The CLEVELAND CULTURAL COALITION, an umbrella organization for arts organizations, was founded in 1987 with grants from local foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts. Harriet Wadsworth, the first director, served from 1987-93. The organization was then known as the Cleveland Arts Consortium and focused on increasing audiences for member organizations, marketing the arts, and a discount ticket program.

In 1994 Sheryl Sereda became the organization's director. The coalition's goals were redefined to include political and financial advocacy for the arts, strengthening financial support for member institutions, and improving access to the arts for citizens of the Greater Cleveland area. The Coalition also received a $150,000 grant for the School/Arts Partnership Program to establish long-term links among the arts, cultural institutions, and the CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS. There were 36 member organizations in 1995.

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