Arts and Culture Leaders Urge Cleveland Policymakers to Invest in COVID-Impacted Nonprofits, Artists, Businesses

Federal ARPA Funds Would Offset Cleveland Job Declines, $146M in Lost Revenue

October 25, 2021 - Today, Assembly for the Arts and Cuyahoga Arts & Culture presented to the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) working group of Cleveland City Council.

The organizations requested at least $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to help Cleveland nonprofits, businesses, and artists - all of whom serve Cleveland residents – recover from COVID and invest in the creative economy.

This allocation would address ARPA funding priorities in areas such as community and economic development, public health, housing, education, racial inequities, and disproportionately impacted populations through collaborations with local artists, arts nonprofits, and creative businesses. City ARPA funding would support Cleveland-based creative economy jobs, helping thousands recover from pandemic losses.

COVID-19 placed an unprecedented strain on the creative economy in Cleveland, and no one in the sector went untouched, from arts and culture nonprofits to businesses and individual artists who experienced losses unseen since the Great Recession. The sector in greater Cleveland lost 50% of its jobs and $146 million in revenues during pandemic, resulting in $30 million in lost wages. Prior to the pandemic, the creative economy in the Cleveland MSA generated $9.1 billion annually.

There is precedent nationwide for this request. Cities have made significant investments of ARPA resources for arts and culture, including Cincinnati ($8 million), Toledo and Lucas County ($5 million), Milwaukee ($10 million) and Seattle ($22 million).

If the City provides funding, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture would disseminate 2/3 to Cleveland-based arts and culture nonprofits with Assembly granting the remaining 1/3 to Cleveland artists and for-profit creative businesses.

About Assembly for Arts and Cuyahoga Arts & Culture

Assembly for the Arts is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, formerly Arts Cleveland, strengthening and supporting those who create, present, experience and appreciate all forms of arts and culture. Assembly is especially attentive to the needs of BIPOC artists, nonprofits, and small creative businesses. Broadly, our work is focused on achieving the following: 1) Expand the pie of financial, technical, and capacity support for the arts and cultural sector, and 2) Increase equity to support BIPOC and historically disadvantaged communities within the sector

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) is one of the largest local public funders for arts and culture in the nation, helping hundreds of organizations in Cuyahoga County connect millions of people to cultural experiences each year. Cuyahoga County residents created Cuyahoga Arts & Culture in 2006 when they approved a tax to support arts and culture in our community. Since then, CAC has invested more than $207 million in more than 436 organizations both large and small, making our community more vibrant. In all areas of our work, CAC is striving to promote racial equity and inclusion.


Media Contact:
Malissa Bodmann