Deb works for Cleveland Metropolitan School District as Family and Community Engagement Coordinator. She spent the summer working on the Street Team, travelling throughout Cuyahoga County to discover what residents think about arts and culture in the community.
Why did you get involved in CAC’s organizational planning process?
I enjoy talking to people and helping them make connections between what they enjoy and what they may not know is available to them in their community.
What did you value most about participating in CAC’s community listening project?
I really enjoyed the diversity of conversations. People’s familiarity with arts and culture depended a lot on where they live. Some people are engaged in their local arts and culture. Other people identify arts and culture with the things happening in University Circle. I learned a lot, too, from people who told me about things I’ve never heard of.
I enjoyed listening to their ideas of what they wanted to see, such as more things for kids or more things for seniors. And it was important to be able to have actual conversations and treat them like people and not data points.
I also wanted to make sure we weren’t hearing from all of the same kinds of people. I pushed myself to make sure I spoke with people who didn’t look like me.
What was your favorite listening session venue?
The Latino Festival at Voinovich Park was my favorite. I wish I could do it again. I have limited Spanish speaking skills, but I wish I had been able to get the guts up to conduct some of the interviews with the Spanish speakers. And, Voinovich Park is beautiful. There’s a great view of the city. It’s something more Clevelanders need to utilize.
What is your hope for the future of CAC as the organization continues to work to strengthen the community by investing in arts/culture?
I would love to see more neighborhood-based, smaller initiatives that a lot of people asked for: smaller neighborhood driven activities that people can engage in and take ownership of. It’s also important that CAC continues engaging with the community on an ongoing basis and have a presence in different parts of the county so residents know what CAC is.