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Great Lakes Theater "The Merry Wives of Windsor," 2014

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Nonprofit launches free online business course for Cleveland artist start-ups

September 21, 2016, 12 p.m. (CLEVELAND, OH) – Deflating stereotypes of the “starving artist,” the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) has launched a new online version of its award-winning Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute. The business-planning course arms artist professionals with business skills to match their creative propensity. The free, online version of the course caters to emerging artists seeking to make a living through their craft as well as an “à la carte” refresher for established artist ventures.  

The program includes videos curated from across the web, which are supplemented with tailored activities, templates and reflection questions. Content is organized in several digestible sessions encompassing everything from mission statements to accounting. Each session helps participants gain skills to build out their business plan without losing their own artistic integrity. The course considers all creative disciplines, even as it delves into a particularly sensitive topic for artists, the art itself as a product or service.

“We’ve heard many reservations artists have around their business practices as stifling, elusive or even contradicting their creative process,” says Megan Van Voorhis, chief operating officer at CPAC and co-founder of the course. “The course is not teaching writers how to write better, or musicians how to sound better. It’s designed to help artists find the balance, moreover, the parallel between their business and creative processes. Ultimately we want them to flourish and thrive on their own terms.”

The course was originally conceived, in 2003, as a series of cumulative workshops by CPAC and the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE). The in-person course continues to run through the Akron Area Arts Alliance at Summit Artspace and by the Broward County, Fla. Cultural Division.

“Helping artists sustain themselves is critical to a healthy city,” says Valerie Schumacher, director of CPAC’s artist services. “Throughout our programming, we are seeing how contemporary arts and culture is telling the stories of today and helping us reflect on our own world. These benefits among the many others are impossible without the artists who create that work.”

CPAC considers providing content that artists can access at any time, free from judgment or time obligations, one of the primary reasons for building out the course online to supplement the in-person workshops. The course is a cumulative process and can be taken from start to finish using the numbered sessions. With this new content, artists can refresh their skills in a particular area in which they are less comfortable, or they can return to the material as they test and implement new business strategies.

The Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute is available at www.mycreativecompass.org/artsbusiness .

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About Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC)

Community Partnership for Arts and Culture is a nonprofit organization in Cleveland, Ohio. CPAC serves and supports arts and culture professionals and community leaders who are working to create a brighter future for greater Cleveland. Through counsel, relationship building, research, programs and advocacy, CPAC 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 our community’s vitality and enlivening the human experience. For more information, visit www.cultureforward.org.

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