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Assembly for the Arts unveils opportunity for $400,000 in grants for Cuyahoga artists

Assembly for the Arts received a 20 percent bump in funding this year for grants to individual artists.
Assembly for the Arts received a 20 percent bump in funding this year for grants to individual artists.

About $400,000 in grants will soon be available for artists in Cuyahoga County. The funds come from Assembly for the Arts, the county's arts advocacy nonprofit. Along with Cleveland Public Theatre, Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center, Karamu House and SPACES, grants ranging from $500 to $10,000 will go to 66-78 artists.

The artist support program is funded by a $500,000 grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Partner organizations use the balance for professional development, access to dedicated workspace and exhibition opportunities.

In a statement, Assembly for the Arts CEO Jeremy V. Johnson said the program has been redesigned after artist surveys and listening sessions.

“We took to heart the concerns of creatives. We made the application process easier, expanded unrestricted funds, and broadened the reach to more disciplines,” he said.

It will also encourage applications "from historically underrepresented or marginalized artists” covering everything from dance and music to visual arts and spoken word.

Assembly will handle some of the grant applications and designated organizations will handle others.

SPACES is accepting applications for its first cycle of opportunities through April 15. A second cycle runs May 20 to July 22.

Cleveland Public Theatre, Julia de Burgos and Karamu House are accepting applications through April 30.

Assembly for the Arts will open its Creative Impact Fund applications from April 5 until May 31. Its Rapid Action Grants are available from April 5 until December.

Funding for individual artists has been a controversial topic at recent Cuyahoga Arts & Culture board meetings. In response, CAC increased its grant to Assembly by 20% this year. The agency has seen revenue from the county cigarette tax decline by 50% since its founding in 2007. An expansion levy is under consideration for this November’s ballot.

Updated: March 8, 2024 at 4:54 PM EST
This story was updated to reflect there will be grants for 66-78 artists.
Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.