Any artist or musician can tell you how tough it is to get by these days. A bad economy, the price of music is way down and people are just as likely to stay at home and watch Netflix as they are to go see a band play live. So what's an artist supposed to do to get by? Cleveland's Artists In Residence program has a way to help.
They help artists buy homes, or get in storefront locations by working with Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) and Northeast Shores Development Corporation to give assistance to Cleveland artists. Artists can get a home for as low as $6,500, or a storefront studio to work & sell your wares in the North Shore Collinwood area. Since this part of town is close to events like the Tremont Arts Fest, Waterloo Arts Festival, Murray Hill Art Walk, Boston Mills Arts Fest and Cain Park Arts Festival, artists can stay in touch with the scene.
I can tell you that it's tough to find a good place to live and work that's also a good artist's community. I used to have a studio in the Rossmor Building in St. Paul, and the art-friendly Lowertown neighborhood went through the gentrification process in the mid-2000's. The city council was onboard with the process and the building was bought by a developer who claimed to be REALLY interested in the arts ... but he was only interested in using the building's mystique as a legendary arts community to sell converted condos. Artists were priced out of the building (an indirect way of kicking us out) and the building is really not about art ... it's just a condo building in downtown St Paul.
The problem with gentrification is that when artists and musicians turn an offbeat neighborhood into a thriving artistic community, businesses grow and the neighborhood becomes interesting and diverse. Then the developers come in, try cash in on the vibe, but end up ruining the vibe. And the community.
CPAC chief operating officer Megan Van Voorhis is trying to do different. “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,” he said.
To check out what's happening, they're doing a “Welcome to Cleveland” weekend from August 1st- 4th. Check out www.welcometocollinwood.com for more details.