The Cuyahoga Arts & Culture board approved $10.75 million in grants Thursday as the agency and its leaders face criticism over staffing and how funds are distributed.
The grant awards comprise operating support, project support or cultural heritage grants to a total of 300 nonprofits.
Some of the biggest grants of more than $850,000 go to Playhouse Square, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Ideastream Public Media is among the grantees.
Applicants were reviewed in September by a panel of arts experts from outside the region. About 18% of the applicants identified as BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving organizations. The total funding was down from $11.7 million awarded last year. Grants for nonprofits to award directly to artists will be presented for board approval at the December 13 meeting.
While a grant for Cleveland Ballet was approved, CAC Executive Director Jill Paulsen recommended not entering the formal grant agreement with them until the investigation announced Wednesday by the Cleveland Ballet board is resolved. The CEO and artistic director were suspended in response to workplace allegations.
The entire list of grants approved Wednesday is included below.
Campaign for levy paused
Paulsen acknowledged that the arts sector is still facing challenges in a post-COVID world, while annual cigarette tax revenue for the grants has fallen by half since its inception in 2007.
That levy will expire in 2027 without a…