Cleveland Museum of Art Opens ‘PIVOT,’ the New Community Arts Center in the Clark-Fulton Neighborhood

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click to enlarge PIVOT officially opened recently - Photo by Shawn Mishak
Photo by Shawn Mishak
PIVOT officially opened recently

The Cleveland Museum of Art this month opens the doors to its new ‘PIVOT’ Community Arts Center (2937 W 25th St.) in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood, construction for which began in 2019. The 20,000-square-foot space located within the former Astrup Awning factory complex center will be open to the public and host the museum’s community arts staff and education outreach program.

The center will be open to the public Wednesday to Friday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. offering art-making activities and events encouraging community and artist collaboration. The PIVOT Community Arts Center gives the museum a dedicated space to carefully store large puppets, costumes, art-making supplies and more.

“We needed a permanent home in which to ground storage as well as the program as opposed to hopping around to a whole bunch of different places and to display because we have 30 years’ worth of puppets to display…we are going to be working with local artists to create projects that are accessible to any age. So a five-year-old could do it and an eighty-five-year-old could do it with the idea that we find some place to display them at some point here. So not only does everyone have a chance to create, but also we are creating the projects with the artists to then work with the community and then everyone’s art gets to be on view, “said Jennifer M. Deprizio, Interim Director of Public and Academic Engagement at Cleveland Museum of Art.

The space impresses with its tall ceilings and wide-breadth halls. Meticulously crafted, wearable puppets from former Parade the Circle celebrations are on display for the public to admire. (Parade the Circle begin in 1990 in anticipation of the museum’s 75th anniversary.) The center is filled with puppets, costumes and masks created by artists and the community to reflect diverse cultures and global art traditions.

The walls and halls of the center and the education rooms are decorated with beautiful, colorful and fanciful murals festooned with dinosaurs, fish, owls, rabbits, the sun and moon, dancers, parading minstrels, and octopi. The place is an uplifting wonderland of imagination and inspiration, fitting for the programming and opportunities it will offer for residents in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood and beyond to connect with the arts.

The mural artists include: Bruno Casiano (Cleveland), Rafael Valdivieso (Cleveland Hts.), Derek Brennan (Cleveland), and Debra Sue Solecki (Westlake).

The Cleveland Heights artist, Rafael Valdivieso stated, “I believe the goal of the museum is to open windows of cultural exchange.”

“Vibrant colors, images and shapes re-create a sense of hope and pride in the community with an imaginary musical rhythm flowing into your soul. The images in the mural move freely on the wall, giving the beholder a feeling of freedom and enjoyment,” Casiano was quoted as saying about his work.

PIVOT’s programing will include daily studio and gallery experiences for schools and community groups, tours and activities led by local artists, public hours with studio and gallery experiences, classes and workshops led by local teaching artists for children, adults and families, drop-in activities for all ages, guest artist workspaces, conservation projects, after-school arts experiences and summer camps, and activities and workspaces for community members participating in Parade the Circle, Chalk Festival and the Lantern Festival.

“The establishment of a Community Arts Center is a key goal of our 2017 strategic plan, and with this new space, we expand our footprint into a vibrant, urban neighborhood on the city’s west side,” said William M. Griswold, director of the CMA. “We hope to connect with new audiences through a range of arts programs and look forward to collaborating with neighborhood partners to enrich the transformative experiences that we offer to all audiences.”

CMA worked in partnership with Clark Fulton Together, a resident-driven master plan headed by MetroHealth Hospital, the City of Cleveland, Metro West Community Development Organization and local businesses to develop program content that meets community needs. The giant three-story complex located on West 25th Street, not far from Metro Health main campus, shares the building with 10 other local businesses and organizations such as Rainey Institute, Latinus Blackbox Theater, Future Ink Graphics, Inlet Dance Theater, ICA Art Conservation, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, La Mega Media Radio, Jasmin Santana Council Office, and Foran Group Development. 
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