CLEVELEND — While Cuyahoga County Council is still working on how to spend the remaining COVID-19 relief funds allocated to the county, some members of the community are already reaping the benefits of the stimulus money.
As of the beginning of August, the county has about 67% of its funds left—around $160 million—to use.
Thus far, the county has used part of its stimulus funding allotment on public utilities and broadband, workforce development, food bank and nonprofit support and neighborhood revitalization.
Two organizations recently being awarded relief funds by the county are in an industry which has struggled for funded long before the pandemic: the arts.
Council recently granted more than $3 million of its ARPA funds, $1.65 million each, to Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and Assembly for the Arts.
The funds will be used to aid area art communities still recovering from the pandemic, including helping to provide grants to individual artists.
“It’s about time that it happened,” said Eileen Dorsey, a Cleveland artist, whose studio is located in the Gordon Square Arts District.
“The money for all art programs have been cut and cut and cut over the years. People don’t realize how important the arts are,” Dorsey told Spectrum News.
She said the more than $3 million in funding to area arts programs and artists is certainly a huge boost for creative industries, but said it’s also one that will benefit everyone, regardless if you’re the one holding the paint brush or simply marveling at the masterpiece it helped create.
“Making art is being detained and creativity is part of everyone’s everyday lives,” she said.
All ARPA money must be spent by the end of 2024.