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    • Abstract: of culture. The arts help to form an educated and aware public by promoting understanding in a. diverse society and by promoting inquisitive thought and the open exchange of ideas and values. The arts can encourage an individual's creativity and the generation of new ideas. They play a vital ...

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Connecting Cleveland
2020 Citywide Plan
The arts contribute to quality of life by making communities more livable. They help to define a
sense of identity, a sense of place, and they serve as a vehicle for the preservation and transmission
of culture. The arts help to form an educated and aware public by promoting understanding in a
diverse society and by promoting inquisitive thought and the open exchange of ideas and values.
The arts can encourage an individual’s creativity and the generation of new ideas. They play a vital
role in the development of desirable products and increasing available choices, whether it is types
of housing or leisure activities. Release, relaxation, entertainment and spiritual uplifting are all
benefits of the arts.
Creating Distinctive Places: Arts and culture are
keys to making the Cleveland area an
interesting and attractive place to live, work,
and recreate. They are a key component for
attracting creative and entrepreneurial
individuals from across the region and the
nation. Arts and culture provide important
insights that affect the details of design and
result in great architecture, landscapes and
public improvements. In addition to shaping
the physical form of a place, arts and culture
play an important role in creating a social
connection between people and the place
through interpretation of its natural features, Art can reinforce the story and meaning of a place.
history, and meanings and the telling of its [Mill Creek Waterfall]
The Arts as an Economic Engine: A healthy and stable arts and cultural sector is a cornerstone for
the region’s continued economic and social vitality. The arts contribute more than $1.3 billion
annually to the regional economy and arts and cultural institutions have brought Cleveland national
and worldwide recognition. It is estimated that 25 percent of visitors to Northeast Ohio arts and
cultural assets come from outside the seven-county region. The Cleveland Orchestra is world
renowned, and Playhouse Square boasts the largest concentration of theatres between New York
and Chicago. Historically, artists have been heavily integrated into the business fabric of the
community: Companies specializing in lithography, engraving, publishing, ceramics, furniture,
textiles, etc., have all employed artists in the development of their products. Today the Cleveland
Institute of Art educates students for jobs in fields such as industrial design, graphic design, science
and biomedical communications and digital art.
Creative Thought and Innovation: Data from the College Entrance Examination Board show that
students who take four years or more of arts and music classes in high school score 90 to 100
points better on their SAT than students who took only one-half year or less. The ability to think
critically, creatively, and innovatively are all benefits of exposure to the arts. These skills will become
more important for securing a prosperous economic future as more jobs for unskilled and low-
skilled labor are relocated outside of the United States.
Arts & Culture - 1 Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan
Several trends emerge that give a clearer picture of the challenge before us, and may also suggest
areas of greatest vulnerability (or opportunity), where connections with appropriate community
assets could be helpful:
• Public Involvement in the Arts: Nationally, attendance at live performances has seen an
increase, but it has not grown as much as the market for recorded and broadcast
performances has. A Rand Corporation report attributes the increase in population growth,
not in the percentage of the population that attends live performances. Cleveland’s lack of
population growth makes generating increased attendance for arts programs more difficult.
• Competition: Americans are placing a premium on flexibility of their time and favor
experiences that allow them to choose when and where. Younger generations, which are
more technologically savvy, appear to be more comfortable with entertainment provided
through the Internet and other emerging technologies and could be less inclined to attend
live performances. The improved quality of electronically reproduced entertainment, the
rising cost of attending live performances and an increased desire among Americans for
home-based leisure activities are other factors that favor media-delivered entertainment. In
addition, the fact that the arts are no longer an integral part of most students’ curriculum
means that several generations of Americans and Clevelanders have now graduated with no
background in the arts and no preparation to enjoy them.
• The Future of Arts Organizations: The Rand Corporation’s research forecasts that the
performing arts world will be divided into big organizations and smaller-scale operations,
and those that cater to a broad public versus niche markets. Big organizations will rely
increasingly on mass advertising and celebrity to attract large audiences, while small
organizations will have to become more dynamic and more diverse, focusing on low-
budget, low-tech productions and relying heavily on volunteer labor. Many will cater to
local and specialized markets, particularly ethno-cultural communities. It is the mid-size
organizations, however, that will face the biggest challenge: As they continue to be
squeezed financially, they will need to become either larger and more prestigious or smaller
and more community-oriented. As many of these organizations are forced to scale down
their budgets and aspirations, talented newcomers will need to look elsewhere for
opportunities to gain experience in the performing arts, with universities playing a larger
role as developers of young talent.
• Sources of Arts Funding: Earned income (i.e., box office) constitutes 66% of total revenue
for Northeast Ohio arts and cultural organizations—notably better than the national
average, which a Rand Research brief on the Arts sets at around 50%. But local
organizations fall short of national standards with respect to cash reserves, which are equal
here to only 14% of the operating budget compared to the benchmark figure of 25%; and
70% of the area’s arts and cultural organizations do not meet national standards for
endowments. Government funding for the arts typically has accounted for a small
percentage of arts funding, but since the early 1990s the mix has changed: While federal
funding has declined by almost 50%, state and local appropriations have increased. State
and local grants, however, tend to focus more on the social and economic benefits of the
arts. Nationally, arts organizations have become increasingly dependent on private
contributions, which now comprise approximately one-third of non-profit revenues.
Cleveland’s performing arts institutions have enjoyed strong support from individuals,
corporations and foundations.
Arts & Culture - 2 Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan
• The Role of Heritage: But a city’s culture comprises more than its institutions. It is found in
the architecture, signage, cuisine, music, traditions, taste in clothing and other
accoutrements, the ways of talking and interacting, of worship and recreation, mourning
and celebration, that define that city’s neighborhoods. The cultural character of Cleveland is
the legacy of the many ethnic groups that settled here, founded and worked the city’s
businesses, indeed, created its institutions, and called Cleveland home. The rich mélange of
immigrant populations that settled in Cleveland arrived in waves and often settled in
enclaves of people from the same home country. In the late 1800s, most foreign-born
residents were of German or Irish descent. As the economy boomed and manufacturing
jobs multiplied, Cleveland became a magnet for others seeking work and a chance for a
better life. Around the turn of the 20th century, Eastern Europeans such as Czechs and Poles
converged in large numbers. Austrians, Hungarians and Russians arrived just before World
War I; and as the economy geared up for war and the troop ships took on men, African-
Americans from the South now streamed north in even larger numbers to find work.
Each of these groups was drawn, understandably, to the neighborhoods that rang with
familiar sounds and smells, the comforting symbols and ways—in short, the culture—of its
own people. The following map from the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History shows the
location of traditional ethnic neighborhoods in the first half of the 20th century.
• New Immigrants—the Missing Ingredient: A crucial element has been missing from
Cleveland’s economic recovery over the last two decades: an infusion of fresh energy,
valuable skills and new ideas of the sort that large numbers of immigrants brought to the
Arts & Culture - 3 Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan
city during the second half of the 19th century and first half of the 20th. Significant numbers
of new immigrants are still arriving in America—often bringing needed technological skills
and other training, or at least an eagerness to work and learn—but, as the next graphic
shows, they are no longer being drawn to Cleveland in any significant numbers. By the mid-
Seventies the long negative trend had reversed for cities like New York, Chicago,
Washington, D.C., and St, Paul-Minneapolis, where the influx of new blood has continued
to rise steadily.
The same graph also makes it painfully clear that Cleveland is not yet participating from this
trend. Though the percentage of the city’s population that is foreign-born is up slightly
from what it was in 1990 (4.1%), by 2000 it had barely reached 4.5% compared with
11.1% nationwide. Chicago, now with more than 25% of its citizenry foreign-born, and
New York with more than 35% are fast approaching the levels they boasted at the time of
the First World War, when Cleveland’s immigrant population reached 35%.
Percent of foreign-born residents, 1900 - 2000
Of course these figures do not tell the whole story. For example, while the percentage of
foreign-born in Cleveland was 4.5% in 2000, the rate for Cuyahoga County overall was
6.4%. In earlier times, most immigrants settled in the center city and then gradually moved
out toward the suburbs as their families became established. Many recent immigrants have
bypassed the central city altogether. In 2000, foreign-born made up 7.3% of the suburban
population, with some of the highest concentrations found in Hillcrest suburbs such as
Mayfield Heights (18.1%), Richmond Heights (17.4%) and Beachwood (15.5%). To the
south, Parma, Parma Heights and Seven Hills also had relatively high concentrations.
Other patterns also emerge: Approximately 58% of the foreign-born suburbanites in 2000
had come from Europe (as compared with 41% in the city of Cleveland), and just 5.7%
from Latin America, versus 22% in Cleveland. Asian immigrants made up about the same
share in both the city of Cleveland (29%) and the suburbs.
• Designated Heritage Districts: The City of Cleveland protects the integrity of historic and
cultural structures through the work of the Landmarks Commission. The commission
reviews proposed changes to individual structures of note as well as designation of
distinctive districts throughout the city. Efforts have also been made to preserve, and
promote a greater awareness of—and access to—other assets that constitute a part of
Arts & Culture - 4 Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan
Cleveland’s cultural heritage. In 1998 the Cuyahoga River was named as one of 14
American Heritage Rivers.
Two years earlier, in 1996, the federal government designated the 88-mile Ohio and Erie
Canal National Heritage Corridor, which, centered on the Cuyahoga Valley with extensions
out to University Circle, includes a significant section of the city. A management plan for
the corridor was developed in 2000 to identify ways to protect and enhance resources that
tell the story of the impact of the Ohio & Erie Canal and the subsequent industrial heritage
of the area. The plan proposes telling these stories through journeys via a variety of
transportation modes. In 1996, major driving routes along the canal corridor were
designated as the Ohio & Erie Canal Scenic Byway. Three such routes run along the
Cuyahoga Valley within the city: 1) West 25th Street to Broadview to Schaaf Road; 2)
Independence Road; and 3) Warner Road to Broadway. The proposed Towpath Trail and
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway extensions to downtown Cleveland are also part of the
City’s plan to expand the modes of transportation (and access to amenities) available to
• Public Art: Public art, whether freestanding pieces or elements incorporated into the design
of buildings or other functional structures, contributes to the shaping of memorable places,
often by telling the stories of those places. Public art, moreover, can be created on a variety
of scales. Downtown Cleveland’s 1903 Group Plan, comprising the 500-foot-wide outdoor
mall and seven public buildings, is an example of civic design on a grand scale that created
a whole district that was both distinctive in character and physically inspiring. (The earliest
and most complete civic center plan for a major city outside of Washington, D.C., it was
recognition across the country and praise in national journals.) Public art may also be
incorporated into individual buildings, functional elements of buildings or outdoor spaces,
or self-contained works.
The City of Cleveland recently showed
its support for public art by enacting
legislation requiring that 1.5% of the
budget for every City project of over
$350,000 go to public art. Streetscape
projects are included in this
requirement. As part of the Public Art
Program, an advisory committee of
design professionals and community
representatives has been established to
assist in soliciting designs and obtaining
community input.
Art is often open to individual interpretation and
can be a source to inspire public discourse.
[Free Stamp on Willard Park]
Arts & Culture - 5 Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan
Cleveland has a number of important assets in the area of Arts & Culture that can be built upon:
The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture showed in its “Economic Activity Report” that arts
and culture industry provides the equivalent of 3,700 full-time jobs in Northeast Ohio and direct
and indirect organizational and audience
spending of $1.4 billion annually. It’s
estimated that 8.5 million persons attend
museums or other attractions here annually.
Performing Arts Organizations & Venues: Local
arts and cultural institutions have brought the
city of Cleveland national and worldwide
recognition. The Cleveland Orchestra is
considered one of the best in the world. Its
home, Severance Hall, is an icon in the
University Circle area and one of the most
highly regarded concert halls in America. Listed
below are a number of other performing Severance Hall is home of the world renowned
Cleveland Orchestra and an example of how private
organizations, museums, theatres and other philanthropy has had a profound impact on the
venues that contribute to Cleveland’s rich cultural heritage of the City.
cultural landscape. [Severance Hall]
Performing Organizations
• Apollo’s Fire (Baroque Orchestra) • Jazz Heritage Orchestra
• Cleveland Orchestra • Cleveland Jazz Orchestra
• Red {An Orchestra} • Cleveland Pops Orchestra
• Cleveland Chamber Symphony • Cleveland Institute of Music
• Cleveland Opera • Ohio Ballet
• Lyric Opera Cleveland
• Playhouse Square Center (Ohio, Palace,
State, Allen & Hanna theaters)
• Great Lakes Theatre Festival • Charenton Theater
• The Cleveland Playhouse • Near West Theatre, Inc
• Cleveland Public Theatre • Beck Center for the Arts
• Dobama Theater • Cain Park
• Karamu House
Presenting Organizations
• Cleveland Cinematheque
• Cleveland Film Society/Cleveland International Film Festival
• Dance Cleveland
• Cleveland Chamber Music Society
University Circle
Arts & Culture - 6 Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan
• Cleveland Museum of Art • Cleveland Botanical Garden
• Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) • Cleveland Children's Museum
• Cleveland Museum of Natural History • African-American Museum
• Western Reserve Historical Society • Dittrick Medical History Museum
• Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum
North Coast Harbor
• Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and • USS Cod Submarine
Museum • International Women's Air and Space
• Great Lakes Science Center Museum
• Steamship William G Mather Museum
• Dunham Tavern Museum • Soldiers and Sailors Monument (Civil
• Cleveland State University Art Gallery War Museum)
• President James A. Garfield Memorial • Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
• The Sculpture Center
• Pro Football Hall of Fame (Canton)
• National Inventors Hall of Fame (Akron)
• Lawnfield (Mentor)
• Hale Farm & Village (Bath)
Support Organizations: The Cleveland area has many nonprofit organizations and programs that
support its arts, heritage and cultural resources and are working to improve them and open them
to a larger audience. Listed below are a number of those organizations.
• The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture was launched in 1997 by The Cleveland
Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, and The Cleveland Cultural Coalition to serve as
a central voice for a large array of organizations and to find ways to strengthen Northeast
Ohio’s cultural assets and enable more residents and visitors to enjoy them. In 2000, after
gathering input and ideas from many players, the Partnership issued the Northeast Ohio's
Arts and Culture Plan, a blueprint for success that includes policies relating to such critical
matters as access, learning, partnerships and resources, and is now working to get its
recommendations implemented.
• The Cleveland Artists Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to regional art
history and education that was founded in 1984. Its mission is to preserve, exhibit, actively
collect, research and document the artistic heritage of Northeast Ohio. CAF encourages a
more comprehensive discussion of artistic traditions and innovations in Cleveland and
carries out exhibits, events and benefits.
• The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency established in 1965 to promote the development of
the arts and preserve Ohio’s cultural heritage. OAC does this by providing grants and
services in the areas of arts education, capacity building for organizations, individual
creativity, arts innovation, arts access, support for ongoing programs, and international
• Ohio Citizens for the Arts is a statewide nonprofit grassroots membership organization
working to increase public support for the arts in Ohio. OCA advocates on public policy
Arts & Culture - 7 Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan
issues that impact the arts and on arts issues. It has a lobbyist in the state house and
provides information to citizens and elected officials about relevant issues.
• The Northeast Ohio Jazz Society is a volunteer nonprofit organization that advocates for
jazz as an art form by furthering awareness and appreciation through performance and
• Young Audiences of Greater Cleveland, founded in 1953, is the country’s oldest and largest
nonprofit arts-in-education organization. With the primary goal of making the arts essential
to the education and development of all school-aged children, Young Audiences serves as a
resource for both students and teachers—by providing performances, workshops,
residencies, pre-school programs, and assistance with programs and events.
• Art House is a nonprofit art center located in historic Brooklyn Centre, whose mission is to
nurture involvement in the arts and culture. It achieves its mission through classes,
workshops and professional development programs.
• The Cleveland Institute of Art is one of
the top professional colleges of art and
design in the country. Established in
1882, CIA typically has an enrollment of
600 students. The school trains
students for careers in a variety of
professions related to the arts—
including gallery artists, product and
transportation designers, graphic
designers, photographers,
contemporary craftsmen, and
educators. It offers programs in design
and materials, integrated media, visual
arts and liberal arts. To keep its Integrating art into the design of products makes
curriculum current, CIA recently them more attractive to consumers. [Cleveland
established programs in science and Institute of Art]
biomedical communications and digital
• The Cleveland Institute of Music, which opened its doors in 1920, offers degrees in music
and musical arts. It has an enrollment of approximately 400 Conservatory Students and
1,700 Preparatory and Continuing Education Students. It presents more than 125 concerts
each year featuring the CIM Orchestra, Opera Theater, faculty and visiting artists, as well as
250 student recitals annually.
• The Cleveland Music School Settlement, a community music school established in l911 that
offers music instruction, summer camps, preschool and day school programs, and a
nationally acclaimed music therapy department to people of all ages and abilities.
• Several of the colleges and universities in the Cleveland area also offer degrees or courses
related to the arts. Cleveland State University offers degrees in Art Education, Art History
and Studio Art. Within its College of Arts and Sciences, Case Western Reserve University has
departments of Art History and Education, Classics, History, Music, and Theatre & Dance.
Cuyahoga Community College offers theater courses as part of its liberal arts program.
Arts & Culture - 8 Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan
John Carroll University’s Department of Art History and Humanities offers majors and
minors in both fields. Notre Dame College has an Art Department that offers degrees in
studio and graphic arts. Baldwin Wallace College offers majors in Art and Art History,
Communication and Theater, Music and Theater Arts. Ursuline College offers degrees in
arts, art therapy, history, music, fashion design & merchandising, and historic preservation.
• Kent State University's Urban Design Center promotes the quality of urban places through
technical design assistance, research, education and advocacy. Operating out of the
Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative located in Downtown Cleveland, it assists community
groups and provides services in master planning, commercial district revitalization,
recreation planning, design guidelines, historic preservation, residential redevelopment,
campus planning, and streetscape design.
• The Sculpture Center fulfills its mission of making sculpture a part of the civic dialogue by
promoting the preservation of outdoor sculpture, exhibiting sculpture, and educating artists
and audiences about the role of sculpture past and present.
• Cleveland Public Art is an independent, nonprofit organization promoting public art
projects that create unique spaces in the urban landscape. It acts as a vehicle for
collaboration between artists and design professionals. CPA has been instrumental in
facilitating improved design for a variety of civic projects such as the Cleveland Public
Library’s Eastman Reading Garden, the Orchard School Fence, and the Detroit-Superior
Bridge Public Promenade.
• The Ohio Canal Corridor works to implement many of the recommendations of the
management plan of the Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor. Priority projects
include extending the Towpath Trail and Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway to Downtown
Cleveland and the establishment of Canal Basin Park.
• Foundations: From the beginning Cleveland’s arts and cultural institutions have received
strong support from philanthropic individuals and groups. That support continues today
with the generosity of many families and foundations, including two of Cleveland’s largest,
the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation. The Kulas and William
Bascom Little foundations fund music education and composers, respectively.
Ethnic Diversity: Even a casual perusal of the
Cleveland White Pages (and Business White
Pages) attests to the rich diversity of cultures
still represented here; a drive through the city’s
36 neighborhoods, taking note of the names of
businesses, churches, social clubs and specialty
shops, puts a face on our ethnic diversity. As of
the 2000 federal census, 9.2% of the city’s
residents were of German background (not the
same as “foreign-born” immigrants, though
some may be); 8.2%, Irish; 4.8%, Polish; 4.6%,
Italian—but according to the City’s Community
At the West Side Market the variety of the City’s
Relations Board, more than 117 different ethnic heritage is reflected in the foods that can
cultures are represented in the city of Cleveland. be purchased. [West Side Market]
Arts & Culture - 9 Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan
Even the largest group, African Americans, who make up 52.1% of the city’s population, represent
a variety of cultures, from Ethiopian and Nigerian to Ghanaian and Liberian, as shops and
restaurants will attest. Another 7.3% identified themselves, using a government bureaucracy-
created category, as Hispanic, but the majority are actually of Puerto Rican heritage, with the rest—
as restaurant and shop signs reveal—including everything from Mexican and Cuban to Peruvian and
a number of other Central and South American countries (an Ecuadoran bakery), which represent
very different cultural traditions.
Asians made up 1.3% of the population, once again representing several different ethnic heritages.
Thais, Chinese, Cambodians, Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese—as well as Greeks, Lebanese,
Russian Jews, Serbs, Indians, and Native Americans are all visible here, and contribute to the rich
diversity of Cleveland’s cultural and culinary offerings: The most recent edition of a popular book,
Cleveland Ethnic Eats, profiles more than 350 ethnic restaurants and markets in the area. Some are
clustered in proudly ethnic neighborhoods such as Little Italy or Slavic Village; others are part of the
lively cultural mix that gives well-established commercial corridors their special character—The
Croatian Bookshop (6315 St. Clair) just a few doors east of the popular Empress Taytu Ethiopian
Restaurant (6125 St. Clair).
Ethnic Organizations: Many of the ethnic groups in the Cleveland area have social organizations
that arrange events, festivals and parades associated with their heritage and some even have
facilities or museums where events are held and where their culture is documented. Two of the
largest parades in the City of Cleveland, St. Patrick and Columbus Day parades, are organized by
the Irish and Italian communities. A sample of the diverse ethnic organizations facilities than can be
found around the Cleveland area include: the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Hungarian
Heritage Museum, the Ukrainian Museum-Archives, Bohemian National Hall, the Temple-Tifereth
Museum of Religious Art, the African-American Museum, the Sachsenheim Hall, the Spanish
American Committee, the Organization of Chinese Americans of Greater Cleveland, and the Polka
Hall of Fame.
Historical Archives: The Jewish, African American, Irish American, and Italian American archives of
the Western Reserve Historical Society actively collect, house and exhibit materials and artifacts that
tell the story of their respective ethnic groups in Cleveland, beginning with the earliest immigrants,
and their signal contributions to the city’s history.
Religious Organizations: Many ethnic communities center on their churches. Even former
parishioners who have moved to the suburbs, return regularly to the old neighborhood church in
the city for services and the experience of community. In addition to serving as a meeting place
and living symbol of the community, the churches often function as anchors for the area in which
they are located, providing indispensable social services such as food kitchens or after-school
tutoring for neighborhood children.
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens, a string of 24 landscaped gardens, with statuary, along East
Boulevard and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Rockefeller Park honors many of the city’s ethnic
heritages. These delightful areas, a manifestation of those communities’ identities and a stirring
reminder of their cultural contributions to civilization, are annually the settings of weddings and
other gatherings.
The City’s Community Relations Board is responsible for improving cross-cultural relations among
these different groups. It accomplishes its mission through activities in three areas: community
outreach, human relations training and community education, and special events.
Arts & Culture - 10 Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan
A “Sense of Place”: The city already has a
number of neighborhoods and historic districts
that have a unique and distinct character and
generate activity because of their strong
association with artistic, architectural, historical
or ethnic characteristics. Little Italy and Slavic
Village are two neighborhoods that are strongly
associated with their ethnic past. The West
Side Market, which provides Clevelanders with
access to a variety of ethnic foods in a setting
reminiscent of times past, is a cornerstone of
Ohio City and its revitalization. Larchmere Local festivals are an opportunity to celebrate
the uniqueness of our neighborhoods and
Avenue and sections of Lorain Avenue generate sense of place. [Hessler Road Street Fair]
economic activity focused on art and antiques.
Tremont is known not only for its restaurants,
nightclubs and art galleries (ArtWalk is a regular event that draws visitors), but also for the
architecture of the many churches that grace its streets.
The broad tree lawns that characterize Tremont’s West 14th Street corridor as well as West
Boulevard are also a mark of distinction for these places. Shaker Square’s unique physical layout,
walkability, excellent transit access and sense of place have continued to be its strength. University
Circle, with its university, museums, hospitals and park-like setting, is a prime activity generator for
the entire region. Downtown Cleveland boasts a number of vibrant districts, such as Playhouse
Square, North Coast Harbor, Gateway and the Warehouse District, that owe a large part of their
identity (and attraction for consumers and, increasingly, residents) from their architecture or from
arts and culture. Many other neighborhoods in the city of Cleveland possess similar assets on
which they could capitalize.
Cleveland faces a number of challenges in the area of Arts & Culture that, creatively addressed,
could help these neighborhoods realize their full potential:
• Public Unawareness of Cultural Opportunities: Ninety percent of the respondents to a public
survey conducted by the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture agreed that the area’s
arts and cultural resources are a source of great pride—but more than 60% admitted they
had not attended programs because they had not been aware of them. New ways must be
found to capture the attention of today’s busy, message-inundated city residents.
• Neighborhoods Lacking Art’s Stimulation and Affirmation: Art, in the form of public art or
architecture, or the creative configuration of public spaces, calls us to excellence, self-
realization and worthy aspirations, and reminds us of the power of creativity to rise above
our failures and pedestrian thinking. It binds people and communities together by creating
shared experiences (as music, cultural festivals and sidewalk performances also can do) and
common points of reference. It may honor a neighborhood’s heritage or awaken pride in
its contributions, hold up role models for the young, or form part of an area’s distinctive
identity—and appeal to prospective residents and new businesses. Integrating the arts more
fully into the fabric and the day-to-day life of a community, in short, provides food for the
spirit while creating more attractive places.
Arts & Culture - 11 Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan
• Lack of Appreciation for What the Arts
Provide: As a result of diminished arts
education, our schools are denying
young people the chance to experience
the stimulation and rich sense of self
and of life’s possibilities the arts can
provide, not to mention the opportunity
to discover and hone what may be
marketable talents. Perhaps even more
disturbingly, this deprivation will result
in an urban population that does not
recognize the value, never mind the
very real satisfactions, of the arts: a Early exposure to the arts supports the
narrowing of our horizons that will development of creative and innovative thinking.
[Karamu Early Childhood Development Center]
ultimately take its toll on
entrepreneurial creativity and vision,
limiting Cleveland’s future—beginning with the continued viability of its cultural
institutions. With the decrease in demand, and supporters, some of this city’s most
powerful assets could be in jeopardy. In the balance are the thousands of jobs and the tax
revenue these activities produce, as well as our ability to attract the kind of educated, fresh-
thinking people who will generate jobs—and make Cleveland competitive—in the new
knowledge-based global economy.
Arts and cultural education programs must be designed that expand and broaden the
audience for the arts; this effort must be inclusive in character, finding creative ways to
engage people of all ages, genders, ethnic background and economic status. Providing
neighborhood residents with opportunities to experience the arts in a more familiar context
could help demystify the cultural experience. The involvement of area companies must also
be sought. Popular support—and the convinced backing of Cleveland’s business—are key
to obtaining the funding necessary to restore and expand educational offerings in our
schools and neighborhoods.
• Slow Market Growth: A potential barrier to audience growth and support for arts and
cultural institutions is the slowness of the city to increase its population. In most cities, it
has been population growth, not an increase in public participation, which has resulted in
higher attendance at cultural performances.
• Electronic Competition: Traditional cultural venues are facing another challenge these days
in the competition for the public’s limited leisure time and discretionary income—from the
electronic media. Continual improvements in technology, including the quality, flexibility
and interactive participation, of pre-produced entertainment are producing new
entertainment options that are especially attractive to younger audiences.
• Inadequate Access: Visitors complain of the difficulty of getting from one cultural venue to
another, the stress of having to navigate unfamiliar streets, and the expense of multiple
parking fees. A coordinated transportation system linking cultural amenities scattered
throughout the area would be an important step in the right direction. Residents of some
neighborhoods feel they lack equal access to these amenities because of geographical
isolation or ticket prices well above their income, while members of some minority groups
say their cultural interests or tastes are ignored or looked down on by arts programmers.
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