2021 Report to the Community
Student Artwork: Art House, Inc. CAC-funded 15 years
In 2021, the impact of the taxpayer dollars we collect and distribute had an even more profound effect on arts and culture organizations of all shapes and sizes during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations funded by CAC reported more than $171 million in lost revenues from March 2020 through December 2021, impacting the employment of more than 5,000 people.
CAC’s funding helps to sustain the county’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations. That’s why, despite CAC’s predicted declining revenue, we kept our promise to the community and maintained steady funding levels for our grant programs for the past three years.
Like many organizations, we are doing more with less, yet our support for local arts and culture organizations remains steadfast. We believe that one of the best things we can do for the creative sector is to be consistent in our funding for as long as possible.
In 2020, we worked with the nonprofit Assembly for the Arts to secure $3 million in CARES Act relief from the county for arts nonprofits. In 2022, Cuyahoga County committed to providing $1.65 million in funding made possible by the American Rescue Plan for the arts nonprofits we fund. We are grateful to our local government partners for recognizing the importance of the creative sector as a vital part of our local economy.
And, we are grateful to the nearly 300 nonprofit organizations CAC funds across Cuyahoga County for their unwavering commitment to the community. As needs changed, the arts responded. Last year, CAC-funded organizations reinvented their programming, experimented with new ways to reach audiences and worked tirelessly in service of the community. We are honored to support these organizations that offered hope and healing when we needed it the most.
As we reflect on the highs and lows of the last year, we renew our commitment to making tomorrow brighter by investing in arts and culture. And we say thank you to Cuyahoga County residents for their support of CAC.
Jill M. Paulsen
President, Board of Trustees
Photo: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – Eduardo Olmeda, CAC-funded 15 years
CAC’s annual budgeting accounts for the predicted decline in revenues based on fewer cigarette sales, the source of our revenue. For 15 straight years, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) has received a clean audit report from the Ohio Auditor of State.
Since March 2020 through December 2021, 65 nonprofit organizations in CAC’s General Operating Support grant program reported:
Photo: India Festival USA, CAC-funded 4 years
Photo: Valley Art Center, CAC-funded 15 years
Each dot represents the location of a CAC-funded program or event in 2021.
Photo: The Children’s Museum of Cleveland – Hattie Kotz, CAC-funded 15 years
Photo: Hospice of Western Reserve,
CAC-funded 12 years
Art as therapy is not a new concept, but it has gained momentum as Cuyahoga County residents sought ways to process their emotions during COVID. Hospice of the Western Reserve and Art Therapy Studio responded by making their art therapy programs more accessible.
Hospice of the Western Reserve moved its in-person bereavement workshops to a virtual format, sending supplies to participants’ homes and breaking up the session into two parts, which allowed more time for people to share their feelings and discuss their grief, said Mollie Borgione, a board certified art therapist with Hospice of the Western Reserve. The change was so well received the organization will continue to offer a virtual option for workshops.
“We focus on how to get through your grief and what you can do to help yourself,” she said. “Friends and family may not get it, but when you’re with people who know what you’re going through, it’s easier to share and process your feelings.”
Art Therapy Studio increased its outreach in the community in 2021 to help young students develop social and emotional skills when school was virtual. Working with residents of Lakeview Terrace at the homework center at Malachi Center in Ohio City and with after-school programs at five libraries in the Cuyahoga County Public Library system, therapists fostered skills, such as sharing and communication, or helped kids work through the stress of the pandemic, said Michelle Epps, Art Therapy Studio’s Executive Director.
On the surface, the activities seem just like fun, but there’s purpose behind them. Making slime is a sensory experience and promotes self-soothing. A group art activity that purposely lacks enough scissors and glue sticks encourages collaboration and sharing. Making beaded bracelets with power words, such as “love” or “courage,” helps to build self-esteem.
“Sometimes kids just need a safe space to do art. Other times, kids need help for intense behavioral issues,” Epps said. “We have 11 therapists in the community, and most are always working on site with a community partner. In the last few years, there has been an increased recognition of the effectiveness of art therapy interventions.”
Photo: Community Cup Classic Foundation, CAC-funded 2 years
The Community Cup Classic Foundation hosts a monthly series of multi-generational programs showcasing the legacy of baseball’s Negro Leagues and the African American experience in baseball. It also brings necessary health screenings to neighborhoods.
Its programs highlight how the Negro League’s players’ experiences reflect American society and culture and provide inspiration and encouragement to those facing similar challenges today. But, Community Cup Classic Foundation’s reach goes beyond baseball history.
At in-person events, the organization works with local health partners to offer screenings, vaccines and education that address Social Determinants of Health, such as lead, high blood pressure and cancers.
“Our Community Cup experiences overlap so many things. It’s not always about baseball. It’s crossed with history and what is happening politically, and we’re meeting residents where they are to improve health equity in urban neighborhoods,” said Juan Goodwin, co-leader of The Community Cup Classic Foundation.
Photo: The Movement Project – Black Valve, CAC-funded 5 years
Photo: Cavani Quartet,
CAC-funded 3 years
The Cavani String Quartet’s ground-breaking project Beyond Beethoven, included a concert series in 2021, which showcased culturally diverse composers from across the world, intertwined with the complete string quartets of Ludwig van Beethoven.
For Beyond Beethoven, Cavani Quartet collaborated with several CAC-funded organizations: The Music Settlement, Arts Renaissance Tremont, The Cleveland Chamber Music Society, and the Cleveland Orchestra Education and Community Engagement Program. Interfacing with young artists across the Cleveland area, Cavani Quartet performed artist residencies at Cleveland School of the Arts, Cleveland Heights High School, Lakewood High School, and Strongsville High School.
The project also gave 100 student string musicians from those high schools a chance of a lifetime – to perform with the Cavani Quartet at Severance Hall in December 2021.
“When we got up on that stage, there was such a feeling of love and teamwork before we even played a note. The students just loved the process of learning a brand-new work as well as a movement of Beethoven and the process of attaining a performance at the highest level,” said Cavani Quartet Founder and Violinist Annie Fullard. “We try to engage young people to learn how to trust their strengths through art, and when they do, the sky’s the limit.”
Fullard added that CAC’s support was instrumental. “We really appreciate that CAC supports projects such as Beyond Beethoven. CAC makes it possible to collaborate and thrive in the incredible Cleveland arts community.”
Photo: Nature Center at Shaker Lakes – Perkoski Photography,
CAC-funded 15 years
In September 2021, the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes completed a five-year campaign to restore and enhance its trails and outdoor classroom facilities.
The Nature Center now offers a variety of outdoor amenities to help people of all ages and abilities connect with nature, including an extensive ADA-accessible trail network, a treehouse, nature play area, and outdoor amphitheater.
“CAC’s general operating support and CARES Act funding helped sustain our operations and programming throughout the challenges of COVID-19, allowing us to focus on long-term investments in our mission. Our investment in the Nature Center’s outdoor classroom could not have come at a better time, as people flocked to parks and outdoor spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw a three-fold increase in visitation when the pandemic began, and we had over 140,000 visits during 2021,” said Nature Center President & CEO Kay Carlson.
Photo: Slavic Village Development, CAC-funded 8 years
With support from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, three local nonprofits provided critical funding and resources to more than 30 local artists in 2021. The 2021 Support for Artists (SFA) grants to Karamu House, SPACES, and Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center offered access to space, funding, and other resources to local artists – with priority for artists who have been historically marginalized or underrepresented.
Creativity is everywhere – including our neighborhoods. That’s why CAC makes grants to Neighborhood Connections and ioby, two nonprofits that empower Cuyahoga County residents to make art and share inspiration with one another.
Implemented the Cuyahoga Arts & Culture Match Program and directed $177,284 to 32 local arts and culture projects.
To date, CAC’s investment of $185,000 in match funds has supported residents to raise an additional $235,241 for a total of more than $420,000 for 77 projects led by Cuyahoga County residents.
Invested nearly $44,000 in CAC funding into 33 projects in Cleveland and East Cleveland neighborhoods through the Neighbor Up Action Grants Program.
To date, CAC has invested $720,000 to co-fund more than 420 projects through this grant.
CAC is proud to support hundreds of nonprofits that bring arts and culture to residents across Cuyahoga County in 2022.