BAYarts' Future: Why it will take a village

Twelve short years ago, BAYarts almost didn’t exist. The beloved Fuller House, John Huntington House and Train Depot (now Vento) were in need of substantial repairs. Fast-forward to today, BAYarts is a thriving cultural destination likened to the Chautauqua Institute in New York.  

Many don’t realize that BAYarts receives no funding from the city or Metroparks (free rent aside, all renovations and maintenance are on us). Although we do receive support from the Ohio Arts Council and Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, other funders (such as the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation) will not fund organizations outside of the inner-Cleveland circle.

So how do we maintain the beautiful campus and offer great programming and dozens of free events each year? We earn it. Seventy percent of BAYarts' income is through programming; the rest through fundraising, sponsorships and grants.

When the Huntington Playhouse went dark, there was a call from the public for BAYarts to save it; for BAYarts, with classes that sell out and an audience that continues to grow, we were happy to oblige. The reality we soon found out was that the almost-50-year-old building does not meet today’s standards for safety and function; the cost for even basic improvements far exceeded our expectations.

Thanks to initial funding from the state of Ohio and individual donors, we have raised enough to complete basic renovations of the former lobby; opening in January, it will double as temporary classroom/event space. The biggest, most exciting pieces of the puzzle – a multi-use theater, more classrooms and the outdoor common areas that surround it – depend on you.

BAYarts will kick off a capital campaign in 2019, we hope you will play a part in our next act; serving YOU and future generations. More information is online at  

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Volume 10, Issue 24, Posted 10:02 AM, 12.18.2018