Arts & Economic Prosperity 6

Change the Conversation About the Arts

Assembly is excited to partner with Americans for the Arts on Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6).

AEP6 is an economic impact study of the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry. It’s the largest and most inclusive study of its kind ever conducted, with a specific focus on 387 participating communities from across the country.

For the first time ever, this study includes Cuyahoga County as part of the more than two hundred regions surveyed nationwide. View the Press Release.

What is the study?

Assembly is working with nonprofit organization partners to survey their audiences at arts and culture events of all kinds across the county. These surveys will provide important information on how much people are spending at arts events, what neighborhoods are participating and their investment in and connection to the arts.

Sign Up to Help Distribute SurveysView the Survey Questions

AEP6 Details

Why is This a big deal for Cuyahoga County?

In short, Economic impact studies like AEP6:

  • Can help organizations like Assembly advocate for more resources for arts and culture, including future funding
  • Illustrate the major economic impact of the arts in our region
  • Influence where tax dollars are invested
  • Help change how people view arts and culture

Get Involved and Become a Partner

AEP6 in Cuyahoga County, can’t be successful without you. Help Assembly reach our goal of 800 surveys for Cuyahoga County and Sign up to become an organizational partner today.  This year QR codes make it even easier to distribute. Even surveying ONE of your events makes a difference!

Watch the Webinar to learn more about AEP6 and what you need to know as a partner.

Download Social Media Graphics

2022-23 Arts Leadership Residency Cohort

“We are thrilled to launch this cohort to strengthen a talented and diverse group of artists through the Arts Leadership Residency, part of the Entrepreneur in Residence program powered by Huntington. These artists, nonprofits and creative businesses are already impactful in their work, but the coaching with an equity lens from Cleveland Leadership Center will help take their work to the next level. The program was designed to help artists, especially artists of color, break down barriers to success through access to business resources, networking and dedicated time. ” – Jeremy Johnson, president and CEO of Assembly for the Arts.


Assembly is proud to partner with Cleveland Leadership Center. Assembly received support from the Entrepreneur In Residence Powered by Huntington and The George Gund Foundation for the development of this program. The George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation and the ArtsNEXT program of the Ohio Arts Council provided additional support to the Arts Leadership Residency.

Arts Leadership Residency


view press release

Expanding on the model of traditional artist residencies, Assembly, in partnership with Cleveland Leadership Center (CLC), is offering 20-25 artists some headspace to plan for growth on their own terms. The Arts Leadership Residency offers a $1000 stipend and 6 dedicated learning sessions to address a self-defined business goal or objective. Participants will have access to entrepreneurial experts, mentorship from the CLC alumni network, and skillsets of the other artists and small creative businesses participating in the program.

In keeping with Assembly’s mission, the program will be delivered through a Racial Equity lens and provide management support, coaching, and tools to a cohort of 20-25 artists and small- to mid-sized creative businesses including both nonprofits and for-profits.


The Arts Leadership Residency includes half-day learning sessions, one Wednesday per month, from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Breakfast will be provided. Sessions will be in-person. Location and information regarding safety precautions will be provided to participants in advance.

  • June 15: Application Opens
  • July 15: Application Deadline
  • August 31: Selections Made, Applicants Notified
  • Session Dates (8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
    • Sept 28th: Opening Retreat
    • Oct 19th: The Cleveland Ecosystem
    • Nov 16th: Finance and Funding Landscape
    • Dec 14th: Growing Customers and Donors
    • Jan 18th: Equity and the Artistic Community
    • Feb 15th: Taking Action


Assembly is partnering with Cleveland Leadership Center (CLC) because of its track record of success in positioning leaders at all levels and stages of life to be catalysts for positive change and its longstanding commitment to ensuring racial equity is central to all its civic leadership programs. CLC provides collaborative leadership training, civic education and connections to leaders of all ages, empowering them to identify and take action on issues that resonate with them and positioning them to become change agents in the community.

The Arts Leadership Residency is part of the Entrepreneur in Residence program powered by Huntington, and is additionally supported by


The George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation, and

Meet the Arts Leaders of 2023

Applicant Info

Assembly for the Arts is committed to increasing equity in greater Cleveland’s arts and culture sector. We know that Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) often build creative careers without labeling themselves as artists or art businesses.  We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive program, and we are most interested in finding the best candidates for the cohort. That may include creatives that are not often considered artists or who operate a less conventional business model. We strongly encourage you to apply, even if you don’t believe you meet every one of the qualifications described.

Residency participants were selected to ensure a wide range of artistic disciplines with a commitment to entrepreneurship and racial equity. The Residency Cohort includes 26 artists, cultural nonprofits, and creative businesses. Assembly’s fiscal sponsorship projects, and, in partnership with FRONT International, the artists selected for the Art Futures Fellowship received special invitations to participate in the inaugural program year.

Assembly for the Arts is partnering with the Cleveland Leadership Center (CLC) in the Arts Leadership Residency powered by Huntington through the Entrepreneur in Residence program.


Assemble for a Unified Voice

Designed to keep us accountable and keep you in the know.

Assembly was created to build unity among greater Cleveland’s arts and culture fields so that we can make an even bigger impact in our communities. To help shift the power dynamics often seen in institutions, Assembly’s founding Board members built in a mechanism for consistent and open dialogue with community. These dialogues create space for peer creative businesses, artists, and cultural nonprofits to discuss their collective work toward a greater Cleveland.

Stay current and provide consistent input and timely feedback to Assembly about what you want to see from your service organization.

Quarterly meetings are free and open to all. Topics of each Assembly vary as we shift direction, services, advocacy, and organizational output to meet community needs.

View Calendar

ARPA Funding Program

Applications for ARPA funding are now closed

Please return here for updates as the review process unfolds.


If you are a professionally creative artist or operate a small for-profit creative business in Cuyahoga County and have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for Cuyahoga ARPA for Arts funding.

You may apply to either the Artist or Business Program. Submitting applications to both programs may affect your eligibility to receive funding.

Start by reading the Cuyahoga ARPA for Arts Program Guidelines to find out if you are eligible to apply before beginning your application.

What you will need to complete your ARPA funds application. We recommend compiling this information before you start:


  • Total income earned through your creative practice from each year 2019, 2020 and 2021. You will not need tax forms but will need to provide accurate income numbers in the application.
  • Your total household income and household size as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Links to your artist website, social media accounts or other online sources of your work as an artist. You can also upload work samples including images and documents. Media files, such as video and audio files, cannot be uploaded in the application


  • Your gross business revenue from calendar years 2019 through 2021. You will not need tax forms but will need to provide accurate revenue numbers rounded to whole dollar amounts in the application.
  • Links to your business website, social media accounts or other online sources that illustrate the work of your creative business. You may upload documents with other evidence of your business if you do not have online sources.
  • Your total business expenses from calendar year 2021. You will not need to upload expense documents but will need to provide essential expense numbers rounded to whole dollar amounts in the application, including COVID-19 related expenditures such as PPE, health screenings and upgrades to operate your business virtually.

Applications are now closed and in review.

Please return here for updates as the process unfolds.

Deadline: September 30, 2022

View Guidelines

About Rescue Funds

On March 28th, Cuyahoga County Executive, Armond Budish announced that $3.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds have been dedicated to arts and culture .

Assembly for the Arts and Cuyahoga Arts & Culture are partnering to distribute these dollars directly to you through special relief funding programs for nonprofit organizations, individual artists and creative businesses. You can still Tweet, email and thank your County reps for their support and consideration.

Assembly will distribute $1.65 million of these funds to Artists and Creative For-Profit Businesses. Nonprofit Organizations can visit CAC’s website for more information on their ARPA funding program.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Cuyahoga ARPA for Arts, Artist and Business Programs

When do ARPA applications open?

Applications will open mid-August of 2022. Please visit back here regularly for updates and to submit an online application when available. Paper applications will also be available to download, at select locations and events and by request. Subscribe to newsletters (select public funding or opportunities as an interest) and follow us on social media for program and event announcements.

I’m an artist, am I eligible for these funds?

If you are a professionally creative artist, 18 years of age or older, living in Cuyahoga County, and have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for these ARPA funds. Other restrictions apply. Official eligibility guidelines will be available soon on the Assembly website.

I run a creative business, am I eligible for these funds?

If you operate a small for-profit creative arts business headquartered in Cuyahoga County, and your business has lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for these ARPA funds. Other restrictions apply. Examples of eligible types of for-profit businesses include, but are not limited to: galleries, independent live performance venues, dance and music studios, promoters and producers, independent craft, maker and visual art vendors, music and instrument vendors, instrument repair shops, art supply vendors, arts education-based businesses, design firms, print shops, tattoo shops, etc.

Is the money distributed on a first-come-first-served basis?

No. All artist and business applications will be reviewed after the submission deadline. Submitting early does not increase your likelihood of receiving ARPA funds. Cuyahoga ARPA for Arts is need-based funding and will likely be allocated to artists and businesses in early fall, 2022.

If I have already received federal CARES relief funding in 2020 from any federal program, can I still request Cuyahoga ARPA for Arts funds?

Yes. Having already received CARES funding in 2020 does not disqualify you from requesting these funds. However, Cuyahoga ARPA funds may not be used for expenses that have been previously covered by the federal government via prior CARES Act funding or other federal programs.

Is this a loan? Do I have to pay this money back?

No. Cuyahoga ARPA for Arts is relief funding and not a loan program; you do not have to pay the money back.

Will there be help for me to complete the application and ask questions?

Yes. The Assembly team is taking extra steps to ensure the arts community is supported and reached through this process. Workshops will take place both online and in person in varying neighborhoods and dates, we will have “office hours” for program questions and we have contracted with a Community Outreach Consultant to help make sure we’re reaching the most people possible. Applications will be open for an extended period and we are avoiding a “first come first served” model in order to allow time for those less connected to learn about and apply for these relief funds.

Can I ask Assembly a question about this program now?

Yes! Email with questions during the program process. Please note: we are happy to take your questions about the ARPA for Arts program, but Assembly staff will not have additional details on application content or eligibility guidelines until they are finalized and released publicly. We greatly appreciate your patience and support as we work to build an accessible, equitable federal funding program.



Workbench Series

Workbench Sessions    |     2022 Schedule





Capitalization for Grantmakers and Nonprofits GIA January 11 learn
Accessibility Opportunity: Arts + Culture Partnership + Shared Virtual Communities Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities January 20 view recipients
Healthcare is not a Privilege The MetroHealth System March 10 view resources
Fiscal Sponsorship 101 April 14 watch
Business Basics for Creatives SCORE Cleveland May 4 watch
Marketing Basics for Creatives  SCORE Cleveland May 18 watch
Community CORE: The Superhero Project  Lisa Kollins July 21 REGISTER
Legal Help Needed: Better Call VLA and Legal Aid  Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts; Legal Aid August 11 REGISTER


Fair Wages for Artists
WAGE offers clear parameters for hiring artists at a fair wage based on the work provided. WAGE offers sessions for artists interested in asking for what they’re worth, and organizations and businesses that want to improve their hiring capacity.

Don’t forget the Contracts 
What am I signing and how do I protect myself and my work? From outlining your goods and services to holding others accountable for payment, contracts and agreements are a necessary part of being a creative worker. In this session, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts will provide a how-to guide and some best practices when it comes to reading and building your own contracts and agreements as a creative.

Engaging New American Artists
Erie Arts & Culture advances opportunities and access to resources for creative and cultural professionals in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Learn more from the EAC team about best practices in building lasting partnerships with artists who are new to the States, particularly from immigrant and refugee communities. Adopt community organizing skills to build and offer resources to better serve BIPOC Creative Workers.

Street Performance Know-How
Destination Cleveland and ListenCLE will demystify the ins and outs of street and public performance, and how you as an artist can do this safely, legally and profitably. City ordinances will be simplified and explained during this session. Musicians and any artist interested in performing in public space will benefit from this dialogue.

Artist Career Consultants
Springboard for the Arts has a team of Artist Career Consultants, working and established artists with experience mentoring and teaching individual artists.


In learning from Cleveland’s arts and culture communities, Assembly has seen the need for practical support, professional development and connections rise to the top as priorities for creative workers – from financial sustainability, accounting and health insurance to accessibility, equity practices and legal assistance.

Assembly worked in partnership with The George Gund Foundation and Grantmakers in the Arts to host an initial workshop focused on financial resiliency and capitalization for both grantmakers and nonprofit organizations.

With that and the observed priorities for creative workers, Assembly has devised Workbench Sessions: Useable Tools for Creative Workers

Who benefits?

The ultimate goal of this program is to boost the professional bandwidth and resiliency of our area creative workers and, in turn, grow the effectiveness of greater Cleveland’s arts and culture sector and creative industries. Stronger arts and culture means thriving residents, vibrant and safer neighborhoods, more effective education and community well-being.

Additionally, the financial impact of COVID on artists and arts groups has been well documented. But even prior to the pandemic, small- and medium-budget nonprofits lacked sufficient financial cushions to do long range planning, weather unexpected emergencies, or beef up for expansion. Assembly is well-positioned to provide support and resources to our creative communities that address these issues.

By hosting this series of programs, Assembly for the Arts will gain more insight into future programming and uncover areas of deep need for the arts community.

Financial Sustainability for Creatives

While the overall Workbench Sessions are intended to address the needs of the full creative community, a specialized, separate track of entrepreneurship coaching will be offered for small to mid-size organizations, artists and small creative businesses. Participation will prioritize BIPOC communities, BIPOC-led organizations, and organizations devoted to development equitable business practices. This work is supported by Huntington Bank’s Entrepreneur In Residence program.

Community CORE: Creatives Offer Resources for Everyone

Community Core Sessions

Assembly recognizes that there are hundreds of untapped experts in our arts communities who are living, working and waiting to share their knowledge. That’s why we’re excited to launch Workbench: Community Core. An extension of the Workbench Sessions, Community Core feature arts community presented topics and conversations. We see the value in creating a flexible, community-centered space and platform for our local artists, business owners, nonprofit professionals and entrepreneurs to Teach, Connect and Provide their knowledge to the public using the virtual webinar format.

Topics can be

  • Knowledge-based; rooted in your expertise as part of the arts community and supportive to others
  • Collaborative in style, seeking the feedback of the community
  • Broad-reaching and beneficial for anyone in the arts community

Topics cannot be

  • Partisan political presentations or lobbying efforts
  • A sales pitch or event promotion
  • A lecture on a personal viewpoint

Submit your idea now!

    All Community Core presentations will be hosted on Assembly’s Zoom platform, supported by staff and promoted in our communications channels. Our regular Workbench Series will continue, with Community Core as a supplement depending on community interest and appetite.

    Request Fiscal Sponsorship


    Not all community projects can afford to become their own nonprofit. The process requires time and resources that could otherwise devoted to the project itself. What’s more, this work is often ignited by members of the community who see a problem and are willing to create a solution out of their own pockets. We assemble for the greater good of the people. Through fiscal sponsorship, we can open access to grant funds for those incredible mission-driven projects. Foundations and some donors often solely fund tax exempt organizations for many important reasons—501(c)3 requires fiscal oversight of a board, public record-keeping, proof of public good, and comes with restrictions to certain activities such as lobbying.

    Fiscal sponsorship allows approved projects to come under Assembly’s fiscal umbrella so that you can get to work, and we can help with financial oversight. The relationships with funders, creative freedom, ownership of intellectual property and project coordination all remain with the project creators.

    If you have started a project for the greater good and are interested in applying for fiscal sponsorship, take a look at the process below.



    Step 1: Inquiry

    An artist, creative business or community group contacts Assembly to discuss the potential of fiscal sponsorship for a project. If the mission sounds aligned, they may be asked to fill in a survey as part of step 2.

    Step 2: Written Request

    The potential project will complete an application form to help Assembly assess capacity to implement the project and adhere to general grant and funding requirements. This includes a brief summary of the project, a projected budget and timeline.

    Step 3: Staff review

    Assembly staff reviews the written project (see new project criteria below). Projects are assessed based on the project criteria as well as alignment with Assembly’s mission as well as any potential risks that may be associated with sponsoring the project.

    Step 4: Meeting

    Assembly staff meets with project leadership to discuss the project and agreement in more detail. Assembly offers a high-level view of the arts and culture sector and may provide insights, suggest partners, help solidify a project or serve as a “thought partner” in other ways based on the project.

    Step 5: Signed Agreement

    Each party reviews and signs a written agreement. No funds will be distributed or requested for any new projects without a signed written agreement. The agreement requires the project entity to have a primary contact person, a physical address, and its own legal, tax and accounting identity (typically EIN or SSN).

    [To open a bank account in which Assembly will distribute funds, the project entity will be asked for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number. To apply for an EIN, the project may fill out IRS Form SS-4 ( Responsibility for adhering to the appropriate legal, accounting and tax obligations lies solely with the project entity.]

    Project Funding Cycle

    Individual Donations

    Upon receiving a signed written agreement, Assembly develops a donation campaign page for the project to receive online, tax-deductible donations. The project entity will be given a discrete URL to distribute to potential donors. 

    Grant Applications

    Project entities are responsible for researching and providing application material for all grant proposals. If Assembly is required to submit an application, the project entity is asked to provide evidence that it is poised for successfully acquiring the grant. This will help Assembly deploy resources where they will be most effective. Potential evidence may be:

    • At least $500 procured or 25 distinct individual donations of $10 or more to the project through the donation page provided by Assembly
    • The project has been previously funded or has been directly invited to apply by the funder

    We simply ask for at least one week’s notice to apply for grant funding for existing sponsored projects and at least 3 weeks notice if you are requesting fiscal sponsorship with the intent to apply for a grant. The entity’s final materials must be provided at least 48 hours in advance of the application deadline.

    Reporting / Disbursement

    Once funds are available, Assembly can provide an initial disbursement to get things started based on the project needs. As those funds are spent down, we ask project entities to submit monthly financial reports with receipts. Assembly is required to maintain full discretion and control over donated funds. We use the receipts to account for all of the grant funds and as funds are spent down, Assembly continues to replenish project funds.

    Exit Policy

    We consider fiscal sponsorship an incubator. We love when projects are seen through to the end or even “graduate” to become their own tax-exempt nonprofit. The fiscal sponsorship relationship ends when the project is completed or when either group requests an exit in writing. The primary reason Assembly may end a relationship before then would be an activity that would jeopardize the organization’s nonprofit status such as backing a candidate for office or other restricted activities. Ultimately, continuing or discontinuing fiscal sponsorship is subject to the signed written agreement.


    Criteria for New Projects

    Assembly offers fiscal sponsorship for a limited number of projects that are aligned with its mission to convene, coordinate, and collaborate with everyone who lives and works in Greater Cleveland to strengthen and support those in the region who create, present, experience and appreciate all forms of arts and culture. In order to be considered for sponsorship, the project and must meet the following criteria.

    Legal Criteria

    • The project must fall within Assembly’s tax-exempt purpose including education, information gathering, supporting traditionally underserved communities, economic development and public policy.
    • The project must be aligned with Assembly’s mission.
    • The project may not conduct partisan political activities.
    • The project may not conduct activities in support of or opposition to a candidate running for public office.

    Project Criteria

    In addition to the above legal requirements, Assembly will give priority to projects that meet one or more of the following criteria:

    • The project is a collaboration of multiple organizations and requires a neutral intermediary to secure and manage financial contributions.
    • Sponsorship would expand opportunities for artists of color or minority-owned arts businesses and nonprofits.
    • The project expands accessibility to arts and culture for people with disabilities.
    • The project exemplifies cross-sector partnerships of arts and culture with other community service sectors such as education, health, safety, neighborhoods, economic development, transportation, democracy, diplomacy and others.
    • Project managers have relevant experience and/or include evidence that the project entity has the capacity to execute the proposed project.


    Fee Structure

    Assembly accepts 6% of all contributions for administrative services.


    Additional Services for Sponsored Projects

    Promotion: Assembly lists all sponsored projects on its donation page and encourages donors to contribute to creative projects in our region. Additionally, Assembly launches a giving campaign once per year, typically in the Fall, promoting all sponsored projects.

    Counsel: As staff capacity permits, Assembly offers specialized counsel for projects where expertise exists such as budgeting, funder relations, business strategy, potential partners, or other strategic support as needed.

    Request Fiscal Sponsorship

      *Required fields

      Fiscal Sponsorship 101