Forum on the Arts & Culture ballot issue

Submitted by Susan Miller on Wed, 07/26/2006 - 16:08.
09/28/2006 - 19:00

Eric Fingerhut and Tom Schorgl will be the featured speakers at this forum to discuss the upcoming ballot issue -- a cigarette tax to fund the arts. Hear and be heard.


Heights Arts at the Library
Lee Road at Ormond
Cleveland Heights, OH
United States
Arts & Culture ONE.doc35.5 KB
Arts & Culture TWO.doc28 KB
Arts & Culture THREE.doc28 KB

Why Fingerhut for the arts? Why now?

When I heard the Fingerhut name come up the immediate question in my mind was why Fingerhut for the arts? Sort of like "Carmody for Education?" So I guess my question at the forum would be how has he been for the arts since he entered public service and politics in Ohio in the 1980s... there is no focus on arts and the economy, or arts in general on his "Fingerhut for Governor" website - where does he show he considered the arts important when he is selling himself to Ohio and the world... why now? The other question I have for every arts leader in town is how much a year of their personal wealth and income do they spend on local art and arts - show us your art... memberships, ticket stubs and the walls of your homes... Fungerhut has been in local service for 20 years so he should be able to show $50,000 worth of personal (not political) spending on local arts, at least. Not job related - not fundraising - but taking the wife and kids to the orchestra, and going to the CIA and buying a student work of art... real, personal commitment. I'm not saying they don't do it... I'm just saying, let's see their May Shows. I May Show mine every day, and I'm poor.

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Fingerhut on CSU art exhibit committee in 2000

It is commendable Fingerhut was on the Executive Committee of: For Everything a Season: Jewish Ritual Art in Cleveland  (2000) - An unprecedented exhibition of more than 200 rare and exquisite artifacts from 50 public and private collections... to help the people of Cleveland and the northern Ohio region become more aware of the considerable resources represented by the diversity of their sacred sites, particularly their churches, synagogues, temples and mosques.  Collectively, these places, their buildings, their congregations, and their art represent what is provably the most important and appealing feature of this region: its remarkable diversity of people and cultures.

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show up and ask

HeightsArts invites your questions and encourgaes your participation. The opportunity is being provided so that these questions and concerns can be aired. It was the idea of a small community arts organization, not CPAC's. We invited them -- they did not ask us to hold the forum. Come ask your questions, or stay home and be satisfied with making up your own answers and believing them.

Need Fingerhut arts strategy in less than 2 months

I think it is great you are holding this forum but over the next two months there must be significant clarification on all the issues related to this matter. By the time of your forum, we should know all the basics about the players and be looking at refinements to a well developed strategy.

Perhaps the following notes from a 2002 Fingerhut campaign appearance at University of Dayton can be part of the platform - I completely support a vision for making education the priority - commit 50% of the levee proceeds to this... $10 million per year for pre-school to graduate art education in Cuyahoga County:

“What will get Ohio back is an educated workforce,” he said. “It’s good for the whole state. Education must be our top priority.”

“We’ve got to stop pricing education out of the ballpark,” Fingerhut said. “Too many of our potentially best and brightest students are losing the opportunity to pursue higher education. Even those who can take this opportunity are being hampered down immediately by significant debt as a result of loan payments.”

To combat this problem, Fingerhut proposes the restoration of federal Pell grants, as well as making student loans tax-deductible. He also hopes to give young entrepreneurs a short respite on paying their loans immediately following graduation, giving them tax relief at the beginnings of their careers so that they have time to start new businesses. Fingerhut sees these new businesses as vital to Ohio’s economy.

“We need to create new things from scratch and create a culture where innovation and creativity are encouraged,” he said. “Look at the auto industry—it was a new, incredible thing that has grown into an amazing economic market. What is the next generation going to be? I really don’t know the answer—but I know that it will come from guys and girls in college.”

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In disclosure, HeightsArts received 2006 ACE grant

After listening to the Fingerhut interview with CoolCleveland and hearing that it is going to distribute funds like the ACE grant - not clear if the same "expert advisors" or different - I checked the list of 2006 ACE grant winners and HeightsArts received $20,000 for a program at the Cleveland Heights Library - I'm not saying it is bad HeightsArts got an ACE grant or that this is pay to play and don't know if the ACE funding was for the same program as the one where Fingerhut will speak, but it is important that all aspects of this are not only transparent but openly promoted... I'd love to see HeightsArts promoting this Fingerhut talks as "it worked for us - it'll work for you".

    Heights Arts     Heights Arts @ The Library
    July – June

    Expansion of Heights Arts programming into a newly renovated space in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library. Programming will include arts experiences to children and adults in conjunction with exhibitions.    


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Let's make NEO the world's aerosol art capital

Here's another thought for developing the arts in NEO in non-traditional ways, and I think we need to get out of the box... See this posting from late 2004 saying "Let's make NEO the world's aerosol art capital"

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Arts action: & 1-216-479-8555

Thomas Mulready posted and interview movie with Eric Fingerhut at CoolCleveland that hypes the campaign - nothing wrong with that - message is the money will fund everything from church programs to University Circle - feel the effort has a strong chance of passing  - organization is very much based on the Cuyahoga County Commissioners ACES Grant program and most of the money will go to small programs and organizations. They as people to call in to talk shows, write editors, and talk up the vote - say polling puts the issue close the passage but tobacco industry will fund opposition. I can't say they mention anything new or inspiring, but they don't cause alarm - at the end of the interview Fingerhut suggests people call the Arts and Culture Action Committee at 1-216-479-8555 or email acac2006 [at] gmail [dot] com for more info, material, or have "talented artists" come talk about the issues, whatever that means... worth watching the video posted below, and following up... but another question comes to mind, which is how is this campaign being funded?... From CoolCleveland:

As leader of the arts levy campaign, Eric Fingerhut spoke with Cool Cleveland's Thomas Mulready outside the Cleveland Play House and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, discussing why arts funding is critically needed, where the polling stands, and what Cool Cleveland readers can do to help.
MOVIE ACAC Campaign Director, State Senator Eric Fingerhut (PC) (Mac)

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Proposal for REALNEO, May Show and Cleveland School

See my posting on "Proposal for NEO community to develop REALNEO, May Show and Cleveland School" as a serious next step to moving the arts and culture and economic development communitiies together in collaboration. I look forward to your thoughts posted as comments there and new ideas elsewhere here.

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bringing the arts and community together

I have struggled for many years to bring this community together. I have worked to bring the dance community together once with good result and later to experience the frustrating lack of willingness to collaborate.

I have seen the local foundations struggle to make decisions about what to fund as far as all the issues our region faces. It must be arduous to decide that the energy crisis, urban poverty issues and other areas such as aging are more important than the arts – that in order to move more funds to the areas that rise on the horizon of need, they must shift their focus to supporting the legacy institutions that are home to our arts and find other avenues for funding the smaller organizations that make up the rich cultural fabric that clothes the region.
 I am not sure how I feel about sin taxes regardless of what they are intended to support. I look forward to hearing discussion because I am on the fence. Perhaps we should tax lawn care remedies that pollute our streams and watersheds instead of or in addition to cigarettes. What happened to alcohol as part and parcel of what we call “sin”? Maybe we should tax gasoline and driving, maybe it is coal use we should tax. I'm not sure. But I would like to hear a discussion that allows us to better understand why we choose to lay the burden of affording something that is for everyone on some.

Fingerhut says we begin with a sizable margin of support in the polls for this support. There were 40 something % of the voters who would have increased their property taxes to support the arts after a 5 week campaign the last time around. This time, though we have some traction, we have the County who has spent many dollars over the years for arts and culture quietly with the large institutions, in the last few years expanding and making public that support – instituting a process for application and decision. That they gave to the orchestra and art museum for many years was told to me by a long time lobbyist for the arts, the late Ben Shouse back in the 1980s. I asked him if there was simply no way that local government would support the arts and he said, “Oh, the county gives money to the big guys, you just don’t know about it. If small orgs knew they would want to change that policy.” It was don’t ask, don’t tell. The history of organizations that have been born and have passed to help bring together and support that the arts here in my time here is interesting, too. First, there was the Cleveland Area Arts Council ( which was gone before I arrived in Cleveland. Then The Cleveland Arts Consortium, which originally was open only to the big institutions and only later to smaller orgs, was launched. ( ). I was here to see the end of the Arts Consortium. It appeared that the Arts Consortium (later the Cleveland Cultural Coalition), which later operated simultaneously with the newly funded and launched Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. In  replaced by CPAC. Initially, the newly hired Tom Schorgl seemed to be saying that he had been hired to help garner public (government) support for the arts; that his role here would be short lived. That CPAC would convene the arts and culture community, gather some data and then find a way to leverage that gathered data into public support for the arts. See “Plan would call on the public” here in this copyrighted article from Crain’s Cleveland Business.

I have seen CPAC take on a number of roles over that time period most of them quiet initiatives. Initiatives such as be a better business person or organization – sell your last minute discounted tickets through us (C-tix) have been launched. It was not until the last minute emergence of issue 31 that a ballot issue was raised. How funds would be spent was made about as clear as mud at that time. I am just curious about the history and the overall plan that has brought us to this “easy” tax – one that is easily perpetrated on many poor people who smoke rather than on wealthy people who cavalierly spread cancer causing chemicals on their lawns.


I am already a supporter of the arts. How they are funded, however, I hope will be a transparent process, all closets opened and aired, the big plan revealed and an appropriate solution found.


Despite these many consortiums and coalitions and partnerships, we still have no comprehensive calendar for the arts in Northeast Ohio. Could realneo serve in that way? I suppose it could if the arts community knew it was here. Could realneo serve as a bottom up/grassroots forum for the arts? Maybe, if arts organizations actually decided to use the technology made available to them for said purpose. It happens here already among a few. It could be a wonderful gathering space for all, if we can close or cross the digital divide.

Susan Miller said, "Despite

Susan Miller said, "Despite these many consortiums and coalitions and partnerships, we still have no comprehensive calendar for the arts in Northeast Ohio. Could realneo serve in that way?"

This sounds like a great application for Drupal.  I wonder, could we start it on realneo as susan suggests and as more and more artists sign-on, migrate it to it's own site/url? 
realneo would be serving as an incubator of sorts...

norm, is it possible to migrate specific categories of content to another drupal site?

i really like the idea that realneo could serve as an incubator....


No problem centralizing calendar

All the content goes into a mySQL database and can be managed and migrated at that level, and we definitely want to do this with the updated version of Drupal, using Organic Groups, Contact Relationship Management (CRM), Friend of a friend (FOAF) and develop GUIs for PDAs and cell phones... GIS too. We also want to comply with iCalendar and enable posting events by email and email notification - Drupal is perfect for all of this and Phillip has been discussing developing a supercalendar with George Nemeth as well, so we just all need to get on the same page. I'll let Phillip jump into the discussion on the technical issues.

The model I see making sense is for each arts group to have their own organic group, allowing them to have unique members, calendars, blogs and other content, video, private messaging, etc., but all groups able to promote content including events to a master site, which can be realneo or May Show or whatever - they could even form sub communities of collaborating groups like all the dance orgs. Using categories, the calendar could be viewed with filters - just dance - also, we can filter by proximity (e.g. 10 miles from me).

The best solution would have each organization that is in the calendar commit to adding their own events, so we don't have the overhead of entering events for everyone (which has been the challenge up to now). So, if you are having an art opening, you go to the site or email in your event. If people want to comment, they can. Want to contact the event promoter, send a private message. The new Drupal has RSVP so all that can be managed - even ecommerce for selling tickets... T-shirts - taking donations or having a tipjar... put it in Spanish as well... really unlimited possibilities. Let's do it.

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getting to the orgs

I think we could split up (when we are ready to launch) and gather the email contacts and phone numbers for follow-up of the orgs. Also an email can be sent to service orgs, who can promote it virally. This will require some research and a considerable amount of follow up, but I believe that realneo can do it better than any other content providers I have seen.

I do want to add my two cents about having it within or as a separate site from realneo. I like having it all in one place -- realneo can help to educate artists who don't think of their work as political - fact is, when the bread you're feeding your kid comes from the coffin nail of someone else's cigarette, baby, anything you do is political, NASA or no NASA.

Artists need a place to learn about the world, too. In the studio, cloistered away from institutional memory, history and today's pressing issues, it's no wonder some choreographers, for example, are still making cute, sexy, showy, meaningless dances; that hyper political hip hop gets commercialized by the MSM and forgets its roots. That is not targeted anywhere locally just a reflection of what presenters think audiences want to see and hear. I want artists who come to the site to post to see the posts about local and global issues. This may encourage them to think more broadly about content; it may help to sharpen their blades so they can cut into more relevant territory than some approach currently. Just a thought...

REALNEO is what has made me socially active

I will say that other than really hating what Christian fundamentalists have done to this country, I was not at all politically or regionally focused or socially active until I started posting to REALNEO and so interacting with other people who share my interest in Northeast Ohio's future, and quality of life. By having one place to organize content and share ideas with others who have different ideas, perspectives, experiences, resources and knowledge, I feel part of a community that is heard by all. Now, I find myself really paying attention to what the Plain Dealer reports, and what the politicians and other community leaders say, and I can throw my thoughts and questions out to a greater, more free community of peers and learn what others think. What I find is my peers think completely differently than the mainstream media and leadership, which makes me confident we may improve this community... we know where the problems are. The more people who participate in this the better. I give my interests in realneo to the community so it is available as the portal for all to use... we just need to organize how that will be managed in the future.

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Making REALNEO a model for the world

I'm excited by the possibility a team of people will work together to transform Northeast Ohio through F/LOSS social computing, as I just received a "Call For Paper" for the Héphaïstos conference in Paris on the 16th and 17th of November, 2006, organized with the support of the Adullact, the AFUL and the Computer Science Department of the University of Paris, and I am seriously considering writing a study of the experience of developing REALNEO in Northeast Ohio for the Humanities track... category: Building a community around a software stack. It would be nice to do this as a positive work in progress, rather than exploring obsticals. I have 2 months to put the paper together so we have that long to make this a huge success we can showcase to the rest of the world. More on the conference at this website and posted below:

The Héphaïstos Conference
First International Conference on Open Source Collaborative Development Platforms
16..17th of November 2006,
Paris, France

FLOSS is one of the most interesting, successful and controversial technology related phenomenon.

The collaboration tools and methods are the backbone of the FLOSS development, but unfortunately many users of FLOSS see the result but not the process and therefore have trouble to manage the transition from FLOSS user to “Full membership”.

Particularly the public sector still fails in many case to fully reap the benefits of an Open Source Strategy because of this.

The goal of the Héphaïstos 2006 is to provide an international forum where a diverse audience of FLOSS researchers, and decision makers can share their experience and explore the culture, methodologies, technologies and tools that enable an efficient collaboration between teams that share a common goal but not a common line of command.

Héphaïstos 2006 will bring together members of the academia, industry, open source community and public administration to share experiences, ideas, and concerns.

The conference will consist of research papers presentations, workshops, tutorials, panels, and project demonstrations.

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