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Arts Cleveland Helps Artists Weather Coronavirus Fallout

Arts Cleveland offers interest-free loans to local creatives

The team at Arts Cleveland believes that art “illuminates, empowers, soothes, enrages, amuses, informs, disquiets, consoles and uplifts.”

Just when the Cleveland art community needs it most, the organization is stepping up. They are working tirelessly to ensure that artists survive the economic and public health storm. And, even more, they want to see artists come out on the other side of this even stronger.

The mission of Arts Cleveland is to advance arts and culture in Cuyahoga County and beyond. The organization believes in the healing and unifying power of art, especially in times of crisis.

“It can inspire awe and create wonder,” the organization’s leaders say. “It can bridge societal and perceptual divides, ineffably interweaving us with each other as humans, or joining us as humans to the larger world. Art changes lives.”

Giving artists a leg up

Arts Cleveland is putting its mission into practice. They’ve gotten creative to support the arts community in a variety of proactive ways. Arts Cleveland created a $250,000 emergency loan fund for artists, musicians, and employees of arts organizations. The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation and NoteWorthy Federal Credit Union have partnered with Arts Cleveland to make the loans possible.

Artists may borrow up to $2,500 interest free for up to one year to replace income lost from closures and cancellations related to the pandemic.

In the announcement, Arts Cleveland President Megan Van Voorhis, explained why the organization wants to help individual artists.

“Artists and musicians are a particularly vulnerable portion of our creative sector, despite their considerable contributions to our lives and communities.”

A band performs at the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio. [Photo by David Veksler on Unsplash]

Serving as a one-stop support shop

In fact, Arts Cleveland is providing more than emergency relief funds. The organization launched a resource site called Creative Compass to aggregate resources and support outlets for Cleveland’s creative industries.

The Arts Cleveland staff continues to work full time to advocate for the artistic community. They’re busy populating Arts Cleveland’s website with new information and tools to help artists weather the public health crisis.

The Arts Cleveland team says of the effect of COVID-19 on the arts community, “Artists and creative workers are at the core of the creative industries and a significant part of the gig economy. They do not benefit from paid sick leave and other forms of paid time off. Canceled gigs mean no pay, and with little safety net, that puts our creatives at risk.”

How the arts has provided life-giving inspiration to those living in Cleveland’s poorest neighborhoods. [Courtesy of Arts Cleveland]

In addition to virtual happy hours and artist roundtables, Creative Compass connects artists to unemployment attorneys. Over video calls, the attorneys offer advice and support to creatives who are out of work because of the pandemic. Job seekers can also browse open positions and answer the call for artists put out by public health campaigns.

As the creative community bands together during the COVID-19 crisis, organizations like Arts Cleveland are leading the charge in supporting artists who uplift the world with their work.

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