CLE Rocks Project to help Waterloo Engage the Music Industry
Northeast Shores Development Corporation has taken on a new challenge in partnership with Waterloo based non-profit Cleveland Rocks: Past, Present and Future. Founded by Beachland Ballroom and Tavern co-owner Cindy Barber in 2012, and based at 15721 Waterloo Road, where it also operates the Space: ROCK Gallery for music photography. Fueled by grants from the Ohio Arts Council's Creative Economy Initiative and Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, Northeast Shores Development Corporation is the lead fiscal partner, while Cleveland Rocks does the legwork, in a project to help explore how a neighborhood can grow through clustering creative economies, and in this case music.
Called Rock Solid, the grant partnership also includes Cuyahoga Community College's Recording Arts and Technology (R.A.T.) Program. The program is designed to take up where the Remix research study of Northeast Ohio's music sector left off. That study done in 2012 by Cleveland State University and the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture found a significant number of musicians living in the Northeast Ohio region, but only a small portion of them able to live off their craft. Cleveland musicians have long faced living in a city with limited resources compared to other major cities. This collaboration is pairing a few original songwriting musicians who are already working on a music performance career with RAT students to go through this spring semester with hands-on effort and real-world advice from regional professional resources, such as touring insights from Eighth Day Sound, musician loan resources from Noteworthy Credit Union, pressing vinyl from Gotta Groove Records, merchandise distribution by Jakprints, and more. Students will work with band members as they learn from these resources and be able to help with problem solving; technology creation such as YouTube videos; and documentation of what these resources might do to help advance the artists in their musical careers from say a promising mid-level local band to a regional touring artist with support and representation.
There is a special focus on the North Collinwood and Waterloo area, so two local resident songwriters, who regularly perform at the Waterloo Arts Festival, have been chosen to participate: Maura Rogers and Joey Beltram. There will also be local collaboration with the music photographer Bryon Miller, who runs Gallery 160 on Waterloo; graphic designer Brandon Abate, who owns No Problem Printing on Waterloo; Zygote Press, who is opening a poster printing satellite on E. 156th soon; and Music Saves and Blue Arrow, the record stores on Waterloo that sell local band products. The project is inviting several other bands and songwriters to participate, but all must have already achieved some level of professional success in various areas including live performance, recording, social media identity, but most importantly have a body of quality original songs and have the determination to make a career in music.
A portion of the project is also to help provide resources and ideas for music business careers to residents, so events will be created to show how the two-year program at Tri-C can prepare someone for a job as a tour technician and more; and a music business job fair/summit is being planned. As the project discovers music industry deficiencies, such as lack of a nationally acknowledged booking agency, some of the project's resources will be mustered to support the creation of new business ventures to fill these gaps. By next fall, we hope to see much more music business networking and commerce on Waterloo.