Cuyahoga County has announced that $4 million in funding will be made available to arts and culture through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”).

$2.7 million is set to be distributed to arts and culture nonprofits through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, with an additional $1.3 million for for-profit performing arts venues and artists to be distributed through Arts Cleveland. The funding will provide critical funding to Cuyahoga County’s arts and culture sector, which has experienced a devastating loss of revenue and jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deadline: Sunday, November 22, 2020

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Program Overview

Arts Cleveland is managing the distribution of $1,336,000 in funds earmarked to support Cuyahoga County’s for-profit performing arts venues and artists. These funds will be allocated as follows:

  • For-profit performing arts venues: $712,800
  • Artists:  $583,200
  • Administrative costs: $40,000
  • Total: $1,336,000

Please note: CARES Act funding can only be used to cover costs of necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. In addition, costs must be incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020. All costs must comply with any Guidance, Frequently Asked Questions and Answers issued by the federal government or State of Ohio, which includes without limitation, U.S. Treasury, Office of Inspector General, the Ohio Auditor of State, and the Ohio Office of Budget and Management.

For more information, the US Department of Treasury’s guidance on the Coronavirus Relief Fund can be found at the following links:


Small Performing Arts Businesses

Start Your Business Request Form

Download print-ready request form (For review only. All requests from businesses must be submitted through the online form).

Eligibility

Funding is available for independent live performance venues, dance and music studios, theaters, promoters and producers that are:

LOCAL: Headquartered in Cuyahoga County

IN BUSINESS: In business and have been fully operational prior to March 1, 2020

SMALL: Typically operate with 100 or fewer Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees

HAVE LOST REVENUE: Can demonstrate at least a 60% decline in revenues after March 1, 2020 as compared to that same period in 2019

LEGAL: Registered as a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or individual sole proprietor

PERFORMING ARTS-BASED: Defined as businesses that book and present, exhibit, perform or produce live performances, classes or workshops of music, theatre, dance, comedy, interdisciplinary or other performing arts endeavors that are open to the public as their primary business service.

  • Performing Arts Businesses – Must have a record of paying fair wages to presenting artists, bands, performers, teaching artists and crew (WAGE Certified recommended, but not required) based on selling tickets to the public, art sales or other comparable means
  • Venues/Presenters – Four of the following  must apply to your business:
    • Have a defined performance and audience space;
    • Provided mixing, sound, and/or lighting systems;
    • Utilize at least two of (including owner/operators): sound/lighting engineer, booker, promoter, stage manager, security personnel, box office manager;
    • Have a paid ticket or cover charge to attend a majority of performances
    • Promote performances through advertising and listings in printed and/or electronic publications, websites, email blasts and/or social media.
  • Producers – Must provide sound, stage and lighting for the presentation of live music, comedy, theater, dance or similar performing arts primarily in independent venues or at festivals

Restrictions

Limited to one application per business/TIN-EIN number.

Business are ineligible if they are any one of the following:

  • “Publicly-traded”
  • Multinational
  • Own, manage, book or produce at venues in more than one state
  • Ask artists to perform or work for free or solely for tips—except for legitimate fundraisers or similar educational, charitable, or community-oriented events
  • Have received CARES funds through CAC’s program

Distribution of Funds (Maximum Funding)

  • Annual revenue of $1,000,000 or more:                    $45,000
  • Annual revenue of $500,000 to $999,999:                 $25,000
  • Annual revenue of $100,000 to $499,999:                 $10,000  
  • Annual revenue less than $100,000:                          $5,000

Reporting and Eligible Expenses

Funding is available for independent small arts businesses facing economic hardship due to COVID-19 business closures. Cuyahoga CARES for Small Performing Arts Business funds are for expenses your business has incurred and struggle to pay as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic or related directives or executive orders between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020. Funds may not be used for costs that have been PREVIOUSLY COVERED by the federal government via prior CARES Act funding or other federal programs. Reporting expenses for Cuyahoga CARES that have been previously covered by other CARES Act funding dollars may result in returning your allocation to the federal government.

This funding may be used for:

  • Rent and/or mortgage assistance
  • Staff Retention
  • Emergency planning/staff training
  • Additional security/safety personnel
  • PPE Items
  • COVID-19 venue upgrades, including purchase of other new equipment or software for safety protocols
  • Insurance premiums
  • Licenses, fees, real estate and other local taxes
  • Utilities
  • Existing loans
  • Recouping deferred expenses due to cancelled events including artist deposits, ticket refunds, etc.

Funding may not be used for:

  • Unrelated real estate
  • Costs already covered by other CARES Act funded programs
  • Legal settlements
  • Workforce bonuses
  • Severance pay reimbursements
  • Political campaigns or candidates
  • Illegal activity


CARES Relief Funding for Artists

Start Your Artist Request Form

Download Print-ready version

Eligibility

Funding is available for independent, creative professionals that derive income from their art and are:

LOCAL: Reside in Cuyahoga County

PROFESSIONALLY CREATIVE:  Have been deriving income from creating, performing, teaching or assisting in the development of work in the disciplines of Craft, Dance, Design, Film, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, Writing, or Natural History/Natural Sciences prior to March 1, 2020

HAVE LOST INCOME: Lost income, or performance exhibition opportunities due to cancellations and closures after March 1, 2020 and have not received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for those losses.

ADULTS: Are at least 18 years old

LEGAL RESIDENT: Can provide a SSN or tax ID number

Restrictions

  • Individuals that own, operate or serve in any executive-level position at a business applying for CARES funds through Arts Cleveland’s Performing Arts Business Relief program are ineligible.
  • Individuals that serve in an executive-level position at a nonprofit applying for or receiving CARES funds through CAC’s program are ineligible.
  • Employees of Arts Cleveland, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) or Cuyahoga County are ineligible.

Only one application per artist will be accepted.

Distribution of Funds

Funding amounts will be determined based on the number of eligible applicants and will not exceed $2500.

* Due to limited funds, not all eligible applicants will receive a Cuyahoga CARES allocation. Funding allocations for individual artists will be determined based on income lost and unforeseen expenses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and health-risk factors related to COVID-19.

Review Process

Applications will be reviewed after the deadline. Funds will be determined based on a set of criteria including reported percentage losses from 2019 income to 2020 income, continued expenses and other risk factors.

Priority will be given to those most impacted by pandemic closures including, artists providing services in high-risk environments without hazard pay and a high percentage of income losses due to business closures.

Expenses and Reporting

These funds are to support individuals who are facing economic hardships due to COVID-19 pandemic. Cuyahoga CARES for Artists funds are for expenses you have incurred and struggle to pay as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic or related directives or executive orders between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020. Funds may not be used for costs that have been PREVIOUSLY COVERED by the federal government via prior CARES Act funding or other federal programs. Reporting expenses for Cuyahoga CARES that have been previously covered by other CARES Act funding dollars may result in returning your allocation to the federal government.

These funds may be used for:

  • Current and new living expenses
  • Childcare expenses
  • Rent, equipment and art materials
  • Other necessary items to maintain your artistic practice and future economic stability through that creative practice

These funds may not be used for:

  • Costs already covered by other CARES Act funded programs
  • Legal settlements
  • Workforce bonuses
  • Severance pay
  • Reimbursements
  • Political campaigns or candidates
  • Illegal activity

Artists who receive relief funds may be required to report to Arts Cleveland on how funds were spent.

Hard Copy Request Forms

Paper request forms will be available for the Cuyahoga CARES for Artists program at an in-person workshop (TBA) or may be requested by Friday, November 6 to be sent by mail. Please contact Arts Cleveland at 216-575-0331 x132 to request a paper application by mail. A download and self-print option for request forms will also be available on the Arts Cleveland website.

Paper request forms must be mailed to Arts Cleveland, ATTN: Cuyahoga CARES, Artists, 1900 Superior Ave., Suite 130, Cleveland, OH 44114. Mailed forms must be postmarked no later than November 20, 2020. Applicants are responsible for their own postage. Arts Cleveland does not have the ability to accept paper request forms submitted in-person or via email.

Hard Copy Support Materials

Question 14 of the artist request form asks for proof of artistic career via url. If a URL with the artist’s work is not available, artists are required to provide basic documentation of their artistic practice. If mailing in a hard copy request form, please include no more than five (5) pages of printed material. Printed artistic work documentation can include images, literary writing and articles on your practice, with descriptions and dates.

Important note: Arts Cleveland cannot send or receive request forms for CARES funds via email. Forms and supporting material must only be submitted either the online portal or as a mailed hard copy, as outlined above.

3 Comments

  1. […] Q. I’m an artist, am I eligible for these funds?A. 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 CARES funds. Other restrictions apply. Please review the guidelines for the full eligibility criteria. https://artscleveland.org/cares/#Artists […]

  2. Scott Hindulak on November 10, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    We are just looking for a sponsor to our project. Cleveland Brass Works has received a commissioned piece for the ensemble to perform for the Christmas season of 2021. We have the venue and the orchestra. We just have a few costs to cover. Our budget request is for $5000.00. How do we apply for the sponsorship?

    • Valerie on November 10, 2020 at 10:16 pm

      Hello Scott, We do not offer the kind of sponsorship you are requesting. We do not offer grants at this time. This program is strictly for artists who have been economically impacted due to COVID-19-related business closures. However, we’d be happy to talk further with you if you’d like help brainstorming potential partners.

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