Our mission is to inspire and strengthen the community by investing in arts and culture. Through our grantmaking, we support the people and organizations that create cultural experiences that are important to our residents’ health and vitality.
In mid-2015, we began an organizational planning process intended to help our public agency chart its course for the next 10 years. That work was completed in two phases:

Phase I

Phase I looked backward: we examined what our work has meant meant to Cuyahoga County since we began making grants in 2007. From that phase, we learned that:

  • CAC is the largest institutional funder for the arts sector, providing almost twice the funding of our region’s largest foundation, and our funding has been net positive for the sector.
  • CAC’s pursuit of funding arts and culture for the public’s benefit is aligned with good grantmaking practices for public agencies nationwide, even if those practices aren’t always well understood by some of our local stakeholders.
  • And, most importantly, we reaffirmed that, as a public agency, we serve two key stakeholder groups: the nonprofit organizations in our County, and the residents who live here.

Phase II

Phase II was designed in partnership with Nick Rabkin and Holly Sidford. As national experts, this collaborative work built on Rabkin and Sidford’s 2014 report , “The Public Benefits and Value of Arts & Culture.”

That work revealed that, while many residents find great value in the programs offered by area cultural organizations, many others do not feel that they benefit from those programs. We designed Phase II to help us better understand that disconnect, and we explored this key question: How can we best support the cultural life of Cuyahoga County residents today and in the future?

Phase II included extensive learning and listening, as we gathered qualitative data from over 2,000 County residents. The full findings available below include Rabkin and Sidford’s Summary of Learnings, which provides an overview of the listening project methodology, national context, and recommendations for Cuyahoga Arts & Culture to consider over the next ten years. From that work, we now answer our key question:

To best support the cultural life of Cuyahoga County residents today and in the future, CAC must:

  • Continue to support a wide variety of Cuyahoga County’s cultural institutions, artists and creative people, to develop and present arts and cultural programs to the public; and
  • Acknowledge that there are significant differences in the way arts and culture are experienced among different segments of our community, and find ways to recognize and equitably support our community’s varied cultural ecology.

To read the full findings, use the button below.

Explore the in-depth results of our community listening project in PDF form.