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.