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CARES Act Funds Approved to Help Cuyahoga Arts & Culture Nonprofits

Photo Credit: Bob Perkowski

Nearly $2.7 Million Will Be Available for CAC Grant Recipients Who Incurred Losses Due to COVID-19

UPDATE (October 27, 2020) – Cuyahoga Arts & Culture anticipates releasing the guidelines and application for CARES funding by November 2, 2020.

CLEVELAND (October 16, 2020) – Arts and culture organizations funded through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture will have access to nearly $2.7 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds approved this week by Cuyahoga County.

In addition to $2.66 million to be distributed through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the County approved $1.34 million for artists and for-profit performing arts venues to be distributed through Arts Cleveland. The arts and culture sector in the County has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 65 non-profit organizations funded by CAC reporting laying off, furloughing or cancelling the contracts of 2,533 people, resulting in a loss of compensation totaling $8,126,840, and a revenue loss of $41,725,615 through June 2020.

CAC’s Executive Director Jill M. Paulsen said the funding is vitally important to the hard-hit arts and culture sector in the county.

“Recent studies show the arts and culture sector might be one of the last to recover from the pandemic – taking up to five years. We want to do everything we can to help our nonprofit arts organizations keep their staff employed and make necessary steps to adapt and continue to serve residents,” Paulsen said. “CAC is here to support our organizations for the long haul, and we want to help them to continue to offer programs virtually or by implementing CDC health protocols.”

CAC will distribute funds to eligible CAC grant recipients that have a primary mission of arts and culture. The funds are meant to help cover necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and will range in size depending on organizations’ current CAC funding levels. Eligible recipients will be required to demonstrate eligible expenses for CARES reimbursement, which include business interruption costs, mitigation expenses for re-opening, and expenses incurred to transition to virtual programming.

Funding was secured through a collaborative effort between Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Arts Cleveland, the Arts & Culture Action Committee, and the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the National Independent Venues Association.

Current grant recipients can request a notification when funding is available here.

For more information on the intended uses of the CARES Act funding, view the US Treasury’s FAQ here.

CAC accelerated payment of more than $5 million in grants earlier this year to help provide additional relief to the arts and culture organizations it funds. The agency expects to ask the Board to approve a proposal to keep funding stable for grants in 2021, despite declining revenue.

“Our organizations have told us they want stability in their CAC grants, and during the pandemic, they’re counting on us more than ever before,” Paulsen said. “We will be by their sides now and when the economy recovers to make sure they can continue to serve residents of the county safely.”

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) is one of the largest 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. Since 2006, CAC has invested more than $195 million in 420 organizations both large and small, making our community a more vibrant place to live, work and play. For more information, visit

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CAC Staff