TrueNorth Cultural Arts (TNCA) is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation in the State of Ohio that offers opportunities in the arts for all of the citizens of Lorain County and beyond. TNCA has grown into an organization serving over 60,000 customers annually. TNCA provides performance and educational opportunities at affordable rates while striving to meet the following goals:

  • Making TNCA financially sound
  • Providing Accessible opportunities
  • Providing family friendly opportunities
  • Offering performances of the highest quality possible
  • Offering diverse opportunities


TrueNorth Cultural Arts is a multidisciplinary arts organization dedicated to nurturing the creative spirit of individuals and communities of Northern Ohio. TrueNorth provides art experiences that educate and empower each to succeed in the visual, performing, and literary arts.


Our core beliefs drive our pursuit of organizational excellence while fostering these shared values: inclusiveness, community responsiveness, integrity in operations, advocacy of the Arts, and encouraging innovation and the diversity of ideas. TrueNorth is committed to the responsibility it has to the community serving as a “flagship” for the Arts.


TrueNorth envisions a future where the Arts are a valued partner of all aspects of community life. For that end TrueNorth is recognized for its openness to professionals, students and audiences of all ages. We are known for the work we do in broadening access to the arts as well as for deepening experience in the arts for members of the communities we serve.

We are recognized as an important element to the quality of life in Northern Ohio, enhancing the educational, recreational and entertainment value of Lorain County Metro Parks, TrueNorth’s most valued partner.

With this vision we commit:

  • To welcome individuals to share the connection of the arts to nature through multiple opportunities of artistic expression.
  • To provide an inspirational setting where artists, performers, and teachers can flourish.
  • To be an integral part of the schools where teachers will look to us to provide innovative programming that assists in providing well-rounded education through the arts.
  • To foster a cultural environment that enhances community pride and economic development through our collaboration with schools, businesses, professional, and civic organizations.


TrueNorth Cultural Arts, a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation in the State of Ohio serving Lorain County and the western and southwest suburbs of Cleveland, has evolved over the years to become a comprehensive presenting and educational arts organization. Throughout the various stages of its history, TrueNorth has been focused toward serving the community by creating exhibits and sales of art; planning and presenting concerts; developing classes and educational programming in art, theatre and music; and, presenting public festivals. Currently TrueNorth does all of this and more.

A yearly schedule of theatrical presentations rounds out its offerings, making TrueNorth an arts presenter, teacher, organizer, and advocate for the creative expression in all of us.

TrueNorth continues to build its programming capacity across all art forms – musical, dramatic, dance, visual and literary. As one of Northeast Ohio’s richly diversified arts organizations, TrueNorth has demonstrated its value through programs that enrich children, families, schools and the community.

In the past seven years TrueNorth has created a partnership with Lorain County Metro Parks, which has provided new physical spaces at French Creek Nature and Arts Center for TrueNorth to call home. During this time TrueNorth’s programming has continued to grow, and it has become a highly regarded multidisciplinary arts organization that encourages a wide range of artistic expression from professionals and learners alike. TrueNorth has created a supportive atmosphere where professionals deepen their knowledge and skills; novices interested in being involved in theatre, music, writing or fine arts can learn and grow; and, where audiences become transformed through quality arts performances and experiences.

Imbedded in TrueNorth’s history and culture is the practice of featuring local talent while it inform countless individuals, families, and communities about self-expression through the arts. One of TrueNorth’s strengths as an arts organization is its commitment to make audience encounters rich and interdisciplinary. Drawing on the diversity of artistic expressions it embraces and nurtures, TN crafts experiences that allow for more than one art form to be seen/experienced.

TrueNorth was created in June of 1999 but it was a lifelong dream of founder, Rick Fortney. Since childhood he dreamed of a place where artists, actors, musicians and others of all capacities and skill levels could come together to share the arts and make a better community from this sharing and participation. Fortney created TrueNorth in memory and honor of his parents, Mary Lou and Bob Fortney who were active in their community and who inspired a love of music and the expectation of community service in the minds of their children. The name of the organization – TrueNorth – was inspired by a multitude of ideas especially the view of internationally renowned speaker, Steven Covey, who advocates that one’s personal mission and skills align to point to your own, personal “TrueNorth.” In addition, Fortney recognized that the shore of Lake Erie, his home base, is its own geographic “TrueNorth.”

TrueNorth serves 36 communities in six counties, with a main focus of Western Cuyahoga County and Lorain County. TrueNorth is unique from other community art organizations in three distinct ways: partnerships with other organizations in fund-raising endeavors that benefit the community at large, premiering original works, and promoting mentoring relationships within its performing ensembles.

TrueNorth’s Strategic Plan calls for strengthening the organization through the use of best practices in nonprofit management. These include governance and leadership, human resources including staff and volunteers, administration and budgeting, development and community relations, marketing, and strategic arts partnerships and collaborations.

The Plan calls for TrueNorth to build upon its unique personality.

As a multidisciplinary arts organization, with a plan that spurs on the Board and staff to improve programming for audiences that range from school groups to seniors to general audiences, TrueNorth will offer experiences both on site and in the community. It will take the arts to the people.

TrueNorth will continue to be a resource to visual artists, actors, dancers, musicians, and writers from amateur to professional.

TrueNorth has made a conscious decision to continue to serve observers, mentors, students and “novices” and those who may not be regular “partakers” in the arts. TrueNorth seeks to encourage each individual to find his/her outlet for creative expression and enjoyment.

TrueNorth will create “transformative” experiences through the arts and be a source for community pride as well as entertainment.

TrueNorth will stay “family friendly.”

TrueNorth decided to continue to offer experiences that encourage thought and dialogue about important and sometimes difficult issues from history as well as from contemporary society. It will continue to provide a forum for new works.

TrueNorth committed to creating and increasing thoughtful collaborations with other arts organizations as well as non-traditional partners.

TrueNorth recommitted itself to providing interdisciplinary experiences with each touch point so that those who participate in TrueNorth’s programming will get a multitude of “tastes” of the arts, i.e. a variety of artistic expressions are experienced with each opportunity TrueNorth offers.