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Arts Groups Share $11.8M In Funding From Cuyahoga Arts & Culture

Playhouse Square received $1,164,989, the largest grant this funding cycle. [Kenneth Sponsler/Shutterstock]

Just under $12 million in grant funding is going to area orchestras, dance groups and other cultural organizations in 2020 from the cigarette tax revenue distributed by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture (CAC). The grantees were revealed at the CAC board meeting Wednesday night.

Sixty-five arts non-profits will share a little over $10 million in the form of general operating support (GOS). There are four new GOS grantees this year: Ingenuity Cleveland, Ensemble Theater, the Art Therapy Studio and Dunham Tavern. Another $1.6 million will fund special projects.

CAC's interim executive director Jill Paulsen notes that, for the first time, all project grant recipients were asked to identify themselves according to the diversity of their leadership and whom they serve.

“We had 34 percent of our organizations and project support [recipients] identify as being run, led by and for people of color. So, I think that's a great new data point for us,” she said. 

The board's enthusiasm over the grant announcements was somewhat tempered by a financial report tracking how cigarette revenues continue to decline. While community efforts are afoot elsewhere to identify future sources of arts funding, Paulsen said CAC is putting limits on its grants to spread the remaining money to more recipients. Project grants are now capped at $25,000 (down from $30,000) and GOS funding will go no higher than last year's grants. $1,164,989 to Playhouse Square was the highest.

“This year was the first year we did put a cap on our grant making,” Paulsen said. “The largest grant was capped so that we could begin to try to move some dollars downward to understand that organizations of all sizes are important.”

ideastream receives support from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture

Here's a listing of the 2020 grant recipients

Grant Recipient

Grant Amount

AfricaHouse International


America Asian Pacific Islander Organization


America SCORES Cleveland


American Hungarian Friends of Scouting


Apollo's Fire


Aradhana Committee


Art House


Art Song Festival


Art Therapy Studio


Artists Archives of the Western Reserve


Arts Cleveland


Arts in Strongsville


Arts Renaissance Tremont


ATNSC: Center for Healing & Creative Leadership*


Baldwin Wallace University


Baseball Heritage Museum


Bay Village Community Band




Beachwood Arts Council


Beachwood Historical Society


Beck Center for the Arts


Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging


Berea Arts Fest


Bethlehem Community Health*


Big Creek Connects


Blazing River Freedom Band


Bodwin Theatre Company*


BorderLight Festival of International Theatre Cleveland


Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland


Brite Cleveland


Broadway School of Music and the Arts


Brooklyn Heights Service Clubs


Burning River Baroque


Burten, Bell, Carr, Development


Campus District Inc.


Carolyn L. Farrell Foundation


Case Western Reserve University


Catholic Charities Corporation


Cavani String Quartet


Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District


Celebrate the Arts Performance Academy


Center for Arts-Inspired Learning


Cesear's Forum


Chagrin Documentary Film Festival


Chagrin Foundation for Arts & Culture


Chagrin Valley Little Theatre


ChamberFest Cleveland


Children's Museum of Cleveland


Choral Arts Society of Cleveland


CityMusic Cleveland


Cleveland Ballet


Cleveland Botanical Garden


Cleveland Chamber Choir


Cleveland Chamber Collective


Cleveland Chamber Music Society


Cleveland Chamber Symphony


Cleveland Classical Guitar Society


Cleveland Clinic


Cleveland Composers Guild


Cleveland Contemporary Chinese Culture Association


Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation


Cleveland Grays Armory Museum


Cleveland Institute of Art


Cleveland Institute of Music


Cleveland International Film Festival


Cleveland International Piano Competition


Cleveland Jazz Orchestra


Cleveland Kids' Book Bank


Cleveland Leadership Center


Cleveland Museum of Art


Cleveland Museum of Natural History


Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra


Cleveland Play House


Cleveland POPS Orchestra


Cleveland Print Room


Cleveland Public Theatre


Cleveland Rape Crisis Center


Cleveland Restoration Society


Cleveland Rocks: Past Present and Future


Cleveland School of the Arts Board of Trustees


Cleveland Seed Bank


Cleveland Shakespeare Festival


Cleveland TOPS Swingband


Cleveland Treatment Center


Cleveland Uncommon Sound Project*


Cleveland Vegan Society


Cleveland Women's Orchestra




Connecting for Kids


Contemporary Youth Orchestra




Coventry Village Special Improvement District


Cudell Improvement


Cuyahoga River Community Planning






Dancing Classrooms Northeast Ohio


Dancing Wheels


Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization


Doan Brook Watershed Partnership


Dobama Theatre


Downtown Cleveland Alliance


Duffy Liturgical Dance Ensemble


Dunham Tavern Museum


Earth and Air: String Orchestra*


Edward E. Parker Museum of Art


Eliza Bryant Village


ENCORE Chamber Music Institute


Ensemble Theatre


Environmental Health Watch


Errin Ministries




Euclid Beach Park Now


Famicos Foundation


Far West Center






Foluke Cultural Arts Center


Food Strong*


Friends of Euclid Creek Watershed


Friends of the East Cleveland Public Library


From Me 2 U


FrontLine Service


Front Steps Housing and Services




Gardening in the District*


Good Company: A Vocal Ensemble


Graffiti HeArt*


Great Lakes Science Center


Great Lakes Theater


Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association


Greater Cleveland Urban Film Foundation


GroundWorks DanceTheater


Harvard Community Services Center


Hasani Management*


Heights Arts


Heights Youth Theatre


Henry Johnson Center*


Hispanic Alliance


Hispanic Business Center


Hispanic Police Officers' Association*


Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation


Hospice of the Western Reserve


ICA - Art Conservation




iN Education*


India Festival USA




Inlet Dance Theatre


International Community Council


International Women's Air & Space Museum


Italian Cultural Garden Foundation


Jennings Center for Older Adults


Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland Ohio


Jewish Federation of Cleveland


Jones Road Family Development Corporation


Joseph's Home*


Joyful Noise Neighborhood Music School


Judson Services


Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center


Karamu House


Kulture Kids


Lake City Fuse


Lake Erie Ink


Lake Erie Native American Council


Lake Erie Nature & Science Center


Lake View Cemetery Foundation




Lakewood Historical Society


LAND studio


Larchmere PorchFest


LatinUs Theater Company


Les Délices


Lexington-Bell Community Center


LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland


Literary Cleveland


Little Italy Redevelopment Corporation


Little Lumpy's Center for Educational Initiatives*




Maelstrom Collaborative Arts


Malachi Center


Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage


Mandel Jewish Community Center


May Dugan Center


Mercury Theatre Company


Merrick House


MidTown Cleveland


Morgan Conservatory




Mt. Pleasant NOW Development Corporation


Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland


Music and Art at Trinity Cathedral


Musical Upcoming Stars in the Classics


NAMI Greater Cleveland


Nature Center at Shaker Lakes


Near West Theatre


Negative Space Gallery


New Avenues to Independence


NewBridge Cleveland


No Exit


North Coast Men's Chorus


North Union Farmers Market


Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope*


Notes for Notes


Ohio City Incorporated


Open Doors Academy


Organization of Chinese Americans Greater Cleveland


P.A.L.S. for Healing


Parma Area Fine Arts Council


Parma Heights Historical Society*


Playhouse Square


Playwrights Local


Polish Village Parma


Praxis: Integrated Fiber Workshop


Progressive Arts Alliance


Quire Cleveland


Rainey Institute


Reaching Heights


Refresh Collective


Restore Cleveland Hope


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum


RollinBuckeyez Foundation


Roots of American Music


Sankofa Fine Art Plus


Schuhplattler und Trachtenverein Bavaria


Shaker Arts Council


Shaker Historical Society


Shore Cultural Centre


Slavic Village Development


Slovenian Museum and Archives


SOS: Strengthening Our Students




Suburban Symphony Orchestra


Symphony West


Talespinner Children's Theatre


Tender Hearts Crusades*


The Brecksville Theatre


The Cassidy Theatre


The City Club of Cleveland


The Cleveland Opera


The Cleveland Orchestra


The Harvard Square Center


The Movement Project


The Music Settlement


The Musical Theater Project


The Refugee Response*


The Roberto Ocasio Foundation


The Sculpture Center


The Singing Angels


Thea Bowman Center


Transformer Station


Tremont West Development Corporation


Ukrainian Museum-Archives


Union Miles Development Corporation


University Circle Inc.


University Hospitals


UpStage Players


Ursuline College


Valley Art Center


Verb Ballets


Wake Up And Live’s Actors Studio


Waterloo Arts


West Creek Conservancy


West Shore Chorale


West Side Catholic Center


West Side Community House


Western Reserve Chorale


Western Reserve Fire Museum


Western Reserve Historical Society


Western Reserve Land Conservancy


Westlake Chinese Culture Association


Westlake-Westshore Arts Council*


Westown Community Development Corporation


Windsong, Cleveland's Feminist Chorus*


Women In History


Woodland Cemetery Foundation


Zygote Press


*Denotes first time CAC grant recipient.

David C. Barnett was a senior arts & culture reporter for Ideastream Public Media. He retired in October 2022.