Dozens of Northeast Ohio Arts and Culture Community Concerned About Support for Individual Artists | News


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by David C. Barnett

A large cross section of Northeast Ohio’s arts community gathered on Monday to voice concerns about funding individual artists through a tax on cigarettes. Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, which manages tax revenue, heard two hours of testimony.

Just over a week ago, the arts agency planned to vote on hiring a Washington DC-based nonprofit — National Arts Stategies — to run the County of Cuyahoga which funds individual artists. But, this proposal raised a number of community concerns, and the DC entrepreneur withdrew. Yesterday a few hundred people asked questions about how artists in the region are supported financially.

Zygote Press executive director Liz Maugans asked why the board considered outsourcing an advertised local funding program that was already in place. She suggested that the idea had not been properly considered.

“I hope you really take this opportunity to bring the community to weigh in,” she said, “to talk to people and to make the process really, really transparent. The CAC does a fabulous job. C is a big disappointment, because none of this I heard until November.

CCC staff have indicated that they had polled the community over the summer and would schedule further comments from county residents. Neighborhood Connections program director Tom O’Brien, which does local community building work, said the funding mechanism needs to change because artists of color don’t have a fair chance to benefit from the grants.

“How can we open this door so that more people benefit? He asked, “Especially the people who have historically been left out. I commend the Council for doing this.”

After the meeting, CCA Board Chairman Joe Gibbons said he hoped there was a way to synthesize some of the concerns expressed on Monday about the need for a new program.

ideastream is supported by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture

Earlier today, David C. Barnett, senior arts reporter for idestream, spoke about the CCA and the future of individual artist funding with idestream’s Lawrence Daniel Caswell on Facebook Live. They also answered questions. This video is below.

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