Love-Themed Benefit for Zygote Press This Thursday Night

More than 300 exhibitions on site and off, 90 artist residencies, 80 festivals and public events and more than 1,000 tours for over 15,000 students in K-12 and secondary art classes... For more than two decades, Zygote Press has served the community as the region’s premier printmaking nonprofit organization.

Zygote Press was founded by four artists (Liz Maugans, Kelly Novak, Bellamy Printz and Joe Sroka) in 1995. Between their main space on E. 30th Street and satellite Ink House location in Waterloo, Zygote Press provides exhibition space, equipment, studio space and technical assistance to both resident artists and artist-members. Zygote also hosts numerous workshops for members of the community with any level of experience. Being a resource for the community isn’t cheap, so they’re asking for support this Thursday evening.

This year’s benefit theme was inspired by Zygote Press’ current exhibition, Chido Johnson’s Love Library, a group exhibition of artwork by local artists inspired by classic romance novels. Let’s Make, With Love takes place on Thursday, Feb. 9 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Admission for members is $20 per person ($34 per couple) and $28 per non-member ($50 per non-member couple), and includes a box of candy hearts, a Love Library bookmark and a drink ticket.

Zygote Press invites guests to join in the love-making with opportunities to support the organization by purchasing experiences at the event, such as hand henna design by Alexis Hedderson, 10-minute massages by Gina Matteucci, as well as a chance to write sonnets with Cleveland Arts Prize award-winning poet Dave Lucas. Additional activities include printing t-shirts, Valentine’s Day cards, coasters and more. Music for the evening is provided by artist and DJ Marcus Brathwaite, as well as a guest harpist to set the mood.

“Let’s Make, with Love is a benefit party with all funds going to support Zygote’s general operations and free educational programs, such as Free Tour Wednesdays,” says Zygote Press Director of Operations Stephanie Kluk.” There will be a variety of activities happening during the evening, including a silkscreen Valentine’s Day cards making station, a liquid nitrogen chocolate making demo and great music provided by DJs and a special guest harpist.”

"The Love Library was planned a year in advance but ended up being a perfect exhibition to kick off our 2017 year of events,” Kluk says. “The theme of the show is timely, and the artists’ responses were encouraging. Each book in the library is unique and often very personal. With the Love Library on the schedule we knew it would be a great opportunity to connect a benefit party that supports and encourages love, especially around Valentine’s Day.”

Inspired by the romance novels of his childhood library in rural Zimbabwe, Chido Johnson’s Love Library is an ongoing, collaborative art project that has travelled to venues in Rochester, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Indianapolis and Lawrence, Kansas, as well as Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. In each city, Johnson collaborates with a local “Love Librarian” who selects the artists to create original works of art by altering books using the traditional Harlequin Romance Novel as a template. Johnson’s latest Love Library is hosted by Zygote Press and co-curated by local “Love Librarians” Sarah Kabot and Liz Maugans.

“Zygote is proud to present, Zimbabwe born artist Chido Johnson’s, Love Library: Let’s Talk about Love Baby,” Kluk says. “This traveling exhibition began as a tribute to Chido’s mother, who learned English by reading Harlequin Romance novels. As the show traveled to Cleveland, Zygote invited several artists to create their own books that would be added to the library and sent along to the exhibition’s next home. The Cleveland Chapter includes 20 local artists. The response from Cleveland artists was exciting! The books reflected a variety of opinions and views on love and what makes a love story. Artists interpreted their views into books that are meant for guests to sit and read in the gallery. There are currently over 250 books in the library and growing.”

Participating artists include: Rian Brown, Kristen Cliffel, Hadley Conner, Dana Depew, Amber Esner, Evan Fusco, John G, Val Grossman, Jake Hatmaker, James Klein & David Reid, Sarah Rose Lejeune, Dave Lucas, Anthony Mastromatteo, Liz Maugans, Loren Naji, Sarah Paul, Jessica Pinsky, Matt Rowe, Corrie Slawson & Ira Lefkowitz, Breanne Tramell, Nanette Yannuzzi, Justin Will and Nikki Woods. Additionally, library archives featuring the work of artists from other “chapters” (cities) will be on view as well.

The Love Library remains on view at Zygote Press through Feb. 25 during regular business hours: Wednesday and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., or by appointment. From 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, Zygote Press hosts a small Soup and Share Potluck closing event with artist from the Cleveland Chapter of the Love Library, who will be discussing their work in the gallery.
(Zygote Press) 1410 E. 30th St., 216-621-2900,

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