Thank You to Our Funders 

Assembly held its first Art Ball fundraising gala in May 2023. More than 230 art lovers attended as Assembly honored arts supporter Tony Panzica. Creativity threaded throughout the evening with face painting, Brazilian sambas, Djapo’s dance performance and spoken-word artists.  Assembly raised more than $100,000 at the Art Ball to support our work through 37 event sponsors as well as individual contributions. 

Assembly for the Arts thanks the following funders for their continuing general operating support for its programs and services: 

Become a Member

Join the Movement

Assemble to empower all by creating a more inclusive and equitable arts and culture community. Members are gathering from all artistic disciplines, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and abilities to build a better Greater Cleveland.

Membership helps underwrite our advocacy initiatives, and enables us to make research and educational materials free and available to all. Members are automatically added to the Cadence email newsletter.


  • Members-only email updates including current cultural policy efforts
  • Free or discounted event registration
  • Individualized advice and counsel
  • Promotional support for events (don’t forget to select Assembly Member when adding your event to
  • Exclusive access and inclusion in the Membership Directory
  • Member Spotlights on
  • Access to Rapid Action Grant


Young Professionals
and Seniors

Pay What You Can (recommended $25)
25 and under or 65+ (ID required)

Individual $25 / year
Small Group/Biz $100 / year
5-10 members
Organization $300 / year
11 or more members

Creative Resources for the Arts

A Top Priority – Strengthening Support for the Region’s Creatives:

When we launched, Assembly was charged with developing new programs and services for artists and organizations to help increase visibility of their work. In the last year, we armed creative businesses, artists and non-profits with tools to help them forge cross-sector connections, expand their knowledge and find opportunities to share their artistic point of view.

Our Workbench Series launched a series of 12 convenings addressing a variety of topics related to the entrepreneurial life cycle of the creative sector, including marketing and business basics, fiscal sponsorship, healthcare, accessibility partnerships, public performance and contracts. The series is such a success, we’ve expanded content in two directions. Creatives Offer Resources for Everyone (CORE) sessions invite creatives to develop their own Workbench sessions. On the other end, Workbox emails are curated about every two weeks to share new opportunities and resources. Assembly also worked with Destination Cleveland and ListenCLE to pay local musicians for street performances and opened busking opportunities during the 2022 NBA All-Star Game events.

In partnership with the Cleveland Leadership Center, Assembly launched its Arts Leadership Residency. The pilot program provides stipends and six business-oriented learning sessions with a racial equity lens to a cohort of over 20 artists, small creative business owners, and nonprofit leaders—the majority of whom are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC). The program is supported by the Entrepreneur in Residence program powered by Huntington, the George Gund Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. Recipients of the residency will be announced later in 2022.

Assembly supported nine fiscal sponsorships in its first year. Our fiscal sponsorship program opens access to foundation and donor funds that solely fund tax-exempt organizations. Collectively, the community projects raised over $159k. We plan to double the number of fiscal sponsorships we support over the next year, specifically for BIPOC-owned or led nonprofits and businesses, and those managed by and serving individuals with disabilities.

Racial Equity

Uniting the Community through Equity-Focused Work:


From the outset, inclusion and racial equity were woven into the fabric of Assembly. Our Board of Directors intentionally reflects our region’s multifaceted residents and organizations.

Increasing equity within the arts and culture sector is among the most challenging work. Our equity efforts have been explicitly strengthened with funding from key foundations—The Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, The Chuck and Char Fowler Family Foundation and other generous supporters.

Assembly prioritizes forming connections between staff and communities of color—from the Black Local Artists of Cleveland-Kuumba to the programmers at Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center. We’re elevating local BIPOC arts collectives through fiscal sponsorship and the Arts Leadership Residency.

We have engaged Equius Group to help us survey Greater Cleveland’s landscape, establish metrics, and execute deliverables in the third quarter of 2022. We look forward to updating you on this work as it unfolds.

As part of our internal equity practices, Assembly is participating in the Stand Against Racism Challenge by the YWCA Greater Cleveland, having set dedicated time for learning and reflection about social, systemic, and institutional racial inequity into our staff meetings.

One of Assembly’s foundational goals is to “Redress the systemic racism in the arts and culture sector through more equitable allocation of funding and resources to historically under resourced artists and organizations.”

View Assembly's Mission and Values


Engaging Community Leaders in Critical Conversations:

When Cleveland received $511 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, Assembly activated the artist community to demonstrate why they should receive $10 million in rescue funds – or just 2% for the arts. Our “Artists for ARPA” postcard campaign showcased the work of 18 artists from Cleveland’s wards to garner City Council support for 2% for the arts. Assembly held in-person postcard writing events at the Happy Dog Cleveland and the other at Sankofa Fine Art Plus. On March 28, 2022, a coalition of the creative sector delivered 500 postcards to Cleveland City Hall.

In June 2022, City Council President Blaine Griffin announced he included $5 million for arts and culture in his budget proposal. Mayor Bibb adopted the recommendation to deploy $10M in ARPA funds for arts in Cleveland neighborhoods. Assembly, with its partner CAC, will continue to reinforce the importance of the creative sector to City Council and the Mayor’s office to bring our city ARPA request across the finish line.

Thanks to Rainey Institute, Collective Arts Network (CAN), YARDS Project and Future Ink Graphics (FIG) for their support of the postcard writing campaign.

Postcard Writing Parties

American Rescue Plan Act | All Posts

Cleveland City Hall atrium with crowd at press conference.

Local & State Advocacy

Championing Public Investment in the Creative Sector:

Our first year of work coincided with one of the worst economic periods for the region’s creative sector because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Assembly mobilized community partners to plead the case for American Rescue Plan Act funds with Cuyahoga County and City of Cleveland government.

Thanks to the advocacy of the Assembly board and the partnership of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC), Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and Cuyahoga County Council President Pernel Jones jointly committed to $3.3M in ARPA funds for arts and culture. Approved by Council in July 2022, Assembly and CAC will split the $3.3 million equally and will establish processes to equitably distribute the funds to the for-profit and non-profit creative economy and artists.

During 2021’s Cleveland Mayoral Election, Assembly engaged with candidates to ensure arts and culture was represented in public debates. Assembly also partnered with CAN Journal to launch a candidate survey on their policy vision for arts and culture.

When Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb took office in January 2022, Assembly set out to build relationships with the new mayor and his administration to elevate arts and culture in the public agenda. In the Fall of 2021, Assembly held multiple forums with artist coalitions, creative businesses, and nonprofits to develop a set of arts-informed recommendations for the new administration.  One of our many recommendations was to establish an arts liaison at City Hall to drive a strategic cultural agenda. The Mayor’s Chief Strategy Officer Bradford Davy confirmed that an appointment of an arts leader/liaison will be forthcoming.

Data are vital to demonstrate the creative sector’s impact when we speak with public officials. We partnered with Ohio Citizens for the Arts (OCA) and Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, along with six other regional arts councils, and Bowling Green State University’s Center for Regional Development on a study about the Cleveland creative industry’s economic contribution.

The results were sobering and clear: the creative sector in Cleveland is an economic powerhouse, which generated more than $6.7 billion in economic output in 2019 – and the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the industry, which has yet to rebound.