Wed 3/22 @ 8-10AM
Cuyahoga Arts & Culture got a rude awakening when the arts community pushed back against its attempt to quickly push through changes to the valued Creative Workforce Grants given to individual artists so drastic that the grants weren’t really about artists or art anymore. Since getting that blowback, CAC been backpedaling. The D.C. organization it was looking at to administer the new art-as-a-social-change-tool grants backed out after it became aware of the anger coming from the people in the arts community who packed its recent board meeting. CAC now says it has the funding set aside but no program in mind yet.
To justify the changes, CAC pointed to “outreach” it did last year, sending “street teams” to libraries, community center, festivals and other events to ask very general questions of people who may or may not have any connection to the arts or knowledge of the arts & culture levy. Somehow, it came to the conclusion that individual artists should bear the brunt of community outreach and problem-solving, despite getting the smallest piece of the pie.
NOW it says it will listen to those heavily invested in the arts & culture community. It has created “Voices & Vision: A Community Listening Project.” There’s lots of uplifting, inspirational, inclusive language on its website describing the project but the proof will be in the pudding — or the listening.
“What makes you feel connected to your community?” they ask. “That’s important to us. In fact, it’s essential to who we are. Cuyahoga Arts & Culture is building on our first ten years of inspiring and strengthening the community by investing in arts and culture. That’s our mission. And as we look to the future, we need to know what our community needs in order to keep leading that charge and connecting residents to thousands of arts and cultural experiences each year.”
It also needs to know what the artists producing those “experiences” need, not just more bromides about how people would like to see more artsy events in their community. CAC is holding a “Voices & Visions” Briefing and Conversation Wed 3/22 at Tri-C’s Metro Campus. We urge artists to attend if possible, even though the hour is certainly unfriendly to many types of artists.