What to Expect at CAC’s April Board Meeting: Grant Guidelines, Support for Artists & More

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture’s Board of Trustees will meet April 17, 2017, 4:00 pm at Ensemble Theatre. The major focus of the meeting will be the Board discussion and action on the 2018-19 General Operating Support and 2018 Project Support guidelines. View the agenda and handout materials for this meeting.

CAC continues its work to develop approaches that will provide meaningful support for individual artists. Updates will be offered at the meeting, but as planned, the issue does not appear on the April 2017 agenda and the Board will take no action. CAC staff is working toward having a proposal, grounded in key elements affirmed by the Board in December 2016, for Board approval in September 2017. Because the issue does not appear on the agenda, public comment about support for artists will be welcome at the end of the regular business meeting in line with our public comment policy.

Here are four things you can expect at Monday’s meeting:

  1. Conversation & Action on Guidelines for 2018 Project Support and 2018-19 General Operating Support. CAC will seek Board approval on a few changes: minor updates to definitions for funding criteria; simplified Project Support II eligibility check and application processes, to reduce barriers to funding; and updates to the Project Support I maximum request amount formula (from 20% of past year’s arts/cultural expenses in 2017 to 15% in 2018) and maximum grant amount (from $35,000 in 2017 to $30,000 in 2018), to continue to provide meaningful grants through this growing grant program. 
    Also of note, CAC will seek Board approval on exempting eligible General Operating Support organizations from CAC’s application and public panel process for GOS funding in 2018-19. This change is in response to years of cultural partner feedback. CAC staff sought input from more than 200 individuals and made follow-up calls to all 58 organizations in the current cohort. 95% percent of survey respondents were in favor of the new approach (panel exemption, with the option for any group to opt-in to a panel that will be held for new applicants in October 2017).
  3. An Update on Individual Artist Support. Since our last Board meeting, CAC staff have worked toward:
    - Assembling a planning team of local community leaders/artists who will work over the next five months to propose new approaches for artist support for CAC in 2017 and beyond. The group will be composed primarily of artists, and CAC is committed to making sure the process is inclusive. We anticipate that this group will host several large, open-to-the-public artist gatherings to create a space to learn what’s on artists’ minds and what types of support would be meaningful and help them work in their communities. 
    - Continuing to learn from other public agencies. CAC is working with Americans for the Arts (AFTA) to update existing CAC research to benchmark how other public agencies across the country fund and support individual artists. The community planning team will consider this information when making their recommendations. 
    - Implementing a new approach to supporting artists. As part of CAC’s Arts & Culture in the Square opportunity, artists could apply for up to $5,000 to carry out projects in Public Square. We received submissions from 25 artists, and with the help of a local review committee, will determine funding amounts in the coming weeks. This does not replace the need for CAC to provide flexible funds to artists. 
  5. Research to Help Cultural Partners. CAC staff will seek approval to engage TRIAD Research for a statistically significant telephone survey of Cuyahoga County residents to assess awareness of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, resident participation in arts and cultural activities, barriers to attendance, and perceptions and satisfaction relating to countywide arts and cultural programming. Cultural partners can use the findings to help guide their work.
  7. Honoring Trustee Steve Minter. Steve has generously given 10 years of service to the CAC Board and was elected its first president at CAC’s first Board meeting in April 2007. His term ends this year. Please join us for a reception in his honor following the Board meeting.
Please contact us at info@cacgrants.org or 216-515-8303 with any questions or ideas, or to set up a meeting with CAC staff. We hope to see you at Monday’s meeting.