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Artists in Residence Program Helps Cleveland Artists Live Affordably; Welcome Weekend Now thru 8/4

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As many starving artists and musicians know, being an artist is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling careers one can have. But the price of pursuing your dream career can be high, especially with costs of supplies, travel, housing and studio space. 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 business.

With the AIR program, this allows artists and musicians 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 AIR, 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.

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.

'The AIR 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,' said CPAC chief operating officer Megan Van Voorhis. '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,' said 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.'

For artists and musicians interested in learning more about the program, AIR will be hosting a 'Welcome to Cleveland' weekend from today, 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 (http://cleveland.hyatt.com).
? 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.
- Complementary 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 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, 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 (AIR) is organized by the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture and Northeast Shores Development Corporation. AIR seeks 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. For more information, visit www.welcometocollinwood.com.


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