Advancing the Arts in Your Community

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Arts Advancement

A vibrant arts and cultural community has long been one of Cleveland’s greatest assets, and the Cleveland Foundation is committed to supporting and enriching our vast array of arts and cultural organizations. We have created major initiatives to bolster the arts in our community. In addition, we seek to be responsive to the changing needs of these organizations, and we welcome grant requests.

Arts & Culture Initiatives

Our proactive grantmaking focuses on several initiatives:

Creative Fusion

Creative Fusion is an urban-based, community-engaged residency program for international artists created by the Cleveland Foundation.The program consists of two, three-month residencies in Cleveland in the spring and fall each year.  Each residency period hosts up to six artists from cultures not well represented currently in Cleveland’s professional arts sector.

The program is primarily interested in artists from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, New Zealand and Australia. Invited artists get the opportunity to develop new work and share a contemporary view of their culture with our community.

Artists are nominated for the program by a panel of international nominators. Cleveland cultural organizations are able to select an artist from this pool of vetted nominees to serve as the artist’s host and creative home. The host organization is fully responsible for the artist, providing housing, transportation, orientation to Cleveland and other supports. The host also provides the conditions to support new creative work, creative exchange with local artists and for engagement with the Cleveland community – in particular with young people. Host organizations receive a grant from the foundation that covers all major costs of the residency. Learn more about the program.

Engaging the Future

Ronn Richard

Engaging the Future is the Cleveland Foundation’s audience development initiative aimed at helping our vital arts institutions adapt to shifting demographics, technologies, and tastes, and attract the younger audiences they need to survive.

The Cleveland Foundation has partnered with EmcArts to work with 11 Cleveland cultural institutions as they create innovative approaches for engaging younger and more diverse audiences.

  • Read this Plain Dealer story about Engaging the Future.
  • Watch this video from the first daylong seminar for the initiative.
  • Check out audio postcards from the participating organizations as they explain their starting conditions and current priorities.
Evaluators Report

Prior to the launch of Engaging the Future, the Cleveland Foundation carried out an Arts Advancement Program for Mid-Sized Arts Organizations, which targeted five at-risk cultural organizations.  Over three years, we provided grants, conducted seminars, and offered various other programming to help these organizations strengthen their leadership teams and improve their growth capacity and sustainability.

You can download an evaluation of this program by Annabel Jackson Associates. The firm has extensive international experience in the area of arts program evaluation, with more than 250 projects completed in the past 20 years.
Download Report

Other Arts & Culture Initiatives

Cleveland Institute of Art student painting

The Cleveland Foundation invests in developing supportive public policy for the arts.

We provided leadership to establish the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture and worked vigorously for the 2007 passage of Issue 18, a Cuyahoga County-wide tax that generates operating revenue for the arts sector. Funds from this tax are administered by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.

Both of these important developments emerged from recommendations in the foundation’s 1996 “Civic Study on the Performing Arts.”

Recent Arts and Culture Grants

  • $1.4 million for Engaging the Future, an audience development initiative aimed at helping arts institutions attract nontraditional, diverse audiences to supplement current patrons
  • $860,000 to Playhouse Square Foundation, to create a new theater complex to showcase more local productions and to host a residency for a foreign artist
  • $275,000 to Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio, to support initiatives including Art Works
  • $125,000 to the Cleveland Film Society, for the 36th Cleveland International Film Festival
  • $100,000 to the Cleveland Festival of Arts and Technology, for the 2011 and 2012 Ingenuity festivals
  • $20,000 to the Progressive Arts Alliance, for strategic planning
  • $20,000 to Opera Circle, for production costs related to its 2011-12 season and expanded concert series