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Cleveland Craft Masters

Seventeen years of hard work and relationship-building have culminated in one soon-to-open exhibition for River Gallery owner and founder Ara Hamamjian. Cleveland Craft Masters brings together artisans with what he calls "Tom Cruise celebrity cachet" in the fields of ceramics, metal works, jewelry, sculpture, and glasswork. "It's the most prestigious show I've ever had. It's nice to say that," says Hamamjian. Nice, and earned. Three of the seven featured artists (Judith Salomon, Brent Kee Young, and Bill Brouillard) have won a coveted Cleveland Arts Prize. Five of them (Pamela Argentieri, Matt Hollern, Brent Kee Young, and David and Roberta Williamson) have been exhibited in the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Now, the nationally and internationally renowned creators are exhibiting in their hometown — and offering their work at prices greatly reduced from their normal asking. "They enjoy the idea of being able to connect to people who supported and had fondness for them in the beginning," says Hamamjian. That includes Roberta Williamson, whose nature-based works are made with her husband and collaborator, David. (That's their piece, "Be Good, Do Good: A Secret Life," at left.) She pauses during the installation to reflect on what sets our creative community apart: "They continue to investigate their interests ... They're never satisfied, and always thinking of the next great thing." You can see great things at the opening reception, set for July 30 from 3 to 7 p.m. The show runs through September 10 at 19046 Old Detroit Rd. in Rocky River. For more information, call 440-331-8406 or go to rivergalleryarts.com. — Joseph Clark

Akron Art Museum: Kaleidoscope Quilts. Fiber artist Paula Nadelstern's quilts capture the symmetry, luminosity, and intricacy of kaleidoscopes, and inspire makers of these instruments in return. Through Oct. 2. Also: The Vogel Collection: 50 Works for Ohio. Featuring works by 26 artists, the paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures in this exhibition are part of a far-sighted private collection amassed over a 40-year period. Through October 16 at 1 South High St.; call 330-376-9185 or go to akronartmuseum.org.

Artists Archives of the Western Reserve: Defining an Artist: The Art of Anita Rogoff. Lifelong Cleveland native, retired Case Western Reserve University professor, and archived artist Anita Rogoff displays portraits, landscapes, and watercolors from a lifetime's work. Through August 13 at 1834 E 123rd St. For more information, call 216-721-9020 or go to artistsarchives.org.

The Beck Cafe Gallery: Elisa Vietra. Local photographer Elisa Vietri exhibits her first solo show. An opening reception will be held July 29 from 6 to 10 p.m. Through August 26 at 17823 Detroit Ave., Lakewood. Go to beckcafe.com or call 216-712-4746.

Brownhoist Gallery at Studio St. Clair: The Form of Cleveland. For Brownhoist's inaugural exhibition, woodworker and sculptor Timothy Riffle and photographer Jerry Mann display contemporary and historic tools, furniture, carvings, and photographs to narrate an "industrial archaeology" honoring the work of Cleveland's fading manufacturing sector. Through July 30 at 4403 St. Clair Ave.; 216-789-2998 or studiostclair.com/brownhoistgallery.

Cleveland Museum of Art: The Lure of Painted Poetry: Japanese and Korean Art. Designed to illuminate the intricate connections between Chinese poetry and its reinterpretation as visual art by Japanese and Korean artists, this exhibition features 80 diverse works spanning nearly seven centuries; almost all of the pieces are drawn from the museum's preeminent collection. Through August 28. Also: Indian Kalighat Paintings. Highly stylized and brightly colored, these works were originally created as souvenirs for 19th-century tourists. Today, they are highly regarded as marking the beginning of modernism in Indian art. Through September 18 at 11150 East Blvd. in University Circle; call 216-421-7350 or visit clevelandart.org.

Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery: Two-Man Exhibition. Though separated by two generations and vastly different mediums, sculptor Marco Vaccher and photographer Casey Callender capture the irony of images that contrast nobility and strangeness. Through September 10 at 1305 West 80th St. For more information, call 216-631-6719 or go to kennethpaullesko.com.

Kokoon Arts Gallery: 100th Anniversary Celebration. Historic treasures from the original Kokoon Arts Club keep company with contemporary works inspired by the theme of metamorphosis. Through September 10 at 1305 West 80th St. Call 216-832-8212 or go to kokoonarts.com.

Legation, a gallery: Climbing Through the Keyhole. Emerging artist and designer Oliver aims to break down traditional artist-viewer barriers with a series of paper dolls and marionettes intended for audience handling. Through August 6 at 1300 D West 78th Street. Call 216-650-4201 or go to legationagallery.com.

Local Girl Gallery: Bears on Bikes. Kris Williams combines her experiences as graphic designer, mom, and third-grade teacher to produce a series of whimsical, kid-friendly animal illustrations. Through August 3 at 16106 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood. Call 216-228-1802 or go to localgirlgallery.com.

Morgan Conservatory: Double Exhibition. Eclectic Youngstown native James Pernotto teases and celebrates the bound text in a stack of lovingly defaced volumes. John Kollig exhibits his DADA series of prints, a parade of fragmentary pieces that speaks to the confusion and curiosity of human endeavors. Through August 14 at 1754 East 47th St. For more information, call 216-361-9255 or go to morganconservatory.org.

Museum of Contemporary Art: Delicious Fields. In an homage to Man Ray, nine Ohio photogs invoke surrealism to reframe or reassert psychological and social issues. Also: Terrain. Julianne Swartz's soundscape is a multilingual audio-ecology as winding and mysterious as the subconscious. Through August 13 at 8501 Carnegie Ave.; call 216-421-8671 or visit mocacleveland.org.

Opus Gallery: All Women All Art. This sixteenth annual show was created to showcase the work of female artists of Northeast Ohio of every medium, including painting, pastel, multimedia collage, jewelry, photography, and embroidery. An opening reception will be held July 30 from 4 to 9 p.m. The exhibit will run through September 1 at 27629 Chagrin Blvd., Beachwood. Call 216-595-1376 or visit opus-gallery.com.

Pop Shop/(Art)ificial Gallery: Avenging Cleveland. An exhibition of studio art celebrating Marvel Comics' superheroes draws from the creativity of a host of local artists. Also: Midnights on Oak: Amber McElreath and John Hill collaborate on 200 "Artist Trading Cards" in ink and mixed media, exploring music, culture, and the sources of creative inspiration. Both shows continue through August 6 at 17020 Madison Ave., Lakewood. Call 216-227-8440 or go to popshopgallery.com.

Shaheen Gallery: Art, Life & Fashion. Born in Cincinnati and based in New York, painter Keith Mayerson returns to his home state for a show that provides a thematically broad sampling of his works, including portraits of fashion icons and historical figures. Through August 18 at 740 West Superior Ave. Call 216-830-8888 or visit shaheengallery.com.

Tregoning & Co.: I/Travel/Eye. San Francisco-based fiber artist Libby Chaney returns to her native Cleveland to exhibit textile works that are not "problems to be solved," but "meditations for the eye" and celebrations of color's power to move. There is no apparent order to the multitude of shapes and shades, but each piece has its own harmony. Through August 31 at 1300 West 78th St.; call 216-281-8626 or go to tregoningandco.com.

Wall Eye Gallery: NEO-Renaissance. Northeast Ohio artists pay homage to the Renaissance masters in a series of reinterpretations, contemporary updates, and "remixes" of classic paintings. Through August 7 at 5304 Detroit Ave. For more informaiton, call 216-640-7769 or go to walleyegallery.com.

Waterloo 7 Gallery: A one-night art show and auction features live music and the works of local artists, with proceeds going to benefit the Pets for the Elderly Foundation. July 30 from noon to 10 p.m. at 35005 Chardon Rd., Willoughby Hills. Call 239-293-9548 or visit schmidtsculpture.com for more information.

We Gallery: Elephant in the Room. Bob Peck's abstract paintings channel the spontaneity and energy of his earlier artistic endeavors in graffiti with fearlessness and humor. Through July 30 at 20 North High St. in Akron; call 330-252-0988 or go to thewegallery.com.

William Busta Gallery: Self Storage. Aaron Koehn's paintings depict architecture, but their subject is alienation. Also: The Playboy Covers. A series of reinterpreted covers of Playboy magazine by local artist Derek Hess channels the artist's punkish sketchbook style. View both through July 30 at 2731 Prospect Ave. To learn more, call 216-298-9071 or go to williambustagallery.com.

Zygote Press: Craig Lucas: Friends Recollect. The irrepressible, frank, and driven Kent State professor and abstract painter Craig "Pirate" Lucas, who died earlier this year, is honored by students and colleagues through works displaying his prolific influence throughout his life. An opening reception will be held August 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. Through Sept. 1 at 1410 East 30th St.; call 216-621-2900 or go to zygotepress.com.

Willoughby Hills Community Center Gallery: The Photography of Marcello Mellino & Joseph Zupko. Two photographers take you around the world and back, presenting landscapes and urban scenes from Italy, the Far East, and local sites. Through September 5 at 35400 Chardon Rd., Willoughby Hills. For more information, call 440-918-8730 or go to willoughbyhillsgallery.org.

Solon Center for the Arts: La Bella Vita, the Beautiful Life. Painter Diane Arthurs exhibits works inspired by the Mediterranean. Through July 29 at 6315 SOM Center Rd. in Solon. Call 440-337-1400.

Feinberg Gallery at Cain Park: Camera Ready. Two photographers make very different use of darkness. Brad Cohn explores nighttime scenes on a digital camera, but shoots precisely to avoid the need for after-the-fact editing. Ronnie Pyles uses a black-and-white camera to capture architecture and vintage shoes. Through August 13 at 14591 Superior Rd., Cleveland Heights. Call 440-371-3000 or go to cainpark.com/arts_gallery.asp.

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