MOCA to Host Preview Party, Discussion Ahead of 'Foreign Exchange' Opening

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click to enlarge Photos clockwise from top left: Michelle Atkinson, Min Kim Park, Chris Dorely-Brown, Marcus DeSieno, Penn Chan, Urszula Kluz-Knopek.
Photos clockwise from top left: Michelle Atkinson, Min Kim Park, Chris Dorely-Brown, Marcus DeSieno, Penn Chan, Urszula Kluz-Knopek.

This Thursday, March 17, at 7 p.m., MOCA Cleveland hosts a special panel discussion and preview party for Foreign Exchange, an inaugural juried photo competition and upcoming exhibition at 2731 Prospect Gallery. For roughly a year, renowned local photographer Brandon Juhasz has been working with 2731 Prospect, MOCA Cleveland, and widely acclaimed jurors on the inaugural Foreign Exchange photography competition and exhibition. In recent months, organizers received more than 350 entries from 20 countries. The competition was juried by FlakPhoto editor Andy Adams, Transformer Station co-founder Laura Ruth Bidwell and GUP Magazine’s Chief Editor Katherine Oktober Matthews.

“Much like its name, Foreign Exchange is the mixing and sharing of ideas and projects. We want to provide a platform for exposure and give recognition for merit,” Juhasz explains. “My main goal was to connect artists and provide lots of opportunity and influential eyes. I wanted this to be more of a vehicle for exposure than about winning. I truly feel that there were many more winners than just the six who were chosen. We all know the juror system can be flawed. With so much outstanding work submitted to Foreign Exchange, choosing just six proved to be an almost impossible task. I always say not winning a contest like this is not really losing. It is about being a part of the dialogue. Andy, Laura and Katherine all told me they found and were inspired by tons of the work submitted and were excited to see work they have not seen before. Maybe some opportunities will arise from outside of the contest. That was my goal.”

Thursday’s preview event at MOCA Cleveland will begin with a panel discussion about photography in the digital age moderated by Juhasz. Joining him for this dynamic conversation will be 2731 Prospect director Lauren Davies, local advertising and editorial photographer Ricky Rhodes and juror Laura Ruth Bidwell, who is also a well known art collector, photographer and philanthropist, as well as co-founder of Hingetown’s Transformer Station.

Attendees will get a sneak peek at the finalists, whose work will go on view at 2731 Prospect beginning March 25. Plus, see some of the top entries submitted by more than 350 artists from 20 countries. Many of these entries, as well as more info on the winners, can also be viewed on Foreign Exchange’s Spotlight Tumblr blog.

“In this age of technology it is amazing what can happen and who we can reach and connect with,” Juhasz says. “This process simply blew my mind. We had responses from photographers all over the world. Wonderfully thoughtful, innovative and unique voices from all over were shared with the jury team, myself, as well as all the Foreign Exchange followers on the Spotlight Tumblr.”

2016 Foreign Exchange winners include Michelle Atkinson, Penn Chan, Marcus DeSieno, Chris, Dorely-Brown, Urszula Kluz-Knopek and Min Kim Park.

“As for the winners, work could not be more diverse,” Juhasz says. “I wanted the jurors to each select two bodies of work. My goal was to showcase differences and similarities in taste and interest hence the term Foreign Exchange. I love how each juror had different concerns when choosing and it shows in the diverse selection of winners.”

Stay to mix and mingle over drinks. The event is free with museum admission. 2731 Prospect hosts an opening reception for Foreign Exchange from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 1, and it remains on view through April 30.

(MOCA Cleveland) 11400 Euclid Ave., 216-421-8671,
(2731 Prospect) 2731 Prospect Ave., 888-273-1881,

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