Our community listening project was an open invitation for anyone in Cuyahoga County to lend their voice to the conversation.
In 2015, residents overwhelmingly supported the renewal of the 10-year tax to support arts and culture in Cuyahoga County. As a public agency, CAC is accountable for using tax dollars wisely and in ways that benefit all residents of the county through arts and culture. Our community listening project helped us understand how best to do that. Here’s what we did:

Cultural Community Kickoff

Our community listening project began with a kickoff event with more than 175 administrators, artists, and staff from the organizations we support. This day of conversation and learning offered important perspectives and ideas that shaped our work as we prepared to make new connections with residents in Cuyahoga County.

A Short Survey

We asked people to respond to three open-ended questions. What kinds of activities do you enjoy and find meaningful? What are the places in the community that offer arts and culture experiences that are important to you? And, last, if you would like more arts and cultural opportunities, what are they? We heard from 800 residents from across Cuyahoga County.

Want to join the conversation? Complete the survey at the bottom of the page.

One-on-one conversations

Knowing Cuyahoga County is broad and diverse, we took these questions to the streets—literally—by training 18 volunteers to hold real-time conversations centered on our three questions. Cuyahoga Arts & Culture’s Street Team spent more than 250 hours in the community having one-on-one conversations with more than 1,200 residents. It was important to visit community centers, libraries, farmers markets and neighborhood events to connect with a broad and diverse group of residents, representing the communities we serve.

Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church Hunger Center
Lee-Harvard, Cleveland

Cuyahoga County Public Library

Cuyahoga County Public Library
North Royalton

Collard Green Festival
East Cleveland

Clark-Fulton, Cleveland

Euclid Public Library

Family Unity in the Park
Mt. Pleasant, Cleveland

Jennings Center for Older Adults
Garfield Heights

Latino Festival and Puerto Rican Parade
Downtown Cleveland

Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries
2100 Lakeside Men’s Emergency Shelter
Downtown Cleveland

MyCom – MyPath Youth
Shaker Heights

Neighborhood Connections – Network Nights
University Circle and Buckeye, Cleveland

North Union Farmers Market
Crocker Park and Chagrin Falls

Progressive Field
Downtown Cleveland

Refugee Services Collaborative

South of Lorain Block Club
Ohio City, Cleveland

Star Spangled Spectacular at Public Square
Downtown Cleveland

Wade Oval Wednesday
University Circle, Cleveland

Learn more about the listening project Street Team here.

Listening Sessions

We also conducted guided discussions in partnership with local groups—from the Mayor’s office in Maple Heights, to the public library in Westlake, to a Care Alliance facility in Central, to a community meeting in Detroit-Shoreway. These facilitated conversations helped us dig into the questions we were exploring and connect with residents who want the best for the community, but may or may not actively participate in CAC-supported events or programs.

Read more about the results of these conversations here.

Background Research

Before launching our community listening project, we carried out six-months of qualitative and quantitative research that examined what our work has meant to Cuyahoga County since we began making grants in 2007. This “Phase I” research affirmed our position as the largest institutional funder for arts sector in Cuyahoga County and guided our approach to engaging with residents.