|Project:||Artist Community Development Initiative|
|Organization:||Community Partnership for Arts and Culture|
|Photos were taken by Valerie Schumacher, |
CPAC’s Program Coordinator.
The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) located in Cleveland, OH, just launched an exciting pilot program to invest directly in artist based community development. The program, Artists in Residence, is a two-year, $500,000 pilot that will explore what artists can do for Cleveland neighborhoods and what Cleveland neighborhoods can do for artists.
The program will be focused in one pilot neighborhood and will include:
- A two-year, full-time staff position dedicated to the initiative,
- A microloan program for artists buying or rehabbing dwellings within the target investment area,
- A microgrant program to support artists’ work in carrying out community based-projects within the target investment area,
- The development of artist home-ownership services, and
- A coordinated local and national marketing campaign on behalf of the initiative.
This pilot program grew out of a series of convenings with artists focusing on ways artists can provide creative energy to re imagine the formally industrial “rust belt” cities to the “artist belt” cities.
Excited by some of the ideas that developed from the conferences, CPAC started to think about Cleveland in a whole new way and wanted to identify ways to work with artists in creating their artist belt city. With funding from Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), Kresge Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, CPAC developed a research project to identify and map artists living in Cleveland neighborhoods. CPAC partnered with Cleveland State University to conduct the research. Initially, the project was primarily a mapping study, however after they study began they realized they wanted to learn more. What do artists identify as their live/work space needs and preferences? What variables suggest a neighborhood may be desirable to artists? What are the characteristics of residences where artists currently live?
After this year-long study, CPAC was offered a risk capital grant from Kresge and LINC. What would happen if you leveraged money in one neighborhood to use as a test case? So the Creative Workforce Fellowship pilot was born.
The program will focus on a targeted investment area within a pilot neighborhood. The neighborhood will be selected through a competitive process. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that their mission is primarily related to community development. CPAC is strongly encouraging collaborations of multiple organizations.
Once the neighborhood is selected, CPAC’s dedicated staff member will work with the grantee to plan. Part of the planning will be to convene three to four community dialogues about the role of artists in revitalization of the neighborhood. What can artists do around taking over abandoned buildings, creating public art, leading K–12 artist projects, addressing public safety or human service issues, etc. There will also be microloans to artists who are interested in purchasing property and help them identify other financing. A microgrant program will be available for artists that live or work in the neighborhood to conduct community development projects. After the first year, a national marketing campaign will be launched to attract artists and other creative types to locate to the neighborhood.
Part of the success of this project is the many partnerships that CPAC has established with other county and city agencies. According to Seth Beattie, CPAC’s Strategic Initiative Director, “This program has been a very easy sell to the government and elected officials. The community is eager for new ideas on how to attract and keep people and businesses in their communities.” Major partners include Cleveland Action to Support Housing, the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corp and Neighborhood Progress, Inc. With additional support/guidance/interest from the Cleveland Planning Commission, Cleveland Public Art, the Cleveland Foundation, the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.
After the pilot is complete, CPAC will conduct more study on the neighborhoods tracking demographic trends, conducting perception interviews and creating a replication kit for other neighborhoods and communities. It is the hope that they will have new models that can help develop new ways to use the arts in entrepreneurial ways.
“How we leverage arts and culture and how we fund it is so important that organizations thinking about modest investment in risk taking programs. If we want to see continued support for the arts we need to have a stronger case not just about economic value but also what arts can do for community development, education, sustainability and health and human services, etc,” said Beattie.
|Project Contact:||Seth Beattie|