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Local Arts Groups Reap $12M from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture for 2019

SPACES executive director Christina Vassallo talks with CAC board chair Charna Sherman about the gallery's $42,000 grant
SPACES executive director Christina Vassallo talks with CAC board chair Charna Sherman about the gallery's $42,000 grant

Local museums, dance groups, and cultural centers in Cuyahoga County are among the 282 recipients of over $12 million in public funding next year from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture (CAC).   Every fall, the agency distributes the revenue from a cigarette tax to support arts activities in Cuyahoga County.  

At a Tuesday night meeting, the CAC board signed off on general operating support for 61 organizations.  The remaining 221 grants will support specific projects by grantees ranging from India Fest USA to the Art Therapy Studio.

Among the 2019 grantees are a number of first-time recipients, including the African American Museum, the BorderLight theater festival, and the Cleveland Chamber Choir.

In other business, the CAC board also approved funding for four organizations to support individual artists in various ways.  Cleveland Public Theater, the Hispanic Business Center, LAND Studio and SPACES gallery are tasked with providing such things as space, project support and in some cases monetary support.  For instance, SPACES was awarded just over $42,000 for the creation of what executive director Christina Vassallo is calling an urgent art fund, "...which awards artists grants so that they can create new works that are socially, politically and politically responsive and where time is of the essence to create these new works."

Vassallo said grant applications will be approved within two weeks.  A total of five grants will be awarded over the course of 2019.

The relatively quiet 2019-grants announcement was a contrast to last year’s meeting where a number of general operating support recipients protested cuts in their allotments due to declining cigarette tax revenues.  Since operating support is distributed over a two-year period, there were no surprises for the 2019 recipients who will get the same amount as in 2018.  But, board member Ken Miller warned his colleagues to brace for next year’s funding announcement, which will likely reveal further funding cuts as income from the cigarette tax revenues continues to decline.

ideastream receives funding from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture

Here's a list of the 2019 grant recipients:



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