Update on Support for Artists in 2017

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture is committed to supporting artists in Cuyahoga County. At our November board meeting, we proposed a new direction for supporting individual artists in 2017.

UPDATE: There will be no vote or board action on individual artist support at the December 12 meeting.


At this time, we have no proposal for a fellowship program from National Arts Strategies.

In the last few days, National Arts Strategies, a potential partner for delivering fellowship support to Cuyahoga County artists, notified us that they are not comfortable submitting a proposal at this time.

NAS wants to ensure its work can be positive and productive, and, given the disagreements that have surfaced in the community, they have decided to step back. We are disappointed by the decision, but respect it. This decision has nothing to do with their confidence in the program they were to bring to Cuyahoga County.

In the meantime, we are moving forward to identify a new way to provide support for individual artists that aligns with our mission to strengthen and inspire the community. Unfortunately, this means we will not be able to get money into the hands of artists as early as we had planned in 2017. The comprehensive, mission-aligned program we seek cannot be built in a few weeks and currently does not exist in Cuyahoga County.

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture—both board and staff—remains committed to supporting individual artists. We will keep you updated as we work through the process to find just the right program for the community and will provide ample opportunities to provide feedback to us.


The Creative Workforce Fellowship ends December 31, 2016.

We celebrate the work of the 161 artists who have received support through the Creative Workforce Fellowship. We also say thank you to the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture for their work in administering the program. The program ends on December 31, 2016.

We offered the CWF for eight years, but we have not been able to work together with CPAC to adjust the program design to better reflect our mission of strengthening the community though investments in arts and culture like we have in our other grant programs.

We will continue to provide substantive support to CPAC. In 2017, in addition to a $92,515 operating support grant, CAC staff will recommend a $60,000 grant to CPAC to support them in this time of transition, providing 14 months’ notice of the end of the CWF program.


CAC’s commitment to supporting artists in Cuyahoga County does not change.

As a public funder, it’s our responsibility to steward public dollars in a way that best serves all Cuyahoga County residents.

We will continue to develop a new approach to support artists in a way that provides flexible, meaningful dollars, while opening up a program to different types of artists and making a larger impact on our community.

We understand that some artists are opposed to the change in direction that we discussed at the November board meeting. We have also heard from many artists and organizations who support this new approach to our individual artist funding. We are taking all input under careful consideration and will continue to work to strike a balance that meets our organizational objectives and the needs of artists in the community.

Again, there will be no action or vote on this matter before our board in December. Our board will briefly discuss our new direction for individual artist funding at its meeting on December 12.

As always, Board meetings are open to the public, and the opportunity to make public comment is available. Please direct comments or questions to info@cacgrants.org, or contact us.

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CLEVELAND (November 14, 2016) – Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) will invest $14,573,833 in grants to 241 nonprofit organizations in Cuyahoga County through its 2017 grant programs. The grants, which will support arts and cultural organizations and projects of all sizes throughout Cuyahoga County in 2017, were approved by CAC’s Board of Trustees during its public meeting and celebration on Monday. More...

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CLEVELAND (November 8, 2016) – Neighborhood Connections, the small-grants and grassroots community-building program affiliated with the Cleveland Foundation, has approved $200,269 in grants to support 72 projects throughout Cleveland and East Cleveland. Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the county’s public funder for arts and culture, will co-fund 26 of the resident-led arts and culture projects through a partnership with Neighborhood Connections. More...

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