The Next Art Capital of the World... Cleveland!?

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The Next Art Capital of the World... Cleveland!?

What happens when an urban environment is a depressed industrial wasteland. Well, usually artists move in fix the place up gentrify, get priced out by the white collars, then move on to the next busted 'hood... At least that's how it has gone in New York for the last 60 years. From SOHO, to the Village (East and West), to Williamsburg, and Bushwick artists have improved New York City 100s of folds over and again.

Well this scenario is about to be put to the test by an ambitious group of Clevelanders who want to bring the arts and culture into their city, in a bigger way. Two organizations CPAC and NSDC have focused on the neighborhood of Collinwood to attract and support a burgeoning artist community. But they are actually subsiding artist commercial and residential spaces for ownership, which they hope will change the community! Affordable live work space for as little as $6,500. No joke.

I had asked one of the founding partners, Seth Beattie, a few questions on this new venture, how did it all begin and who is footing the bills:

Who are the founders of Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) and Northeast Shores Development Corporation? Can you give me background on yourselves and your interest in the arts.
The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture was founded by the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation, first to lead development of a comprehensive plan for strengthening greater Cleveland's arts and culture sector, and after, to begin to address priority areas for the arts community that were not being addressed elsewhere. That work has focused on public policy (perhaps most notably in our county's 2006 passage of a tobacco excise tax that is generating about $15 million annually in dedicated support for arts organizations and artists); research; and programs and services that build the capacity of the arts and culture sector to do its work.

Northeast Shores grew out of the Waterloo Road Merchants Association, the grassroots group of commercial stakeholders on main thoroughfare of what today is the neighborhood's Waterloo Arts & Entertainment District. The community development organization is today focused on a much broader geographic area and on the well-being of both businesses and institutions, as well as individual residents and workers. Northeast Shores employs a variety of different strategies for making North Shore Collinwood an even better place to live, work and visit ...

Everything from assisting neighborhood block clubs to providing homeowner services to commercial development. Northeast Shores' work is very much grounded in the priorities that neighborhood residents and workers lay out for the community. One of those priorities has been to strengthen the neighborhood's growing arts community. As a result, the community development organization has been increasing its focus on helping artists and arts groups own homes and commercial space in the neighborhood and supporting their work over the past decade.

While CPAC has a much broader geographic focus, the two organizations came together in 2011 to launch a new series of artist support programs specific to North Shore Collinwood, building momentum on top of the extraordinary efforts Northeast Shores was already engaged in. We've coupled Northeast Shores' ongoing services with additional low-interest loans, grants for community art projects and extensive marketing and research.

How is the organization funded? Do you have the support of local politicians?

Both organizations receive their funding from a number of different sources. A great deal of support comes from local foundations and corporations, and both organizations benefit from public investment as well. For CPAC, that support comes from both Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and the Ohio Arts Council. For Northeast Shores, that support comes from a variety of city departments, as well as from Community Development Block Grant funding, and from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. Increasingly, both CPAC and Northeast Shores are finding high levels of support from national funders as well. Our artist programming has received large investments from Leveraging Investments in Creativity, the Kresge Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America and ArtPlace.