This summer, Cuyahoga County residents and visitors to Public Square in downtown Cleveland will be able to enjoy a variety of free arts and culture events. Cuyahoga Arts & Culture will support 10 new projects in Public Square with funding from National Endowment for the Arts and Group Plan Commission and in partnership with LAND studio. Arts & Culture in the Square will take place from May to August 2017 and programs and events will be free and open to the public.


“Arts & Culture in the Square is bringing additional public dollars to our community to help enliven one of Cleveland’s newly redesigned public spaces,” said CAC’s CEO + Executive Director Karen Gahl-Mills. “We’re proud to support artists and small to mid-size organizations that may not usually have the opportunity to share their work with Cuyahoga County residents in this vibrant public setting.”

“As the heart of downtown Cleveland, Public Square is the perfect setting to connect our community to new arts and culture experiences,” said Sanaa Julien, CEO of Programming & Operations at Public Square. “Through Group Plan Commission, we’re proud to invest in Arts & Culture in the Square to bring residents and visitors to our recently renovated and inviting public park.”

Through Arts & Culture in the Square, CAC will invest $100,000 to help bring new ideas to life and connect residents to programs in Public Square. Selected projects and events include:

  • Brendan Trewella: “Common Threads” is a participatory, large-scale art installation that utilizes a series of circular shapes with wooden pegs outlining the shape. 
  • Cleveland Opera Theater: “Opera for All” is a free summer concert series.
  • Daniel Gray-Kontar: “Poetry for the People” will share slam poetry with residents by hosting three mock poetry slams.
  • Famicos Foundation: “Fresh in the Square” will provide fresh music, food, dance and graffiti art for youth.
  • Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center: “Fiesta Latina at the Square” is a lively and colorful one day event with music and hands-on activities.
  • Karamu House: “An Evening of Jazz and Blues” will feature live music.
  • Lake Erie Ink: “Story Building in the Square” will inspire and engage folks in the act of "building" stories using giant word blocks.
  • Literary Cleveland: “Crossing Borders: Immigrant Narratives” is a free staged reading of original work by local writers on the theme of immigration.
  • Pandora Robertson: “Incendiaries in the Square” is a performance based on the 1966 Hough uprising. Cleveland history is brought to life by actors, a post-show discussion and workshop. 
  • Roots of American Music: “Rust Belt Roots: A Family Day of Music” will feature musical entertainers and teaching artists.

A committee of local residents reviewed and recommended project ideas based on their feasibility and potential to enliven Public Square. The committee included: Cavana Faithwalker (Left Thumbprint Solutions), Jason Estremera (Hispanic Business Center, Trunk Collective), James Jones (East End Neighborhood House), Sanaa Julien (Group Plan Commission), Kamla Lewis (City of Shaker Heights), Garry Regan (Grove Programming at Mayfield Village), and Nora Romanoff (LAND studio).

Arts & Culture in the Square events will take place from May to August 2017.  All events will be free, open to the public, and listed on CAC’s events calendar, Cuyahoga County residents and visitors are encouraged to attend.

Learn more about the Call for Participation below:


Artists/makers living in Cuyahoga County can submit project ideas. Artists can request up to $5,000.

An artist/maker is any individual practicing arts and culture. Our definition for arts and culture is based on the Ohio Revised Code. According to the Code, arts and culture includes, but is not limited to, performance, literature, visual arts, architecture, science, history and natural history.

Learn more about the opportunity for artists here.


Small to mid-sized organizations* receiving a General Operating Support or Project Support grant from CAC in 2017 can submit ideas (see the list). Organizations can request up to $20,000 for each project.

*For the purpose of this program, CAC defines small to mid-sized organizations as those with operating budgets up to $3 million.

Learn more about the opportunity for organizations here.