illustration by Angela Oster
The city and the Cleveland arts community mourn the unnecessary and tragic death of journalist Nikki Delamotte. We shared the idea that arts writing should be for everyone, not just academics. It bears noting the hurdles creatives face, whether or not one’s work is worthy or whether the public even cares. Nikki wanted everyone to have their story told. She made us feel like we were all the coolest people in the room. Her ability to connect the creative scene to the populace was more important than I think she may have realized. She was a gem that radiated positivity, excellence and professionalism. She was one of us. In fact, several organizations and galleries have postponed their artist opening receptions to encourage participation at the fundraiser in her honor. That’s how cherished Nikki was and is.
The community testifies:
“Nikki Delamotte championed the Cleveland creative scene from arts to entrepreneurship and beyond. Her kindness, enthusiasm and drive embodied Cleveland’s spirit. I wish I could have thanked her for all she did for my business early on and throughout the years. Her contributions to the Cleveland creative community have left an indelible mark. We should all strive to impact our community in the way that Nikki did. While she is no longer with us, her stories and mark on this city will not be erased.” - Gina DeSantis, Owner, Gina DeSantis Ceramics
“I got to know Nikki after she had me draw a picture of Albert Einstein for her grandma. The love she had for her grandma made an impression on me. Nikki was a genuine, caring person and that shined through in every word she wrote or spoke. I had many entertaining conversations with Nikki over the years, and the knowledge that there won’t be any more leaves a devastating hollowness. The loss to our city is immeasurable, irreplaceable, and tragic. We won’t see another like her again.” - Angela Oster, Artist
“I met Nikki in 2012 at the Beachland Ballroom. I remember this because I was in the process of opening an art gallery in Waterloo, and wandered off to the Beachland for a break…or a drink. Right off the rip she was one of my favorite people. She believed in everything she spoke and wrote about, and not only that, she made you believe it too. That’s a rare quality. Passion for what you do can’t be taught. You either have it, or you don’t. She had it. Cleveland is a big city, but is also a small place to live. Everyone in the arts and music scene are all connected in some way here. Nikki pulled those strings and made us even closer. She was pretty good stuff, and I admire her.” - Bryon Miller, Photographer
“Nikki was so thoughtful and careful in the way she approached everything. When I announced my book “Faces of Cleveland’ was going to be published, she immediately messaged that she wanted to write about the book. Both our schedules at the time were nuts and I imagined we would just do an email/quick telephone chat to get the basic stats and call it a day – but we ended up having brunch at Prosperity for hours. I still imagined it would probably just be a quick blurb. I was stunned when the article hit the stands and I saw a full page devoted to my “yet another photo book”. She raised so much awareness for my book this way – the reach was incredible. The day it came out, preorders quadrupled. I have no doubts the ripple effect she created by writing that article and I will be forever grateful of that. I will also be forever grateful for her friendship and the unwavering love she poured into the city and its artists without ever asking for a single thing in return.” - Laura Wimbels, Author
“I spent a good part of my day after Trump’s election processing the results with Nikki. My knee-jerk response was astonished outrage, but she was a gentle voice of reason and compassion. She truly reached for communion across differences and made it very clear that her post-election mission was a boosted understanding beyond her own point of view. A divisive election was, in her hands, an opportunity to come together.” – Jesse McGuiness, Assistant Director Communications, Case Western Reserve University.
“As I went back and reread my correspondence with Nikki, I couldn’t help but be reminded just how professional she was. She was respectful of other reporters at the PD who might also be interested in a story, ensured she had every detail correct and was timely in getting the work done. Not only was she professional, but her enthusiasm for what she was about to write was absolutely off the charts. She was so excited to hear about what we were doing – as if we were the most amazing thing to be happening. I would pitch an idea to her and she’d be looking for the best angle to make the story happen. Nikki covered Maria Neil (Art Project) more than almost any other reporter in Cleveland. She helped build and audience for some of our most successful shows. For our recent Tim Callaghan exhibition, people would show up holding Nikki’s article in their hand and say what’s what motivated them to come out. Nikki made a difference for us and our artists, just as she did for so many in this town. She was equally dedicated to Waterloo and every business on the street. While she had certainly established herself here, she was an up and comer. There was so much more for her to do. There was so much more for her to give. I rarely believe people are irreplaceable. Nikki is irreplaceable.” - John Farina, Gallerist & Co-Owner, Maria Neil Art Project.
As author, Laura Wimbels aptly put it, “she wasn’t just your friend or my friend; she was Cleveland’s best friend.”
Artists, craftspeople, writers and others among the arts have flooded The Side Quest with unique items to be held at auction during the fundraiser in her name in order to aid her family at this time.
Fundraiser for Nikki Delamotte at The Side Quest, 17900 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood on Friday, November 16 starting at 5:00P.M. 216.228.1212