Passage of Issue 8 is critical to the Heights and the county

On Nov. 3, Cuyahoga County voters will have the opportunity to continue to invest in Cuyahoga County’s critical arts and culture community by renewing the penny-and-a-half per cigarette tax they originally approved in 2006. In the decade since voters passed the levy by a resounding 57 percent, our arts and culture sector has helped fuel Cuyahoga County’s revitalization.

Since grants funded by the arts and culture levy were distributed in 2007, more than $125 million has been awarded for operations and projects to more than 300 organizations operating at more than 2,500 locations in every corner of the county. These include everything from museums and cultural institutions to small community theaters, nonprofit galleries, nature centers and much more. 

Organizations receiving levy-funded grants provide nearly 9,000 jobs and offer nearly 1.4 million annual educational experiences for kids, including more than 18,000 annual field trips.

More than $1.8 million has found its way into our own backyard with funding to Apollo’s Fire, Parks Art Festival, Creative Filmmakers Association, Dobama Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, FiveOne Experimental Orchestra, FutureHeights, Heights Arts, programs at Lake Erie Ink, Mamaí Theatre Company, Reaching Heights, Roots of American Music, Western Reserve Chorale, and Western Reserve Historical Society, as well as program support for schools in both Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

Issue 8 has received endorsements from more than 240 elected officials, public bodies and organizations including Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish; Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson; Senator Kenny Yuko; Ohio Representative Kent Smith; Ohio Representative Janine Boyd; Cuyahoga County Councilmember Anthony Hairston; University Heights Mayor Susan Infield; Cleveland Heights Council members Jeff Coryell, Mary Dunbar, and Kahlil Seren; University Heights Councilman Phillip Ertel; and, most recently, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur.

"In Cleveland Heights we are very proud of our legacy as a home for the arts, and I'm happy to say that our arts and culture scene is vibrant and thriving, said Jeff Coryell, CH council member. "We fully support Issue 8 in order to continue the great support that the arts in this area have received over the years from the arts and culture cigarette tax."

University Heights Mayor Susan Infeld believes the renewal is instrumental in supporting the arts and culture sector: “This small tax has proven to be an enormous benefit to our suburbs and our county as a whole. A strong and vibrant arts and culture community is attractive to tourists, improves the education performance of our children and is a source of pride for us all. Without this injection of grants made possible from the tax, our communities would not have enjoyed the thriving organizations we have come to know.”

For more information on the levy, its reach and how to get involved, go to

Rachel Bernstein

A professional musician, educator and administrator, Rachel Bernstein has worked in the arts for more than 30 years. A supporter of Issue 8, she is currently executive director of Heights Arts Collaborative Inc., a nonprofit multi-disciplinary arts organization that supports the visual arts, music and poetry. 

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 2:46 PM, 10.28.2015