16 May May Business Feature — Community Partnership for Arts & Culture
About Community Partnership for Arts & Culture
This non profit organization supports arts and culture professionals, community leaders and visionaries who are shaping Greater Cleveland. Its training, online programming and customized advice supports new ideas, skills and connections works to strengthen, unify and connect greater Cleveland’s arts and culture sector. CPAC envisions greater Cleveland’s diverse arts and culture sector as a leading partner in contributing to the community’s vitality and enlivening the human.
Q& A with Megan VanVoorhis
President & CEO
Community Partnership of Arts & Culture
Q: What are some of the programs that are offered at CPAC?
One of our most significant programs that we have for artists and creatives is
Creative Compass. It’s a free online website resource designed to connect individual artists with the resources that we are hearing that that they needed. The structure was built upon the request that we were getting for studio spaces. The information is split up into sections. Listings for halls for artists, available space, grants, employment opportunities, audition timings and event calendar of professional development and networking opportunities. This resource also helps the artists as an entrepreneur.
The Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute (AEI), is another program we offer. It provides artists and creatives with access to entrepreneurial information that they might not have access to. Most times, the collegiate experience for Art majors focuses on resume building and how to position yourself for a job/career. For those who did not go to school and are naturally gifted with making great art also do not get information about how to become an entrepreneur or business skills. The AEI course covers topics like marketing, accounting and branding. Resources are available both online and in person.
Q: What made you join The Presidents’ Council Business Chamber and what are your goals as a member?
CPAC joined The Presidents’ Council Business Chamber to expand our network. There has been talk in the community among African American artists in the city about resources that they do not have access to. I think that there is potential for CPAC and PCBC to test and evolve ideas to benefit both parties.
Q: How do you see The Presidents’ Council and CPAC collaborating in the future?
One of the ways we see a way to work together soon is with The Presidents’ Council’s scholars and how people are connected to opportunities in the arts. Who are the people who are in school that are creative and have an idea that they want to pursue a creative occupation and want to be entrepreneurs and how can we help them meet their goals.
Q: What role does Arts & Culture play in our economy?
We are starting to see creative roles becoming implemented in a ray of different industries creating jobs. For an example, more employers are looking for graphic designers and photographers.
We also have attractions that draw visitors from around the world like The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Museum of Art which is internationally known. Visitors pay for lodging, food and much more to visit these places.
On a smaller scale we have places like Playhouse Square who draw people from just outside of the County but are spending their dollars in our region.
All of that activity, in terms of bringing people in, becomes really important for driving all of these other industries. It brings foot traffic, drives spending and shows that this industry is in demand.
Lastly, there is always room to discover how to cross pollinate the arts and culture industry with different industries. An example is the idea of industrial design and manufacturing – How do we help manufactures innovate? Design is one of the ways people are increasing innovating. With a strong focus in both in Cleveland, how can we get these two industries to come together to build something strong and innovative
Q: One of the core beliefs of CPAC is “Arts & Culture has the power to produce developmental intellectual and emotional benefits for each individual and should be widely available and experienced by all people.” Can you give an example of how Cleveland has benefited from this?
One of the more concrete benefits comes from the healthcare lens. There is a strong connection between Arts & Culture and the ability to heal. That is quite unique to Cleveland because we have such a strong healthcare community as well as a strong Arts Community. Due to collaboration, there are some exciting things happening.
An example of this is music therapy and the ability from people to heal from trauma. Metro Health has a music therapy program that started inside their burn unit. Music is a very powerful tool for these victims to help distract from painful and uncomfortable treatments. The same thing is true for dialysis patients.
Front Line Services offers Art therapy at their Summer Camp for children who have experienced trauma. There is a mask exercise that helps children verbalize their feelings. Arts opens ways for people to interpret how they are feeling and opens up room for conversation based off of colors and pictures used during this exercise. On the outside they express who they are and how they think others see themselves. on the inside of the mask, they express what they are feeling on the inside.
Q: What does it mean to you to be an Arts and Culture advocate and why is advocacy important?
If we have issues that we care about, we need to speak up because no one else will. Advocacy is important to make sure that the decisions that people are making don’t have negative impacts. It is important to make sure that Arts and Culture are alive and well in our communities and that people do not make policies that prevent that from happening. Arts and Culture is an expression of our lives and humanity and I think that there is nothing more critical than that right now if people are going to understand one another.