cac vote

Cuyahoga County Arts and Culture board votes to ask County Council to put cigarette tax increase on November ballot


Date: April 29, 2024


CLEVELAND, Ohio — Board members of Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, the government agency that distributes cigarette tax money to the arts, voted unanimously on Monday to ask Cuyahoga County Council to approve a November ballot item that would enable county voters to increase the tax from 1.5 cents to 3.5 cents per cigarette.

The tax could raise an estimated $160 million between 2026 and 2035 and bolster revenues that have declined sharply since voters first approved the tax in 2006. In its first year of funding, the 10-year tax produced roughly $20 million for arts and cultural organizations across the county.


View Full Story

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture resolves to place cigarette tax increase on November ballot

Source: ideastream, Kabir Bhatia

Date: April 29, 2024

Abstract: Cuyahoga Arts & Culture has taken its first step toward increasing the county cigarette tax from 30-cents-per-pack to 70 cents.

At a special meeting Monday, the board approved a resolution asking County Council to place an expansion of the tax on the November 2024 ballot. The new amount is estimated to generate about $160 million over the next decade.

The 70-cent figure was decided after extensive research, according to Jeff Rusnak of R Strategy Group.

“The voters really respect and admire our arts and cultural sector,” he said. “They have invested in it for nearly two decades and that has paid off. Three-and-a-half cents per cigarette is a small ask that produces really big impact.”

View Full Story

Ronda Brown (left) and Jeremy Johnson (right) at the City Club of Cleveland

Embracing the Power of Art: A Call for Change

Source: The Cleveland Observer, Vince Robinson

Date: April 19, 2024

Abstract: In a recent gathering hosted by the City Club of Cleveland, titled “The Changing Landscape of Arts and Culture in Northeast Ohio,” Rhonda Brown, Chief Strategist for Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, led a thought-provoking discussion alongside Jeremy Johnson, President and CEO of the Assembly for the Arts. This nonprofit organization, dedicated to advocating for and researching the arts, plays a crucial role in supporting artists, nonprofits, and creative businesses in Cuyahoga County.

Johnson highlighted a striking statistic from an economic impact study by Americans for the Arts: in 2022, Cuyahoga County’s nonprofit arts and culture sector generated over $533 million in economic activity. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Johnson emphasized the resilience of the industry and the urgent need to sustain its momentum.

Read Full Article

Leadership in Action

Source: Cleveland Magazine

Date: March 21, 2024

Abstract: Discover what it means to be a leader — and what issues they face — in Cleveland in 2024. By Jill Sell

Superman can lift cars over his head, bounce bullets off his chest and crush coal into diamonds with his hands. He’s capable of freezing people with his breath and melting objects with heat beams from his eyes. If the occasion warrants it, the superhero can even alter the orbit of the planets…

Cleveland’s arts and culture scene historically has been the envy of many other cities. In addition to the priceless contributions to education, creativity and the nourishment of our souls, the economic boost the region receives from museums, concerts, theater, etc., is impressive. According to the City of Cleveland Planning Commission, “the arts contribute more than $1.3 billion annually to the regional economy.”

“Cleveland also has one of the most publicly and privately supported arts communities in the country,” says Jeremy Johnson, who has been president and CEO of Assembly for the Arts, a regional arts council, since 2021.

Read Full Article

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture still eyeing November cigarette tax renewal

Source: ideastream

Date: February 15, 2024


A renewal and expansion of Cuyahoga County's cigarette tax for the arts could appear on this November's ballot - but its size and scope are still being determined. During its meeting Thursday, the Cuyahoga Arts & Culture board discussed the levy campaign with Jeff Rusnak, CEO of political strategy firm R Strategy Group. Last fall, he recommended placing the cigarette tax on this fall's ballot. Without any action, it would expire in 2027.

CAC receives its funding from the 30-cent-per-pack cigarette tax, and revenues have fallen by half since the tax’s inception in 2007. Board members have sparred at previous meetings over how and when to ask voters to renew and expand the tax. Rusnak recommended that CAC's role should be educational, with community outreach on how the arts can have a positive impact on education and mental health.

Opinion: Greater Cleveland must plan for sustainable public arts funding future: Jennifer Coleman


Date: December 27, 2023


Cuyahoga County’s public funding for the arts has recently been featured in the local news cycle. Cuyahoga Arts and Culture (CAC), the agency responsible for disbursing funds collected from the countywide cigarette tax, is managing a 50% drop in revenues since the tax began to be collected in 2007. Local news articles have highlighted — among other things:

1) Issues surrounding CAC’s funding of individual artists.

2) Highly contentious CAC board meetings, and

3) Questions on the feasibility of a countywide levy campaign to increase the 30-cent-a-pack cigarette tax amid infighting among leaders in the arts community.

Read Full Article

Want to join Cuyahoga Arts & Culture board? County is seeking applications

Source: ideastream

Date: January 8, 2024


Cuyahoga County is accepting applications for the board of Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. While recent meetings have been increasingly tense, the agency is still responsible for distributing public funding for the arts – more than $246 million since 2007.

The terms of two trustees, Charna Sherman and Karolyn Isenhart, will end March 31. As of Monday afternoon, Isenhart said she was planning to re-apply for another term. Sherman said she is not reapplying.

Read Full Article

Two New Members Added to GCRTA Board of Trustees

Source: Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA)

Date: October 17, 2023


Cleveland, OH – The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) welcomed Deidre McPherson and Stephen Love as new members to their Board of Trustees during today’s Board meeting inside GCRTA’s Main Office Building at 1240 W. 6th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44113.

Trustee McPherson was sworn into service on Wednesday, October 4, 2023, and Trustee Love was sworn into service before the start of today’s Board Meeting, by Anna Hlavacs, GCRTA Senior Counsel Contracts, Real Estate and Administrative Law in preparation for their first official call to service on October 17, 2023. Their appointments were made by Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne, with Trustee McPherson serving an unexpired term ending in March 2024, and Trustee Love serving a term ending in March 2026.

“GCRTA welcomes the appointments of Deidre McPherson and Stephen Love to our Board of Trustees. We agree that their professional expertise and dedication to arts and culture, and the environment will be beneficial as we continue to enhance public transportation’s impact on the social economics of our community,” said GCRTA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer India L. Birdsong Terry.

Read Full Article

Karamu House building exterior

Arts and culture generate more than $500 million for Cuyahoga County economy, new study shows

Source: Signal Cleveland

Date: October 12, 2023


Cuyahoga County’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generated more than $533 million in economic activity in 2022, according to a comprehensive study released Thursday.

This was the first time Cuyahoga was included as part of a national economic impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts. Every five years, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit focused on building “recognition and support” for the arts looks at the economic impact arts and culture have on communities throughout the United States.

Read Full Article

Study touts $500M arts impact in Cuyahoga County last year

Source: Ideastream Public Media | By Kabir Bhatia
Date: October 12, 2023 at 3:00 PM EDT


A study by Americans for the Arts finds that Cuyahoga County arts nonprofits and their patrons contributed $533 million to the economy in 2022.

The survey results were released Thursday, showing polling from 34 percent of the county’s arts and culture organizations. The study has been conducted six times since 1994, but this is the first time Cuyahoga County has been included among the 373 regions reviewed. Arts advocacy group Assembly for the Arts coordinated the effort locally. Assembly CEO Jeremy Johnson said it shows a sector that’s been resilient after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read Full Article