Two months ago, Arts Cleveland, Ohio Citizens for the Arts and other creative organizations were surveyed for a statewide look at their current and future status in the midst of the pandemic.
More than 60 percent of the organizations said they would likely close in the next year and 20 percent said they would likely have to close in the next six months if they did not receive fiscal relief.
Covid has taken a toll on every sector of the arts and relief has been sparse. In Cuyahoga County alone, the arts, entertainment and recreation industries accounted for $1.35 billion in sales and 10,925 jobs in 2018. Two years later, those numbers are mere fractions of what they were. Most if not all of those businesses rely on in-person interactions and gatherings, just the sorts of things we can't do right now.
In one bright spot, Cuyahoga County announced recently that it will provide $4 million in CARES funds to the local creative economy. Arts Cleveland will receive $1,336,000 to distribute to individual artists and for-profit creative businesses while Cuyahoga Arts & Culture will receive $2,664,000 to distribute to arts and culture nonprofits.
Here's the breakdown of just the Arts Cleveland portion of funding to give you an idea of the distribution.
For-profit performing arts venues: $712,800
Administrative costs: $40,000
“Cuyahoga County is internationally recognized for arts and culture, and behind that success are thousands of individuals who have devoted their life to creative pursuits. This funding will provide some support for our larger arts organizations, but is really focused on supporting the small and mid-sized organizations and the artists who make up such an important part of our community,” County Executive Armond Budish said in a statement.
In 2019, attendance at arts and cultural events was almost double the attendance at professional sports events. This is significant because the arts and culture sector is so interwoven into the economy here in northeast Ohio that it effects all sorts of other businesses — hospitality, tourism and health. As Clevelanders, we are fortunate enough to live in a culturally rich community. It's vital we take care of that.
“There has never been a time in recent history when we have been in greater need of our creative community. Although the pandemic has been especially devastating to the arts and culture sector, we continue to be creatively resilient in the face of such overwhelming challenges,” stated Charna Sherman, Board President, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. “The decision of Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and the Council to invest meaningful dollars in our arts and culture organizations simply could not be more catalytic at a more important time. Their investment will allow us not just to navigate surviving this pandemic, but also leverage our new efforts to pull the creative sector together in innovative ways to thrive after it.”
The deadline for individual artists to submit a request for funding is Sunday, November 22, 2020
Arts Cleveland is offering a virtual workshop to provide info and answer questions about the program on Tuesday, November 17 at 4PM