Residents speak up for arts and culture

In November of 2006, after 10 years of community-wide effort, Cuyahoga County voters approved a ballot measure to provide a significant and sustainable stream of local public support for the county’s widely celebrated arts and cultural assets.

With widespread support on both sides of the Cuyahoga, Issue 18 — a 10-year, one-and-a-half-cent-per-cigarette tax — passed with 56 percent of the vote. The support came at the right time in Cuyahoga County, where the loss of population, jobs, and corporations had begun to erode a once abundant supply of sponsorship dollars, donors, members, and ticket-buyers.

The effort, spearheaded by the Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, business people, artists, and civic leaders, brought flexible, general operating support dollars and project support funds to allow arts and culture organizations of all shapes and sizes to deliver on their missions, impact the community, and connect with Cuyahoga County residents and visitors.

In 2007, CAC distributed its first grant. These public funds – once as much as $19-million annually – provide more dedicated arts support than any private foundation in Cuyahoga County and more than many well-known national foundations.


Explore our decade of difference in local arts and culture.