How does CAC fund artists?
Cuyahoga Arts & Culture is a political subdivision of the State of Ohio. By law, CAC can fund nonprofit organizations only. However, CAC recognizes the important role artists play in the local creative economy. CAC makes Support for Artists (SFA) grants to nonprofit organizations to regrant funds to artists and administer programs that address one or more of the following needs:
- Unrestricted monetary support
- Specific project support
- Physical spaces
- Institutional connections
- Professional development
In 2017, CAC convened a paid planning team of local artists to identify equitable and meaningful ways to support more artists in the community. The needs of artists outlined above are a direct result of their work. In late 2017, CAC’s Board of Trustees accepted the recommendations and then approved grants to the first cohort of nine nonprofits to support artists in 2018. Learn more about the Support for Artist Planning Team’s work at cacgrants.org/artists.
CAC recognizes that a healthy arts community includes artists who can access the support they need, including public funds. That is why CAC is working closely with Assembly for the Arts to expand public funding and identify additional sources of funding to grow and strengthen our creative sector. Assembly for the Arts has more funding opportunities for artists. Learn more at assemblycle.org.
How has CAC funded artists since it revamped its funding program in 2018?
Cuyahoga Arts & Culture has invested more than $1.8M in SFA grants since 2018 and has supported more than 300 artists. More than 80% of CAC-supported artists are Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC).
Note: A chart similar to the one below was circulated and contained clerical errors that underreported total artist support. The chart below is corrected as of March 16, 2023.
^Center for Performance and Civic Practice (CPCP) Learning Lab Grantees
In 2019-2020, CAC awarded 24 grants of $7,500 to nonprofit participants in CPCP’s Learning Lab program; between $5,000 - $7,000 of each grant went to a local artist.
Burten, Bell, Carr Development
Campus District Inc.
Cleveland Seed Bank
Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association
Lexington-Bell Community Center
Mt. Pleasant NOW Development Corporation
Shaker Heights Development Corporation
Doan Brook Watershed Partnership
Downtown Cleveland Alliance
Foluke Cultural Arts
Hispanic Police Officers Association
International Women's Air & Space Museum
Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center
The City Club of Cleveland
West Side Catholic Center
Why hasn’t CAC funded the Support for Artists program at $400,000 each year?
On average, since CAC’s inception, it has invested more than $400,000 each year in grants that directly support and fund artists. This is CAC’s only funding area that has remained steady despite the 47% decrease in CAC’s revenue since 2007.
- In 2017, CAC’s Support for Artist Planning Team was working on its recommendations, so no grants were made; a portion of the funds were used to support the planning team’s work, including paying for stipends to artists who worked on the planning team.
- In 2018, CAC was identifying intermediary partners; the first grants were approved in September 2018.
- In 2021, CAC spent less than its budget because grantees requested extensions due to the pandemic and program delays.
- In 2022, CAC spent less than its budget because it was working with the newly formed Assembly for the Arts to help secure $3.3M in one-time federal funding from the County, $1.65M of which went to artists and creative businesses through Assembly.
Unspent budgeted funds at CAC do not “roll over” and are not held for specific grant programs. They remain in the general fund to support CAC’s future work.
What are the current CAC-funded opportunities for artists?
In 2023, CAC has granted $400,000 to fund the following programs:
Assembly for the Arts – Creative Impact Fund
Sixteen artists will receive: $6,250 in flexible funding and project based placemaking awards; access to space to create and present art that reflects and represents the surrounding community; resources; space; professional development marketing; and connections (creative, business, and institutional). All 16 artists will also receive an Assembly membership. Learn more.
Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center – Unidos Por El Arte
Ten Cuyahoga County artists, of all disciplines, will receive $5,000 flexible funding and project-based awards and access to space to create and present art that represents and supports the Latinx community. Learn more.
Karamu House – Room in the House Artist Residency
Eight visual artists and eight performing artists will receive access to space, participate in a digital exhibition of their work, and receive marketing support. All 16 artists receive a $5,000 flexible funding award.
SPACES – The Urgent Art Fund
Twelve Cuyahoga County artists will receive $4,000 in flexible funding awards and resources, including space, tools, and professional development opportunities; to create new art that is socially, politically, or culturally responsive and help awardees establish institutional connections. Learn more.
When will 2024 opportunities for artists be announced?
Cuyahoga Arts & Culture revises its grants guidelines each April, and artist support intermediaries are recommended for funding in December of each year. Artists will know in December what CAC-supported opportunities for artists will be available in 2024.
Questions? We invite you to contact us to learn more.