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About the Sector

A key to supporting the arts and culture sector is to understand what makes it tick. Learn about the arts and culture sector’s internal strengths and challenges, and the ways in which those challenges are being met creatively. 

Elevating the Influence of Arts and Culture

A history, of the tactics that contributed to successes in the Cleveland, Ohio, area to realize the fuller potential of arts and culture. You’ll also see call-out material with more concrete, universal lessons to help you apply those tactics in a variety of settings. 2018.

This is the story of how the Cuyahoga County arts and culture sector went from fiscal emergency… to securing one of the highest levels of public funding for arts and culture in the country… to becoming recognized as a national leader in creative placemaking. This playbook examines the role and lessons of Arts Cleveland as inspirator, catalyst, advocate, adviser, think tank, policy strategist, data source, convener. 

As a result of Arts Cleveland's work: 

  • Tax money has been directed for arts and culture 
  • Facilities have been built or renovated 
  • Governments have become involved
  • Creative businesses have merged or collaborated 
  • Innovative cross sector partnerships have emerged

Through Arts Cleveland’s process outlined in the playbook, organizations and communities anywhere can see what worked in Northeast Ohio and what did not.  Any one of the strategies in this playbook could be beneficial, depending on a community’s vision and current situation.  It is our hope that our story can provide other organizations with insight into how they might strengthen their own arts and culture sectors and thus their whole communities.


Culture Pulse: 5-Year Trend Analysis

Examines financial trends, such as income and expenses, as well as participation, human resource and space trends. It also compares Cuyahoga County trends with national trends and is informed by a set of three focus groups. Dive deeper into the trends and health of arts and culture as a local asset by viewing both the visually dynamic report, and the full set of data tables. 2017.

Cuyahoga County’s nonprofit arts and cultural sector thrives along many dimensions. Throughout our discussions with local arts and cultural nonprofit leaders, we heard a common thread: Cuyahoga County’s arts ecosystem benefits from arts and cultural organizations’ being open to collaborating, the high number of free arts and cultural offerings, and generous public funding. Community members attend small festivals, tour large museums, and take art classes. Artists ranging from local painters to writers to dancers to designers live, work, and share their craft in Northeast Ohio. Creativity is in the water.

Download key findings and data tables below.

View the press release and guest blog by Rachel Engh from Metris Arts Consulting in the News section.

Culture Pulse 2015

In Culture Pulse 2015, Arts Cleveland (formerly Community Partnership for Arts and Culture) takes its annual snapshot of Cuyahoga County’s arts and culture nonprofits. The report focuses on the sector’s financial, human and infrastructure resources. This allows us to uncover strengths and potential challenges facing our arts and culture. 2015.

Cuyahoga County residents have access to world-class arts and culture organizations and individual artists. Through classic and contemporary works, arts and culture is celebrating our heritage and imagining our future. Such great cultural production cannot happen without strong and well-resourced arts and culture organizations and individual artists. 

The health of the arts and culture sector is the focus of Arts Clevland’s annual snapshot of arts and culture nonprofits, Culture Pulse.


The data revealed contributed support has risen slightly, while larger gains were made in earned income for the sector. However, such revenue growth was offset sharply by declines in investment income. In light of growing endowments, being mindful of the impact of market fluctuations is one area to monitor moving forward. Foundation and government support remain critical components of the sector’s revenue.


The sector’s workforce has experienced gains in terms of full-time and part-time employment. Salaries and fringe benefits have also increased. The sector is engaging more independent contractors as well, particularly artists and performers. Despite overall workforce growth, an area to monitor is an overall decline in the number of board members for the sector.


While more organizations report owning space, the overall square footage filled by arts and culture organizations has declined. This decline is largely driven by reductions in donated space.

Why arts and culture?

Click the Infographic Link Below to download

Arts and culture provokes contemplation on issues facing our community. It enhances critical thinking skills, encourages innovative thought and challenges us to see different perspectives.

As a partner in Cleveland’s resurgence, arts and culture’s impacts are far-reaching.

  • Creative placemaking efforts are revitalizing neighborhoods and improving the quality of experiences for residents and tourists. 
  • Arts and culture practices are improving the health outcomes of patients and changing the design of healthcare facilities. 
  • Arts and culture is contributing to our economy through its businesses, employment and tax payments.

We could go on, but we'll let you dive into the data to see for yourself.


The data used for this report was provided by the Cultural Data Project (CDP), an organization created to strengthen arts and culture by documenting and disseminating information on the arts and culture sector. Any interpretation of the data is the view of Arts Cleveland (formerly Community Partnership for Arts and Culture) and does not reflect the views of the Cultural Data Project. For more information on the Cultural Data Project, visit

Culture Pulse 2014

In Culture Pulse 2014, Arts Cleveland (formerly Community Partnership for Arts and Culture) leveraged 2010-2012 data from the Cultural Data Project on a sample of 96 arts and culture nonprofits in Cuyahoga County. 2014.

Just as our pulse rates can be monitored as basic measures of health throughout our lifetimes, regular measurement of financial, human and infrastructure resources helps track our arts and culture sector’s health and momentum.

In Culture Pulse 2014, Arts Cleveland (formerly Community Partnership for Arts and Culture) leveraged 2010-2012 data from the Cultural Data Project on a sample of 96 arts and culture nonprofits in Cuyahoga County. For additional benchmarking this year, Culture Pulse 2014 compares Cuyahoga County with seven other counties on measures such as revenues, expenses and other financial and organizational indicators.

This report illuminates the ways arts and culture organizations are responding to, and evolving in light of, changing environmental factors. Understanding such trends is an important step in strengthening and sustaining this vital asset for generations to come.

Culture Pulse 2013

Culture Pulse is an in-depth analysis of the financial, human capital and infrastructure health of 93 arts and culture nonprofits in Cuyahoga County. Culture Pulse leverages information from the Ohio Cultural Data Project (OCDP) to examine trends over 2009-11 and to discuss the future implications for arts and culture organizations in Cuyahoga County. 2013.

The rhythmic beat of a drum builds tempo and helps drive a song’s momentum forward. A beat is counted and occurs with regularity throughout a song just as a person’s pulse rate can be monitored as a basic measure of health. Like the beat in a song or the rate of a pulse, regular measurement of indicators helps to track our arts and culture sector’s health and momentum.

In Culture Pulse, Arts Cleveland (formerly Community Partnership for Arts and Culture) leveraged 2009-2011 data from the Ohio Cultural Data Project on a sample of 93 arts and culture nonprofits in Cuyahoga County. Through this analysis, Arts Cleveland has gained a deeper understanding of their financial, human capital and infrastructure health. Cuyahoga County’s arts and culture sector is an extraordinary asset, and careful examination will help to sustain its strength.


Cuyahoga County Arts and Culture Organizations and Economic Recession

Analysis exploring the arts and culture sector in light of the "Great Recession." 2009.

Some have suggested that the arts and culture sector, as it is currently constructed, has not kept pace with demographic, social and technological changes in the environment.  This report presents the findings from two approaches that explore arts and culture in light of the “Great Recession.” This report makes recommendations for the sector’s sustainability and future recovery. It complements one of Arts Cleveland’s Arts and Culture Roundtable events.

Strengthening Arts and Culture

A survey to assess gaps in services available to the arts and culture sector. 2008.

This document summarizes the results of a survey that looked at the levels of familiarity, use, and favorability of arts and culture sector-building activities. The goals of the survey were to assess awareness and use of on-going supportive programs for the arts and culture sector and to identify gaps in services which are believed to be important for the sector’s stability and vitality. 

Investing in Artists

An examination of national best practices in individual artist support. 2007.

Arts Cleveland (formerly Community Partnership for Arts and Culture) was commissioned by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) to develop a report that looked at best practices nationwide for individual artist support. A sample of 28 public and private funding programs was outlined in this report. These programs represent a wide spectrum of granting entities in every region of the United States, including private foundations, county government, nonprofit membership organizations and various local arts councils. Each of the individual artist funding programs reviewed for this report fell into one of five broad categories of support:  business and professional development, fellowships, public projects, residencies, and sponsored projects. 

Northeast Ohio’s Arts & Culture Plan Assessment

This report highlights the advancements our community has made regarding each of the four goals outlined in Northeast Ohio’s Arts & Culture Plan. 2007.

This report highlights the advancements our community has made regarding each of the four goals outlined in Northeast Ohio’s
Arts & Culture Plan:  Access (to effectively connect the region’s people to arts and culture); Learning (to establish lifelong arts and cultural education); Partnership (to make arts and culture a partner in neighborhood, community and regional development); and Resources (to develop financial and other resources to sustain and grow the arts and cultural sector).

Increasing the Strength of the Undercapitalized in the Arts and Culture Sector

A report outlining Arts Cleveland's initial research on supporting undercapitalized arts and culture groups. 2005.

This report provides Arts Cleveland’s initial research on best practices for supporting traditionally undercapitalized arts and culture groups – individual artists, small arts and culture businesses and emerging arts and culture nonprofits. It looks at two specific strategies for increasing the sustainability of these groups:  financial models and operational models. 

Advancing Support Systems for Artists in the Cleveland Metropolitan Area

A report outlining the four top needs of individual artists in NE Ohio. 2005.

This report is the culmination of a seven-month planning process designed to strengthen the support systems for artists in Northeast Ohio in response to the Urban Institute’s 2003 report Investing in Creativity:  A Study of the Support Structure of U.S. Artists.  In this report, Arts Cleveland (formerly Community Partnership for Arts and Culture) assesses the four top needs of individual artists in Northeast Ohio: low cost finance, health insurance and benefits, entrepreneurial training and assistance, and artist service organization collaboration. This report was made possible with support from Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), a ten-year national campaign to improve conditions for artists in all disciplines, so that artists can more readily do their creative work and contribute to community life.

Arts and Culture Festival Competitive Analysis

A report focusing on arts and culture festivals operating within 250-miles of Cleveland. 2004.

This report summarizes a comparative analysis of arts and culture festivals operating within 250-miles of Cleveland. The purpose of this study was to better understand the competitive environment that Cleveland and Northeast Ohio festivals encounter. This study analyzed budget, attendance, theme, target audiences, marketing strategies, volunteer support, and the economic impact that festivals can bring to a region. 

Cuyahoga County Public Sector Arts and Culture Investment Models

This document outlines the recommendations of the Cuyahoga County Cultural Leadership Taskforce on arts and culture investment models. 2004.

This report details findings and recommendations of the Cuyahoga County Cultural Leadership Taskforce. This team was convened by Cuyahoga County’s Board of Commissioners to develop a system for the distribution of local public sector funds for arts and culture.

Cleveland City Council Arts and Cultural Summit Report

This report details recommended action items from the summit for sustaining the arts and culture sector. 2002.

This report highlights the findings of the Cleveland Arts and Cultural Summit, a community discussion by Cleveland City Council. The report covers recommended action items designed during the summit to help sustain the regional arts and cultural industry.

Northeast Ohio's Arts and Culture Plan

This document outlines the results of a community-wide dialogue on supporting NE Ohio's arts and culture sector. 2000.

The development of this plan was the result of a community-wide dialogue process. It outlines the goals, objectives, and action items necessary to holistically support the arts and culture communities in Northeast Ohio.

Artists, Organizations & Audience Survey Results

This body of research guided discussions related to developing NE Ohio's first strategic arts and culture plan. 1999.

Arts Cleveland (formerly Community Partnership for Arts and Culture) was responsible for developing Northeast Ohio’s first strategic arts and cultural plan. To guide policy decisions related to this plan, Arts Cleveland launched a series of research initiatives between March 1998 and March 1999. In addition to providing valuable information about Northeast Ohio’s collective arts and cultural resources, this body of research gives individual organizations an opportunity to learn more about their programs, services, and audiences. This report presents findings from three surveys. The Individual Artist Survey examines the needs of the region’s diverse community of literary, performing, and visual artists. The Organizational Survey explores the scope of education, outreach, and tourism programs as well as collaborations and partnerships. The Audience Survey reveals a wealth of information on arts and cultural consumers, such as perception of event quality and value, purchasing habits, and other events and services enjoyed along with arts and cultural experiences.