The Cleveland Museum of Art’s Staff Art Show 2012. Image by David Brichford
Cleveland’s long-departed (but still quite beloved) hometown hero Drew Carey made waves throughout Northeast Ohio last week when he commented on the pathetic state of our sad excuse
for a football franchise. “Concentrate on the Museum (of Art) — it’s one of the best in the world,” Carey said last week.
While most of the city and country concentrated on the rest of Carey’s football-related comments, the line caught the attention of Cleveland’s art community. Finally, a famous Clevelander was saying on a national platform what we in the art community have known all along: Our city’s arts and cultural institutions are much higher quality assets than our sports franchises.
This weekend, Fred and Laura Bidwell’s Transformer Station debuts the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Staff Art Show 2015. This special exhibition showcases the immense talent that contributes every day to the CMA’s world class experience. The Museum employs more than 450 staff members. These individuals, and their collective efforts, are what make the CMA “one of the best in the world.”
"The Cleveland Museum of Art is proud to present The Staff Art Show, an exhibition of current work by artists committed to the mission of the museum, both as artists and as museum professionals,” says CMA director William Griswold. “This exhibition, held at The Transformer Station, is one that reflects the many talents of colleagues, who in their daily work contribute to the presentation and understanding of our collection."
This year’s CMA Staff Art Show features work by more than 70 of the Museum’s artist-employees in 15 departments. The exhibition’s roster includes both emerging and established local artists. Obviously, not every talented artist works at the CMA, but this exhibition proves that many of them do.
This will be the first year Transformer Station hosts the Staff Art Show. In previous years, the show was hung in the Museum’s galleries. Transformer Station was founded in part as a westside footprint for the Cleveland Museum of Art. The CMA schedules half the year’s programming at Transformer Station, allowing it to “uncover new opportunities, take risks and explore new ideas and new media.”
“Transformer Station is really honored to showcase the talents of Cleveland Museum of Art employees, many of whom are practicing artists of considerable renown, in this special holiday exhibition,” says Transformer Station Gallery Manager Danielle Meeker. “This is only the latest of several incredible shows that our partnership with the museum has brought to the near west side of Cleveland, and one we hope can be repeated in the future. Please join us in celebrating the very creative staff of the museum, who inspire the community through their efforts to make art meaningful and accessible to the broadest possible audience.”
The CMA Staff Art Show 2015 is a perfect follow up to Transformer Station’s last exhibition, which brought works from the Akron Art Museum’s permanent collection to Cleveland for the first large-scale exhibition of its kind in Cuyahoga County.
The CMA was founded in 1913 “for the benefit of all the people forever,” as stated by J. H. Wade II upon its inception. It opened in the summer of 1916. Construction of the original building cost a whopping $1.25 million dollars. In comparison, its recently completed 8-year renovation and expansion project cost more than $300 million. The museum’s mission statement and longtime financial support ensure that the museum’s collection will remain free to the public forever. It truly is one of our community’s greatest assets.
However, as the Browns have proven, history doesn’t necessarily equate to success. The Museum’s current success is due in large part to its dedicated, talented and hardworking staff. You may not see them all on your visit, but they each contribute to your experience, whether you realize it or not.
Participating artists include: Debbie Apple-Presser, Barry Austin, Linda Ayala, Rachel Beamer, Arthur Beukemann, Sara Borrhello, David Brichford, Joan Brickley, David Brunner, Philip Brutz, Toni Chanakas, Tony Cisneros, Merv Ciary, Deanne Conley, Dexter Davis, G.M. Donley, James Englemann, Terri Mazzola Gertz, Toby Griffiths, J. Allon Hall, Kurt Hallsman, Dyane Hanslik, Jamey Hart, Benjamin Hauser, Robin Heinrich, Timothy Hill, Todd Hoak, Yi-Hsia Hsiao, Brian Jacobs, Clotilde Jimenez, Shawn Kerns, Lauren King, James A.. Kohler, Adrian Lane, Amanda Lehtola, Kristen Magerkurth, Patrice Mallard, James McNamara, Rachel McPherson, Bev Miller, Joan Neubecker, Robert Niederriter, Cliff Novak, Terri J. Patton, Ted Pikturna, David Plurek, Robin Presley, Melanie Rademaker, James Remick, Jo Ann Rencz, Sara Ribbans, Tom Ritter, Anthony Valentino Robinson, Andrew Robinson, Dante Rodriguez, Jason Rudolf, Adam Schonhiutt, Bruce Shewitz, Tyrelle Smith, Davidd Sudberry, Taylor Trimarchi, Robin VanLear, Jeffrey Vano, Laszlo Vince, Achala Wali, Wayland Whitley, Darryl Williams, Constance Williams, jasmine Williams and Michael D. Zelenka.
Participating museum departments include Advancement, Collections Management, Community Arts, Conservation, Design & Architecture, Distribution Services, Education & Interpretation, Exhibitions & Publications, Ingalls Library & Archives, Media Services, Museum Store, Photographic and Digital Imaging Services, Prints & Drawings, Protection Services and Visitor Experience.
The CMA Staff Art Show 2015 is on view from Dec. 18 through Jan. 3 during regular business hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from noon to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, as well as Christmas Day and New Years Day.
(Transformer Station) 1460 W. 29th St., 216-938-5429, transformerstation.org