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.
Severance Hall is home of the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra and an example of how private philanthropy has had a profound impact on the cultural heritage of the City. [Severance Hall]
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 organizations, museums, theatres and other venues that contribute to Cleveland’s rich cultural landscape.
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.
TheCommunity 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 partnerships.
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 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 education.
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 curriculum current, CIA recently established programs in science and biomedical communications and digital art.
Integrating art into the design of products makes them more attractive to consumers. [Cleveland Institute of Art]
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. 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 Relations Board, more than 117 different cultures are represented in the city of Cleveland.
At the West Side Market the variety of the City’s ethnic heritage is reflected in the foods that can be purchased. [West Side Market]
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.
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 Avenue and sections of Lorain Avenue generate 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.
Local festivals are an opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness of our neighborhoods and sense of place. [Hessler Road Street Fair]
The broad tree lawns that characterize Tremont’s West 14 th 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.
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