President’s Letter

The compelling portraits of Cleveland performing artists by Amy Arbus in this annual report capture the energy, excitement, insight and innovation that these talented men and women bring to our community. These remarkable actors, dancers and musicians not only entertain and inspire us, but also challenge us to look at ourselves and our community in new and different ways. They build bridges between cultures, open our eyes to new possibilities and continually amaze us with their creativity.

The performing arts have a long, rich history in our community, and the Foundation is proud of the role it has played in supporting a diverse range of organizations and artists, not only in our formal concert halls and theaters but also in our neighborhoods, schools and parks. We also have supported ongoing efforts to encourage artists to make Cleveland their home because we recognize that their innovation and creativity are essential to this community’s vitality.

As we say in our program guidelines, “The Foundation values and supports the role the arts play in making Cleveland and its region a more desirable place to live, encouraging the growth of a creative workforce, catalyzing development in our neighborhoods and serving as a bridge between various segments of the community.”

The Foundation also has been a major supporter of public-private partnerships and advocacy efforts to ensure the future of a vibrant arts community, and we are proud that Cuyahoga County, thanks to voters who approved a cigarette tax in 2006, is one of the largest public arts funders in the country through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture (CAC).

We were also a cofounder more than a decade ago of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC), which with funding from CAC, developed the Creative Workforce Fellowship program that each year recognizes and makes significant financial awards to 20 local artists. CPAC also started the unique Artist as Entrepreneur Institute and recently launched an innovative program, in collaboration with local community development organizations, to encourage artists to buy houses in Cleveland.

Several of our longtime grantees also took steps during 2010 and in the early months of 2011 to ensure that for many years to come they will be contributing to the region’s vitality and supporting the artists who make Greater Cleveland their home.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland broke ground for its new building in University Circle. The Cleveland Play House announced a new partnership with Cleveland State University’s theater department and a move to a renovated Allen Theatre in PlayhouseSquare. The Museum of Art continued to open new and renovated galleries that are part of its significant expansion program. The Cleveland Institute of Art completed the first phase of its move to a centralized campus on Euclid Avenue. The Rainey Institute moved from a cramped century home on East 55th Street to a new, spacious facility just a few blocks away.

The head of the National Endowment for the Arts, Rocco Landesman, uses the phrase “art works” when he advocates for support of the sector. He has three meanings for those two simple words: They are a noun that refers to works of art. They remind us that art works on audiences and viewers to transport and inspire then. And they recognize that arts workers have real jobs that are a vital part of our economy.

We couldn’t agree with him more.

Geoffrey Gund signature

Geoffrey Gund
President and Treasurer