Cleveland Foundation Launches $5 Million Program to Support the Arts

The Cleveland Foundation has launched a three-year, $5 million program designed to help a dozen nonprofit arts organizations adapt to changing demographics, technology, and interests, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Through the Engaging the Future initiative, the foundation aims to help the organizations attract younger, more diverse audiences while maintaining artistic excellence. To that end, it has awarded nearly $1.5 million in general operating support to the organizations, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Karamu House, Apollo's Fire: the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, the Beck Center, and the Great Lakes Theater.

An additional $500,000 has been earmarked for consultants, including the New York City-based EmcArts, which will lead workshops and seminars designed to help organizations adjust to change. According to the Plain Dealer, the foundation also set aside funds for a competitive grant cycle for new programs that come about as a result of the initiative.

"We're looking at a traditional audience base shrinking in a city that's not growing," said Kathleen Cerveny, the foundation's director of evaluation and institutional learning. "If the arts are to survive, they need to attract people that aren't going now.... I would hope that that a majority of the organizations have some really good ideas about how to engage the community in exciting new ways."

Steven Litt. "Cleveland Foundation Launches $5 Million Program to Strengthen the Arts." Cleveland Plain Dealer 06/28/2011.