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Great Lakes Theater "The Merry Wives of Windsor," 2014

strengthening, unifying and connecting greater Cleveland's arts and culture sector

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this is a great moment

On Friday, CPAC, in partnership with CAC, will be celebrating a new year of public sector funding for individual artists in Cuyahoga County. This is a great moment. As I lift my head out of the administrative tasks at hand, I see that it is just one piece of a very intentional collective effort to take Cleveland to the next level through arts and culture.

My sister, originally from Cleveland, has built her family in Columbus. We have somewhat of a sibling rivalry about which city is better. It has grown into a deeper appreciation for the towns we each call home. Art (and sports) are almost always the common ground. Over the holidays, she told me that Cleveland often comes up in her discussions about real estate at her job. She heard that some property in Cleveland is skyrocketing, but might be at a rate too fast to sustain. I was suddenly thrown back to my earlier days at CPAC, just before the age-old idea of integrating artists into community revitalization efforts was coined “creative placemaking.” CPAC and community organizers were discussing not only how artists can help revive communities, but how communities could give back to these artists. There was, and is, a clear understanding of the need to sustain growth without pricing out existing residents, which often includes people working in creative professions. Now that real estate professionals all over the state are recognizing Cleveland’s increasing property values--a result of any number of factors--some of the theories, I imagine, will be put to the test. In fact, a number of efforts that were set in motion in 2008-2010 have already proven themselves and grown in all the obvious neighborhoods, and some not so obvious ones.

In just one example, Northeast Shores is accepting proposals until tomorrow for its Ballot Box Project. The $120,000 of funding is dedicated to individual artists’ creative solutions to improve 4 neighborhood issues. The issues were selected by residents themselves: Youth Engagement, Healthy Eating, Vacancy and Collinwood History. This underscores a valued and mutually beneficial partnership. Synergies between artists, the neighborhood, and public wellness is increasingly evident. It’s a trend we started to see in Creative Minds in Medicine.

The 2014 report and conference illustrated the connection among arts, culture and health. In Ballot Box, we look forward to seeing projects that address health of the neighborhood and its residents. CPAC is now starting to delve deeper into a piece of the arts, health and neighborhood discussions through a series based on arts, culture and public safety. As Kristin initiates the work through research and site visits, she is sharing what an incredibly complex topic it is. Not only must we comprehend and define the intersection and what it means in the context of greater Cleveland, but we must strive to strategically contribute to the efforts.

Quote: Einstein

My mind is blown daily by all the moving parts. Artists, cultural organizations and all kinds of community members are using arts and culture as a tool to connect. Arts and sports, arts and local history, arts and social equity, arts and education, artists and organizations, culture and the economy, arts and culture policy...

I could go on, but this is all an observation you likely have deep connections with already. It is easy to get caught up in each of our individual pieces of it, though. Move on to the next thing. Get upset about the last thing. Be exhausted by all the things. So, I simply want to take this moment to reflect, and share one thing that is keeping me grounded.

This is a great moment. It is a great moment to recognize the individuals and organizations who are successfully infusing all corners of Cleveland with the honesty, respect and creativity it deserves. Thank you.

Shoutouts to your favorite artist, administrator, organization or program are encouraged. We’d love to hear your stories of how this is playing out every day, and what it will look like in this new year of opportunity.

Categories: Artists, artsandhealth, Best Practices, community development, connect, creative minds in medicine, creative placemaking, Creative Workforce Fellowship, cross-sector, Neighborhoods, public benefit, research, resources

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