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Ohio program helps artists thrive

As many who’ve aspired to earn a living as a woodworker or other type of artist know, the rewards of expressing their creativity and having it appreciated by others can be the ultimate reward. But the price of pursuing a dream career can be high, especially with the costs of supplies, travel, housing and studio space. That’s where the new Artists in Residence program, based in Cleveland, comes into play. Launched in August, this program aims to help prospective artists and musicians live affordably while growing their business.

Officials from the New Artists in Residence Program in Ohio hope to replicate the program throughout the country.

With the Artists in Residence program, artists and musicians have the option to own an affordable permanent location in the Cleveland area where notable art festivals and events are held each year, including the Tremont Arts Fest, Waterloo Arts Festival, Murray Hill Art Walk, Boston Mills Arts Fest, Cain Park Arts Festival and more. With Artists in Residence, the 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.

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The program is organized by the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture 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.

“The [Artists in Residence] program is a great model to build out artistic communities around the nation that are affordable and make sense for artists and musicians. It’s our goal to launch the initiative in the Cleveland area and carefully study the results and effect on the neighborhood,” partnership COO Megan Van Voorhis says. “It’s our hope that the program will continually grow and build out the local arts and music scene. From there, we will be able to share this model and program with other Rust Belt cities in the nation to do the same.”

“Offering affordable housing in a neighborhood that is up and coming is a great way for artists to keep their costs low and invest in their business, whether they are from the surrounding neighborhood or a few hours away,” says Brian Friedman, executive director of Northeast Shores Development Corporation. “North Shore Collinwood is the perfect opportunity for artists who do this as a full-time career. With a thriving arts scene and affordable living, it’s perfect for those who commute back and forth throughout the year to cut costs and increase their business exposure.”

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— Jennifer Hicks

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