The Workbench Series: Useable Tools for Creative Workers

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


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 Creative Nonprofits

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 nonprofit 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.

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Session Descriptions

Capitalization for Grantmakers and Nonprofits

During this time of great economic uncertainty, the conversation about capitalization was developed to combat the “norm” of under-resourced arts nonprofits. This workshop and presentation will feature national expert Rebecca Thomas of Rebecca Thomas & Associates (RTA) and senior staff from Grantmakers in the Arts. GIA defines capitalization as “the accumulation of the resources an organization needs to fulfill its mission over time,” specifically for its financial health. These are specialized capitalization workshops are held separately for funders and nonprofit grantees, focusing on what each group can do to support the financial health of nonprofit arts and culture organizations.

Accessibility Opportunity: Arts and Culture Partnership RFP + Shared Virtual Communities

Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities is announcing a special funding opportunity for arts and culture nonprofits, businesses and individual artists to enhance the accessibility of their programming and spaces: $80,000 has been earmarked by the Board of DD to distribute to the arts and culture community for this program. CCBDD team members will provide information on this opportunity and share information on how your organizations and events can be included in their Shared Virtual Communities database.

Healthcare is Not a Privilege

Healthcare is a tough topic for creative workers. Lack of access to healthcare resources is all-to-familiar story in the arts and culture industries. The MetroHealth System is committed to offering healthcare support to our local creative communities and offers many free and low-cost services. Learn more about how you can access these readily available services and take steps toward a healthier life as a creative. The MetroHealth team will present, providing an in-depth look at their offerings and we’ll provide updates on our on-going conversations around healthcare and creative workers.

Fiscal Sponsorship 101

What is Fiscal Sponsorship exactly? And how can this benefit you as a creative worker? Hear from the Assembly from the Arts team on the basics of fiscal sponsorship, what you can expect and how you can tap into this program through Assembly and other organizations.

Beef Up Your Business

SCORE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. Whether you are starting a new creative business or an established business needing to grow your cash flow, learn more from Mark Krosse a business support expert working through the Cleveland chapter of SCORE


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.

Building Race Equity: The CHROMA Guild 
The CHROMA Guild through Erie Arts & Culture advances opportunities and access to resources for creative and cultural professionals of color in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Learn more about this program and best practices for community organizing 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.