Here in Collinwood, we are proud to launch Ohio’s first participatory budgeting (PB) experience.

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In case you don’t know, participatory budgeting is a growing movement to improve civic engagement by allowing community members to directly decide how part of a public budget is spent.

Our project is called Ballot Box. While we are not spending public funds, we do have $120,000 for arts placemaking efforts thanks to ArtPlace. 


The Ballot Box Project is Ohio’s first arts-based Participatory Budgeting effort. The project will give Collinwood residents a direct voice in arts investment in their neighborhood; engage them and local officials in candid discussions about citizen-led placemaking; and leverage arts activity to increase civic education and engagement.


In March, Collinwood residents voted on artist projects in the following community issues:

  • Collinwood History
  • Vacancy
  • Healthy Eating
  • Youth Engagement

The Ballot Box Project was about getting ordinary residents involved in community decision making, and how to spend $120,000 is creative placemaking funds. Over the course of five public meetings, residents decided what topics the art projects would address, what about those topics is most important to them, provided proposal feedback, decided the rules about voting and outreach, and participated in a community art day. In total, 120 people were involved in that process.

To kick off the voting, a colorful thunderous parade weaved through the neighborhood. Artists on the ballot and enthusiastic residents marched through the streets bookend by two New Orleans style jazz bands to let everyone know voting was about to begin. It was fun, it was crazy, and was it ever memorable.

Voting happened over multiple days at five locations, including Collinwood High School. Over 500 people, 100 of which were under 18, cast their vote to determine the art projects that would be funded around Collinwood history, healthy eating, youth involvement, and vacancy. Those winning projects had some amazing outcomes! Over 3,000 people participated in these projects. Check out what you missed!

Collinwood History
Stephen Bivens, This is Collinwood: History in Everyday People
Ben Smith, Splice-Cream Truck

Healthy Eating
Lori Kella, Grow.Cook.Eat.Collinwood
Kevin Scheuring, Eat Local and Learn
Linda Zolten Wood, Operation Vegetables: The Giant Board Game of Yummy Health

Michael Hudecek, Craft Up Collinwood

Youth Engagement
Cindy Barber, Bicycle Rickshaws on Waterloo
Bridget Caswell, Collinwood Camera Club
Margaret Craig, Neighborhood Arts Ambassadors