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Arts and Culture Public Officials Breakfast 2015

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Culture Pulse 2014 Report Shows Local Arts Scene Bouncing Back from Recession


Becki Silverstein


CLEVELAND, OHIO (October 8, 2014) – Each year the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) releases Culture Pulse, an annual state of the arts and culture non-profits in Greater Cleveland. This year’s Pulse marks the 2nd edition of this report, and the results are in. According to the assessment, Cuyahoga County’s  arts and culture scene is on the rise and showing significant growth since the recession.

Culture Pulse 2014, which is being released as both a full report and as a four-page summary brochure, reviewed 2010-2012 data from the Cultural Data Project on a sample of 96 arts and culture nonprofits. For additional benchmarking this year, Culture Pulse 2014 compared Cuyahoga County with seven other counties on measures such as revenues, expenses and other financial and organizational indicators. Those peer counties include Ohio counties Franklin and Hamilton; Erie, Allegheny and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; Onondaga in New York; and Wayne in Michigan.

“These annual reports are critical in allowing us to assess and track the health and momentum of our arts and culture sector in Cuyahoga County,” said Thomas Chema, president of CPAC Board of Trustees.  “This year’s report shows that our arts and culture sector  continues to rebound and grow, which marks  a very important  time for our region.”   

So how does it breakdown? Key findings from this year’s report are included within the following categories:

  • Support In this area, overall revenue has been stable for arts and culture nonprofits.  Declines in support have generally been offset by earnings from investments.  Corporate and foundation support rebounded from 2010-2012, but those gains were offset by losses in government and trustee/board support. County support remains relatively stable, despite a modest decline, and represents a larger share of government support in 2012 than in 2010.
  • Workforce As the economy recovers, the arts and culture sector is hiring more full and part-time workers, relying less on temporary workers, although salaries indicate that wages are stagnant. 
  • Space Increases in owned and rented square footage reveal arts and culture organizations are operating through an expanded footprint. An increase in the number of organizations reporting no space indicates the sector may be taking advantage of advances in mobile technology and remote networking.
  • Finance The sector’s strategy for ensuring long-term financial health appears to be based on growing endowments and associated investment income. As endowments and owned square footage increases, the sector’s Liquid Unrestricted Net Assets (LUNA) have continued to decline.
  • Peer Group While total revenue in Cuyahoga County has been stable, it has been outpaced by gains in 6 of the 7 peer counties. Cuyahoga County has eclipsed  the peer group in terms of endowment growth, and has the highest net gain from investment income. All counties have experienced declines in federal contributed support.

“Like most industries, Cuyahoga County’s arts and culture sector has faced the challenges and setbacks of the Great Recession, but, fortunately for our economy, the sector is demonstrating resilience and undergoing a recovery,” said Thomas Schorgl, CPAC’s president and CEO.  “Culture Pulse 2014 provides reasons to be optimistic that our arts and culture sector will continue to serve as a vibrant component to communities and our regional economy.” 

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.

For more information about Culture Pulse 2014 including the Culture Pulse 2014 brochure and/or the full report, please contact Becki Silverstein at or via phone at 440-227-8794. Interviews are available upon request.


About CPAC

The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) is a nonprofit service organization dedicated to strengthening, unifying and connecting greater Cleveland’s arts and culture sector.  CPAC provides counsel and research to foster a more informed dialogue between representatives of the arts and culture sector and public leaders concerning arts and culture’s role in the region’s development. It also supports the advancement of artists, arts and culture professionals and other civic leaders through an array of programs and services. For more information, please visit

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