Five years after planning began, American Greetings is finally ready to unveil its new world headquarters, a five-story, 660,000 sq. ft. building on a 13.5-acre site at the south end of Crocker Park. Its first floor includes 88,000 sq. ft. of retail space.
"We are celebrating an incredibly significant time in American Greetings history," says Jeff Weiss, Co-Chief Executive Officer, American Greetings. "Our Company purpose to make the world a more thoughtful and caring place is physically embodied throughout our new home, and, as the building itself was designed to maximize collaboration and creativity, we are forever grateful to the top-notch partners we collaborated with to turn this goal into a reality. The state-of-the-art facility represents a commitment to the future of the Company, to the social expressions industry, and to Northeast Ohio."
More than 30 American Greetings design project teams and 100 associates were involved with the design of the space. The interior includes original artwork of virtually every medium made almost exclusively by American Greetings creatives, as well as a few local artists.
The new space includes an outdoor courtyard on the third floor, offering staff a unique and inspiring setting for collaboration.
Additional amenities for American Greetings associates include Jacob’s cafeteria (named in honor of Jacob Sapirstein, the company’s founder), a full-service Starbucks, post office, dry cleaning service, ATM, Kindred (a Company store showcasing its social expressions product lines, as well as items from local artisans) and the associate-managed Gallery W, a public art gallery located on the ground floor. Gallery W marks the first time in the company’s 110-year history that American Greetings will have a space in its world headquarters open to the public.
“The spectrum of shows and unique forum at the American Greetings Creative Studios will appeal to a broad audience, and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone to this special space,” says Linda Marshall, Digital Creative Director at American Greetings and Manager of Gallery W. “Gallery W is a real gem for Cleveland because our mission is broader than most galleries, which affords us the opportunity to bring the community a wide variety of art expression and to partner with other organizations to show-off the talent and resources throughout Ohio."
At 11 a.m. this Wednesday, Sept. 28, American Greetings associates and executives, as well as representatives from the State of Ohio, City of Westlake and Crocker Park will participate in an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The next evening, from 5 to 9 p.m., this Thursday, Sept. 29, American Greetings officially unveils its Gallery W with an opening reception for its Fine Art Show, an art exhibition of work created by American Greetings associates. Open to all associates, the Fine Art Show includes many works created by staff outside the creative departments.
“American Greetings is proud to present the 37th Annual Fine Art Show at our brand-new Creative Studios at Crocker Park,” says Joanna Mohr, Senior Art Director at American Greetings and Visual Arts Chair of Fine Art Show. “The juried show is a reflection of our creative spirit and features both Visual and Literary Arts. Our new Creative Studios boasts two beautiful galleries, and we are beyond excited to host this artistically inspiring event as part of the grand opening celebrations of this amazing new space.”
The exhibition is a project of the Fine Art Show Committee, made up of is made up of artists, writers and editors who currently work at American Greetings. These committee members are responsible for every aspect of the exhibition, from sending out the call for entries, installing the show and planning the opening reception. A labor of love, these employees take on these responsibilities in addition to their normal workload.
“I always look forward to AG’s Fine Art Show because it includes such a wide variety of work,” said Claire Mojher, illustrator at American Greetings and member of the organizing committee. “I know I’ll see pieces contributed by my fellow illustrators and designers, but I’m just as pleased to see artwork created by employees who work outside of the Creative Department. These folks may be crunching numbers or analyzing technical issues during their workday, but away from their offices they become painters, sculptors and photographers. As an artist in the Illustration Studio who designs and draws all day, I find it challenging to come up with the motivation to create personal artwork in my free time, and I know many visual artists who share this same struggle. Every year, the Fine Art Show call for entries gives me an incentive to think about creating something new."