Cleveland Arts Prize Benefit Slated for Oct. 22

The Cleveland Arts Prize is the oldest award of its kind in the United States. For more than 45 years, the organization has recognized local individual artists and arts advocates with special awards. Currently the Cleveland Arts Prize awards $10,000 to two emerging artists, two mid-career artists and one lifetime achievement award (as well as two special prizes that don’t include cash awards).

This Thursday, Oct. 22 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Convivium33 Gallery at Josaphat Arts Hall hosts THIS ARTIST LIFE, a LIVEcast. The event serves as a benefit for the Cleveland Arts Prize.

“The program, THIS ARTIST LIFE, showcases contemporary literary work by CAP recipients David Giffels (CAP2010), George Bilgere (CAP2003) and Mary Weems (CAP2015),” Cleveland Arts Prize Executive Director Alenka Banco says. “The program will also incorporate live auction items that are 'creative experiences,' and a silent auction featuring the work CAP winners, in an effort to help raise money for CAP."

Giffels is the author of multiple books focused on his hometown of Akron, including his most recent, The Hard Way on Purpose (Scribner, 2014), a collection of linked essays chronicling everyday life and culture in the Rubber City. He has written for the Akron Beacon Journal, Wall Street Journal, New York Times Magazine, Redbook, Grantland and many other publications.

Bilgere is a Professor of English at John Carroll University. He received his Ph.D. in contemporary literature from Denver University, and has written five books of poetry.

Weems has authored or edited more than a dozen books and numerous plays and/or excerpts have been produced or published for more than two decades. Her work explores themes of race, class and gender, specifically in African American culture. All three have won numerous awards in addition to their Cleveland Arts Prizes.

Admission is free, but special table packages are available.

“The event on Thursday, Oct. 22 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Convivium33 Gallery is free and open to the public,” Banco says. “Even though it is a fundraiser for the Cleveland Arts Prize (CAP), the no-admission concept is intended to share CAP artists with a broader community.”

Each year, artists must be nominated by another member of the community to be eligible for the Cleveland Arts Prize. Organizers are currently accepting nominations for next year’s Cleveland Arts Prize awards. The deadline for nominations is Jan. 31, 2016 at midnight. To nominate a local artist, visit

(Convivium33) 1433 E 33rd St, 216-881-7828,,