need. These are not even 1099 workers. They live on cash sales for goods or services that do not even amount to enough to pay their cost of living expenses, let alone taxes. This includes bartering just to get by. They are part of the 36.2%, or 61.3% depending upon which statistic referenced from the Center for Community Solutions, living in poverty in the city – including some with children who add to that poverty statistic as well. The current Payroll Protection or SBA programs likely will not include them in the economic recovery efforts – and they are, more often than not, people of color or other minorities.

        • Valerie on April 22, 2020 at 10:39 pm

          Thank you C. This is a really important comment. We are checking into what kind of information might be available. Keep an eye on the grants on Creative Compass. There are a few relief efforts for musicians in particular. We will send more information and resources as it comes in.

  2. Sandi White on August 16, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    I have worked with many of the elected officials noted here over many years as a leader in the Democratic Party.

  3. Sandi White on August 16, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    As a community leader/ activist in the Arts Community and political arena, as well as a fine artist, I would love to help coordinate the Arts Caucus… it’s a natural fit for me!!!

  4. […] View a growing list of NEO Arts and Culture Caucus members at […]

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