Support for Artists Planning Team Update

By Joe Gibbons, Board President, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture Board of Trustees

As the Support for Artists Planning Team begins its important work this month, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture’s Board of Trustees and staff feel it is critically important to provide our volunteer planning team with the resources they will need to incorporate broad public input as they develop recommendations on how CAC can support individual artists and creative people in the county.

At our June 12, 2017 meeting, CAC’s Board selected Community Innovation Network (Com-IN) at Case Western Reserve University to serve as independent, third-party facilitators for the planning team. Dr. Mark Chupp, Jerry Peña, Heather Lenz and Erica Merritt will guide the planning team through a detailed process to ensure diversity of voices and opinions are heard and reflected in the planning team’s final recommendations to our Board.

The Board feels strongly that to formulate the best ways to support artists and creative people in Cuyahoga County, we need broad public input. The Com-IN team has worked across the world to help strengthen and build communities, and we are confident their work will help the Planning Team determine the best way to support the needs of artists in keeping with the goals and mission of CAC.

The facilitators come to this work as unbiased resources. They will not influence the content of the recommendations. Instead, their charge is to help the Planning Team consider all points of view and to keep the Team on track as they work toward the goal of providing recommendations this fall. We believe that work of the Planning Team and Com-IN will result in beneficial and lasting change that will grow CAC’s relationship with artists and creative people moving forward.

If you have thoughts to share on how individual artists and creative people can best be supported using public dollars, we hope you will get involved. This summer, there will be several community meetings which you can attend to make your voice heard. We will make sure to post details at

A special note of thanks to the Planning Team members who have signed on to date:
  • Donald Black Jr., artist, educator, consultant – Acerbic
  • Bryan Bowser, program director and assistant professor, arts management & entrepreneurship - Baldwin Wallace University
  • Talise Campbell, artistic director - Djapo Cultural Arts Institute
  • Gwen Garth, founder & ceo - Kings & Queens of Art, board member - Cuyahoga Arts & Culture
  • Kevin Harp, artist, illustrator - Mr. Soul 216
  • Letitia Lopez, executive director - Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center
  • Liz Maugans, co-founder, executive director - Zygote Press
  • Vince Robinson, co-owner, musician - Larchmere Arts
  • Jake Sinatra, manager - special projects & communications - Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, musician
  • Christina Vassallo, executive director - SPACES
  • Marc White, regenerative specialist - Rid-All Green Partnership, fashion designer
  • Jordan Wong, designer, illustrator, artist - WONGFACE 
  • Johnny Wu, owner, producer - Media Design Imaging
How can you get involved?
  1. If you wish to volunteer, CAC will help you get involved. Contact Jake Sinatra, manager – special projects & communications at or 216-515- 8303 x103.
  2. Stay tuned to this blog for updates on the work or sign up sign up for our e-mails at
  3. Learn more about the Planning Team with this fact sheet