Cleveland Arts Education Consortium – Our Circumstances and Story

Cleveland Arts Education Consortium (CAEC) is 20-years old and has been in-residence at Cleveland State University since 2008.

We are deeply affected by the coronavirus. Member dues and fee collection stopped abruptly when the CSU buildings were closed March 17th. We anticipate that as we move into the 2020-21 season in July, our members will not be able to pay the regular annual dues and any fees for professional development sessions, reducing CAEC’s earned income 100% and one third of our budget.

We anticipate that grant funding may shift as well to respond to other affected Covid-19 situations, thus jeopardizing our ability to sustain the organization and our work in the community. We have been told by some of our funders that they are regrouping to funnel monies to address critical Covid-19 issues at the moment, so we at CAEC and many others in the Cleveland arts sector are in a “wait and see” moment.

CAEC receives In-Kind support from CSU, but is required to raise all funds for programming, activities, and its Manager’s salary and CSU fringe. During our twelve years in-residence at CSU, we have accomplished a great deal with a lean budget that averages well under $100,000.

As the coronavirus has dramatically changed how we interact and congregate, CAEC has focused on the following:

  1. Sharing information and reports with our funders, hoping that there is recognition of the immense value of our work in the community—and to help numbers of organizations connect, share resources and virtual learning best practices, and to survive intact.
  2. Convening members, community leaders and educators regularly via Zoom on Fridays – Coffee with Judy at Lunch – to talk about current concerns, thinking and planning ahead, staff and teaching artist adjustments, summer program changes and adaptations, PPE sources, monetizing online arts learning programs, best ways to use the internet and various apps from Google Classroom to Webes to Zoom, and more.
  3. Producing and sharing CAEC 2020 Ready to Go Arts Programs booklets, including a new list of online arts learning programs with CMSD CEO Eric Gordon who asked Arts Director Jeffery Allen to share with all Principals, Teachers and appropriate Adminstration staff  – and make downloadable from   Ready To Go Online Arts Programs will be regularly updated.

Our Story

Since its formation in 1999, the Cleveland Arts Education Consortium (CAEC) has become Northeast Ohio’s largest professional arts education service organization.

As a diverse, member-driven organization that deeply believes in the value of arts education for all, we focus on the needs of arts educators and the organizations they represent. Through regular networking, professional development and information sharing programs, we support our members and create opportunities for them to engage in ways that strengthen their individual work. As a resource and leader for advocacy, we encourage all members, regardless of organizational size and discipline, to join with us to support positive policy and funding for arts education. We understand that through shared advocacy to address critical issues in arts education, we increase the potential for arts learning to positively impact the lives of Northeast Ohio residents.

Membership is open to all organizations engaged in introductory and immersive arts education programs and activities throughout Northeast Ohio and beyond.

CAEC is largest arts education membership and service organization in Northeast Ohio

  • Membership has grown more than 400% since CAEC’s founding in 1999
  • CAEC’s more than 100 member organizations serve over 10 million people every year
  • Member organizations’ annual budgets range in size from under $200,000 to over $100 million
  • Members at small, midsize and large organizations represent a wide array of arts disciplines and programs

We are focused on professional development and networking of members

  • CAEC offers 6-10 professional development sessions annually
    • Sessions range from 2–7 hours
    • Example topics: inclusion and social justice; family engagement; funding; assessment; leadership
  • Six intimate networking sessions offered per year
    • Geographically varied, east and west

Along with articulating the value and importance of arts education, we create a collaborative environment to advance best practices in arts education

  • Members participate in education surveys, committees, planning and program presentations
  • Arts and non-arts organizations and leaders consult, collaborate and present
    • National Guild for Community Arts Education
    • Ohio Alliance for Arts Education and Ohio Citizens for the Arts
    • Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
    • BVU-The Center for Nonprofit Excellence
    • Cuyahoga County Senior and Adult Services
    • Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities

A CAEC member wrote in a letter of support: “As a member of CAEC since 2013, I have witnessed the power firsthand of a consortium that brings together Cleveland’s many organizations that are passionate about passing along the arts to youth. The inclusion of organizations of a variety of sizes as equal players has benefited everyone.  CAEC programs are of the highest quality, including an annual address by Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s CEO, workshops on relevant topics presented by leaders in the field from around the United States, and networking opportunities. This is one of the best opportunities to unite and strengthen Cleveland’s arts community.”

Photos above are from recent CAEC Leadership and Social Justice sessions.

CAEC has been in-residence at Cleveland State University since 2008. Membership and program information and resources including the 2020 Ready To Go Arts Programs – in-person and online, are available on the CAEC website –]/caec/

Judith Ryder, CAEC Founding Manager

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