As Northeast Ohio arts organizations endure the recent Covid spike, which has led to canceled performaces and exhibitions, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture is hoping that the $11.6 million in grants it’ll distribute in 2022 to 249 nonprofits will bring a measure of relief as the pandemic continues to take its toll.
“Our grantees look to us for reliable support, and we are happy we can provide that this year, despite declining revenues, because the past 18 months have been so difficult,” said Jake Sinatra, Manager – special projects & communications for CAC. “For some organizations, CAC funding may mean they won’t have to cut staff or cancel a program. This past year has been just as challenging as 2020 for the groups we fund – if not more.”
Grants range from $14,000 to $1.2 million and support nonprofits whose chief mission is to provide arts or cultural services for the public. CAC welcomes four new organizations to General Operating Support for 2022: Cleveland Ballet, Cleveland Classical Guitar Society, Collective Arts Network and Doan Brook Watershed Partnership. CAC has also increased its funding to Black, Indigenous, Person of Color (BIPOC)-led and -serving organizations by 18% in 2022 from 2021 and promises to work with Assembly for the Arts to advocate for ARPA dollars from the city to provide relief to nonprofit organizations funded through CAC.
“We are excited to invest nearly $12 million into arts and culture organizations across Cuyahoga County. Our agency feels it is important to keep our grantmaking as steady and as transparent as possible for our grantees, especially because the past 18 months have been so difficult financially for them, and these grants represent our sustained support,” said Jill M. Paulsen, CAC’s executive director. “We are very grateful to these 249 organizations that have kept arts and culture alive for county residents during the pandemic. Their creativity, commitment to their mission and resilience are top notch.”
To put things into perspective, it’s important to examine the numbers from CAC’s annual report. As of December 31, 2020, CAC-funded organizations suffered great losses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic and saw revenues decrease nearly 30%.
In efforts to assist grant recipients impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, CAC fast-tracked over $5 million in 2020 grant payments and distributed $3 million in CARES Act Funds provided by Cuyahoga County. During 2020, 6,539 arts-centered events were canceled due to COVID-19, from music lessons to in-school art education to large-scale festivals. In 2020, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture invested more than $12 million in grants to support 295 arts and cultural nonprofits across the county.
CAC is funded solely by a 1.5% cent per cigarette tax and is the largest local public funder of arts and cultural experiences in Cuyahoga County.