mission & history

What is Cuyahoga Arts & Culture?

In 2006, voters in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, approved a 10-year tax on cigarettes to support arts and culture organizations. Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, a political subdivision of the State of Ohio, is the organization that administers those public funds by making grants to qualified organizations based in Cuyahoga County. We are one of the largest local public funders of arts and culture in the nation, investing more than $15 million each year in organizations of all sizes and disciplines. We are governed by a five-member Board of Trustees and are served by a full-time staff of seven.

Our Mission and Vision

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture’s mission is to inspire and strengthen the community by investing in arts and culture. Since 2007, CAC has invested more than $112 million dollars in 237 arts and cultural organizations throughout the County.

CAC’s vision for its first ten years of public funding for arts and culture is to help build stronger, more resilient arts and culture organizations, create vibrant and energetic neighborhoods infused with culture, and establish Cuyahoga County as a hub of creative activity and a destination for artists. CAC’s work strengthens our community by supporting education, investing in our local economy, and enhancing our quality of life.

At Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, we take our responsibility as stewards of these dollars seriously. To that end, CAC:

  • spends public funds in line with its guiding principles: accountability, impartiality, transparency, and partnership.

  • consistently receives the highest audit rating from the State of Ohio, with no audit findings or comments; a link to CAC’s most recent audit is available online.

  • keeps administrative costs low, to ensure that the vast majority of revenue is spent as grants to Cuyahoga County’s arts and culture organizations.

  • constantly improves grant-making processes and procedures to ensure that they are fair, consistent, objective, and conducted in public.

Grant Programs

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture funds arts and culture organizations in Cuyahoga County through its two main grant programs: General Operating Support and Project Support.

CAC’s General Operating Support grant program provides two years of unrestricted, core support for established arts or cultural organizations that benefit the public and are artistically or culturally vibrant. The program funds Cuyahoga County-based nonprofits with: a primary mission to create, produce, present or provide arts or cultural services for the public; a history of vibrant artistic or cultural programming; and strong organizational capacity. Through its General Operating Support program, CAC funds approximately 60 arts and culture organizations in Cuyahoga County each year, from world-class performing arts ensembles and museums, to community-based arts and cultural organizations. View a full list of CAC grant recipients by year.

Through its Project Support grant program, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture promotes the breadth of arts and culture programming in our community by supporting Cuyahoga County-based arts and culture projects. In 2014, through its Project Support program, CAC will fund 139 projects in Cuyahoga County, including community art and music festivals, public art projects, performing arts, visual arts, dance, art and music therapy programs, community history projects, and many more.View a full list of CAC grant recipients by year.

In February 2013, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture launched its Creative Culture Grants program, a new pilot grant program in which CAC awarded up to $150,000 each to two large-scale arts or culture projects selected by residents through a public voting process.

And, CAC supports individual artists in Cuyahoga County through the Creative Workforce Fellowship, which is administered by the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture.

County-Wide Impact

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture’s impact reaches every corner of Cuyahoga County: in 2012, arts and culture organizations funded by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture offered programs in 1,889 unique locations in Cuyahoga County, in nearly all of Cuyahoga County’s 59 municipalities. And, our community has felt the impact of CAC in meaningful ways:

  • CAC enriches our community by improving our quality of life. In 2011, CAC-funded arts and culture organizations served more than 6.1 million residents and visitors, with 50 percent of admissions free.

  • CAC enhances education for people of all ages, from pre-K to grade schools to senior centers. In 2011, CAC-funded organizations served more than 1.4 million children.

  • CAC contributes to our local economy. In 2011, CAC-funded organizations supported a workforce of nearly 9,000, and for every $1 CAC invested in arts and culture, nearly $20 was pumped back into our economy.

Reports to the Community