Cleveland Rocks! (And you can afford to live there)

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Time and again the question is asked, “Do you want to be an artist, or do you want to be an artist in New York City?” And these days, what with the Interwebs and all, we can stay up on the most current ideas and practices from anywhere. Yesterday at the Share-B-Q it definitely came up – maybe the new artistic enclave is everywhere. So why not live someplace where you can get a house, a backyard even, and not have to always be overworked, underpaid and basically running on an insane gerbil wheel chasing after imaginary carrots? Go West, Young Artist! Be a part of reviving the great economic engine that is America while secretly & subversively undermining evil Republican gerrymandering tactics, the dismantling of women’s rights and crazy neighborhood watch “stand your ground” laws by spreading artsy diversity-loving pluralism, inclusion & open-mindedness far and wide!

Being an artist is great, but being an artist and having a life is even better. That’s where the Artists in Residence Program (AIR) based out of Cleveland comes into play. This program aims to help prospective artists live affordably while growing their businesses.

The AIR program allows artists and musicians the opportunity to own an affordable permanent location in the Cleveland area. The AIR initiative sells homes to artists for as low as $6,500 in the North Shore Collinwood area. In addition, the program also offers discounted neighborhood storefronts. Once artists and musicians are in their space, the program also assists with grants and loans for everything from fixing a leaky roof to weatherizing their home.

The program is organized by the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) and Northeast Shores Development Corporation. The overall goal is to increase artists’ access to affordable space within Cleveland and to develop a replicable model for increasing artists’ participation in the revitalization of other neighborhoods and other industrial cities across the country.

For artists and musicians interested in learning more about the program, AIR will be hosting a “Welcome to Cleveland” weekend from August 1st- 4th. This event will be bringing artists from all over the country together to learn about AIR and the city. CPAC and Northeast Shores will also be assisting artists with hotel costs, ground transportation and meals. Participants will have the opportunity to check out some of the area’s most artist-friendly neighborhoods and meet a wide range of fellow creative spirits. Highlights include:

  • Three nights at the beautiful, historic and centrally located Hyatt at the Arcade.
  • Guided tours and programming, led by some of Cleveland’s most knowledgeable and passionate community development workers, cultural workers and artists.
  • See cultural organizations, arts districts and artist housing, with time left over for artists’ own personal exploration.
  • Complimentary daytime and evening arts programming.
  • Ground transportation throughout artists’ stay.
  • Five meals giving participants a taste of Cleveland’s nationally celebrated culinary scene.

“Without a doubt, it’s our hope by introducing the Artists in Residence Program in the Collinwood area and working with other artists from around the country that we will be able to replicate this program and share it with other cities nationwide, said CPAC chief operating officer Megan Van Voorhis. “By working together as artistic communities, we can grow our nation’s thriving arts scene one city at a time.”

For more information on the Artists in Residence program please visit www.welcometocollinwood.com. Details and tickets for Welcome to Cleveland Weekend can be purchased by visiting http://welcometocleveland.eventbrite.com.

The Artists in Residence program is a special partnership of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture and Northeast Shores Development Corporation, made possible through the generous support of Leveraging Investments in Creativity, The Kresge Foundation, The Ford Foundation, NoteWorthy Federal Credit Union, The Educational Foundation of America, The George Gund Foundation, KeyBank, The Ohio Arts Council, Charter One Growing Communities and Dominion