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Arts District

Monday, August 10, 2020

Virtual Edition of Annual Laughter CAN Cure to Take Place on Aug. 26

Posted By on Mon, Aug 10, 2020 at 3:24 PM

Cleveland native Michael Ivy will host the annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s Laughter CAN Cure benefit that takes place at 7 p.m. on Aug. 26.

Because of coronavirus concerns, this year's event will be a virtual event.

Local comedians including Bill Squire, Deena Nyer Medlowitz and Mike Head will perform along with musical guests Box of Squirrels. Participants will also have an opportunity to participate in a virtual silent auction.

Tickets are $10. A link will be sent to ticket holders before the show.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) aims to  empower advocates across the country to "make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden."

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Friday, August 7, 2020

CMA's Picasso Exhibit Postponed Indefinitely Due to COVID-19

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2020 at 7:19 AM

  • © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée national Picasso-Paris) / Adrien Didierjean. © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The highly anticipated 'Picasso and Paper' exhibit originally scheduled to appear at the Cleveland Museum of Art from May 24 to Aug. 23, and then rescheduled to Sept 22. to Dec. 13, has now been postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19.

"Due to European travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the CMA has had to postpone the presentation of this special exhibition indefinitely," the museum said in a statement yesterday. "We are very saddened about this but must focus on the safety for the involved staff and artworks. We are hopeful that we can bring the exhibition to Cleveland in the future."

Titled Picasso and Paper, the exhibition is to be a showcase of the artist’s “prolonged engagement with paper” and is organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in collaboration with the Musée national Picasso, Paris.

Showcasing more than 300 works spanning the artist’s entire career, the exhibition highlights Picasso’s “deep appreciation of the physical world and his desire to manipulate diverse materials.” The exhibit will feature assembled collages of cut-and-pasted papers, sculptures from pieces of torn and burnt paper, documentary photographs and manipulated photographs on paper, and an array of printmaking techniques on paper supports.

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'Inside Out' Pop-Up Exhibition Transforms Coventry Storefronts

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2020 at 7:04 AM

  • Photo by Glen Infante

‘All About Love’ is the theme for the '60s-inspired, reimagined Coventry art walk project launching Friday August 7th from 5-10 p.m.

‘Inside Out' is a street-wide gallery where local artists will be displaying large works in storefronts along Coventry Road. The social distancing-friendly exhibit, which will feature installs by more than 12 local artists and run through the month of August, is a collaboration between Contrast High, Pop Life Universe and Culture Jock.

"We see the retail landscape shifting in the direction of offering transformational experiences, and we hope this exhibition will inspire more Cleveland neighborhoods to embrace immersive public art," said Joda from Pop Life.

Coventry Village is usually a hot spot for summer events and activities including live music, art festivals, sidewalk sales, movies in the park, and more, but all that summer programming has been canceled due to COVID-19.

This reimagined art walk is an attempt to inject hope and vitality in a usually bustling district, to reconnect the close-knit neighborhood to the Cleveland community at large and to support independent businesses of Coventry Village.

The project hopes “to bring value to storefronts left vacant or hampered by the economic downturn,” according to Mallory Phillips of Dreamhouse Marketing and Executive Director of The Coventry Village Special Improvement District.

“This is a place where artists and art-lovers alike, thrive. We want to inspire, connect, spark conversation, and encourage the people who live, work, shop and play in the area. This is our way of supporting local artists, neighbors, and businesses in a unique, bold, and health-conscious way, given the challenging environment," says Phillips.

“One of the challenges we're facing right now in Coventry is the number of vacant storefronts we have. With an ever-evolving retail landscape (even more so now in the "COVID Era") our district has struggled in the last decade to attract new businesses. The Coventry Village Special Improvement District and local organizations like FutureHeights have taken a renewed interest in the revitalization and growth of this incredible and magical neighborhood. We're investing time, energy, ideas, and resources into attracting new business concepts and supporting the existing businesses in the neighborhood. INSIDE OUT provided a unique opportunity to showcase many vacant storefronts in a really stunning and inspiring way. We really hope to fill out all of these spaces again with vibrant, interesting new businesses, art, and experiences, in the coming months!"

Conforti and Scordos, co-founders of Contrast High, initially conceptualized a "walk by/drive up" exhibition while quarantining here in Cleveland. They did a pop-up installation concentrated on "embracing the moment for what it is" at Xhibition, a boutique in the Van Aken district.

“‘Inside Out’ provokes the question, ‘How do we reframe our perspective?’” Conforti said. “We choose to embrace the moment and be optimistic of the future. If real change happens from the inside out and not the other way around, then we choose art to instigate the healing.”

“I consider art a reflection of politics, because art is identity,” said Alexis René Moten, founder of Culture Jock. “Supporting art is now more critical than ever, because art has an audience willing to listen. People want change, they want healing. Art has a way of making people more compassionate.”

The project is sponsored by the Coventry Village Special Improvement District and is reaching out to the community through crowd funding, the donations from which will go directly to the local artists involved. Most of the works on display will be painted on or displayed in the storefront windows, so there is no commission taken from store owners and the works are not for sale, however the artist can be commissioned to do other projects.

The artists and designers include: Joda Mueller, Aaron Williams, Isaiah Williams, Dakarai, Kisha Nicole Foster, Mary Weems, Da'Shaunae Marisa, Candace Cunard and Bruce Conforti among others.

Many of the artists will be available at the opening on Friday.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

CMA’s Virtual MIX: Viva to Celebrate Latin Culture

Posted By on Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 4:59 PM

  • Courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Cleveland Museum of Art would host its MIX event on the first Friday of each month. With mass gatherings on hold, CMA has pivoted to a virtual MIX celebration. This week’s event, MIX: Viva, celebrates Latin culture and the CMA’s current exhibition, A Graphic Revolution: Prints and Drawings in Latin America. It takes place from 8 to 9 p.m. on Friday.

The event will feature contemporary and classic Latin hits, party visuals, Afro-Caribbean dance lessons and a poetry reading inspired by a work in A Graphic Revolution. CMA has already created a Spotify playlist and a list of local Latinx-owned restaurants for ordering takeout, featuring the cuisine of Mexico, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Guatemala, Chile and Puerto Rico, instructional dance videos from dance group Caribe Conexión.

MIX: Viva is part of CMA’s Home Is Where the Art Is initiative, which showcases the museum’s globally recognized digital resources and features a variety of newly created programs for people of all ages.

These sustainable digital experiences are continuing even though the museum has reopened.

For the upcoming virtual MIX event, DJ Cause & Effect will spin contemporary and classic Latin hits (salsa, bachata, merengue and reggae ton), and Texas-based artist Michael Menchaca, whose work is on view in A Graphic Revolution, will present a selection of original party visuals. Menchaca’s video art combines imagery from video games with ancient Maya texts to explore Latinx identities in a contemporary landscape.

The event also features salsa and Afro-Caribbean dance basics with the dance group Caribe Conexión.

The night will begin with an original poetic response to artist Belkis Ayón’s print I Always Return that's on view in the exhibition. The reading will feature actor-poet Andrew Aaron Valdez.

You can join the party through Zoom for a chance to be featured in a live “dance cam” that will occur throughout the event; a link to join will be posted to and on the museum’s Facebook page. You can also send an email (subject line: “MIX: Viva”) to to receive a link in your inbox.

Facebook Watch live on the CMA’s Facebook page from your smartphone, iPad or computer.

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Monday, August 3, 2020

SPACES Welcomes New Executive Director Tizziana Baldenebro to Guide the Arts Organization Into the Future

Posted By on Mon, Aug 3, 2020 at 10:12 AM

  • Courtesy Tizziana Baldenebro
In its 42nd year, after an exciting international ‘head hunt’ including over 100 applicants, SPACES arts organization will welcome its new Executive Director, Tizziana Baldenebro, in August of 2020.

“We are thrilled to welcome a natural collaborator and convener like Tizziana to lead SPACES at this time of growth and change in our community,” said John C. Williams, SPACES’ board president.

The southern California-native obtained her Master of Architecture degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from The University of Chicago. Among her many accolades, she was a Ford Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) where she supported the exhibition, “Richard Prince: Portraits” and curated “Conrad Egyir: Terra Nullius,” among other activities. She has published extensively, including works featured in Daily Rush and The Avery Review. I took some time to speak with Baldenebro about her new position with SPACES.

As her first order of business, Baldenebro would like to meet with everyone who works with SPACES in order to “make room in the workplace for any of the exciting and anxiety-producing realities of working in an Arts organization at this time.”

Baldenebro is entering this position in the midst of a global pandemic which has left SPACES finding creative ways to pivot their strategies in order to support the local arts and cultural community in Cleveland, having just doled out a second round of financial relief grants to 66 local artists via The Satellite Fund Emergency Relief Program.

I asked Baldenebro how she anticipates addressing some of the challenges an Arts organization faces during the pandemic.

“SPACES has done a tremendous job of getting emergency artist support grants out as quickly as possible, and there has been a great deal of foundational support for this," she said. "I hope to continue the framework set in place and begin setting SPACES up for the next chapter!”

“Tizziana has demonstrated her ability to think expansively about the role of the art institution in the face of 21st century events — specifically, the pandemic reality and the work of making progress toward more just and equitable art and public dialogue,” added Williams. “Her experience related to digital technology, community organizing and inclusion in the art world will empower SPACES to evolve its position as a local, regional and national leader in these conversations in the years to come.”

Baldenebro, who is currently residing in Chicago, will be moving to Cleveland this month.

“I am excited to learn all about Cleveland, I am excited to meet the communities surrounding SPACES, to work with the incredible board and team, and to continue working for and with artists, arts writers, critics, and thought leaders.”

This will not be her first exposure to The CLE, as she had a recent weekend visit this month, “I got to stroll around the Lakeview Cemetery, walked around the Towpath Trail, hung out in Tremont— in addition to world class museums, the city has a lot to offer!”

SPACES has a reputation for placing importance on inclusiveness as well as diversity and Baldenebro is no exception, with her diverse Colombian and Mexican-American background.

From her bio: “Tizziana Baldenebro is a curator, writer, and critic. Her practice emphasizes critical research and documentation, privileging historically undervalued and underrepresented artists and designers.”

“Anti-racist learning foregrounds much of that, and right now that means a lot of listening and bridge-building to develop strong foundations of support for artists of every background. I am fortunate that SPACES’ Board has been very receptive to this — we must be a leader in the art world as it finally grapples with its own histories of privilege and access.”

With all of the continued controversy about President Trump’s Mexico/U.S. border wall and the new ‘anti-climb” wall being installed in front of the white house, Baldenebro’s 2018 “Borderline Personalities," which critiqued political sovereignty, seems apropos.

“'Borderline Personalities' specifically looked at border conditions and the ways in which nations behave in these absurd ways to defend imaginary lines. For example, a while ago North Korea and South Korea un-ironically had a tallest flagpole contest. So I reimagined these conditions as a Fluxus-style game in which you perform these increasingly absurd antics, but with an actual neighbor in a residential neighborhood, to really highlight the strange behaviors that nationalism elicits.”

“Borderline Personalities” was included in an exhibition entitled “Designer, Artist, Citizen, Site,” which was a part of Dimensions of Citizenship, the theme of the 2018 U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale and was later installed at the 6018|North gallery in Chicago, IL as part of the exhibition "Living Architecture."

Baldenebro hopes to bring to her newfound Executive Director role “energy of the moment to the table. This is an enormously transformative time for all of us and I am excited to help steer SPACES into the next era. I like to build connections to communities, to artists, to other arts organizations. This is the time to produce systemic solutions to systemic problems in the art world.”

Since 2019, Megan Young had stepped in as SPACES’ Interim Executive Director and will now resume her role as Deputy Director for the organization. “Megan has provided capable and steady leadership for SPACES in these challenging past six months, and her ability and ingenuity will be a great support to our organization going forward,” said Williams. “We are excited about the ability of this team — with Tizziana at the helm — to build on SPACES’ heritage and show how art can and must simultaneously reflect and shape our communities.”

Find out more about Tizziana Baldenebro here.
For more information about SPACES, click here.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

SPACES Doles Out More Emergency Relief to Cuyahoga County Artists

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 10:01 AM

  • Google Maps

The Satellite Fund Emergency Relief Program from SPACES has doled out a second round of financial relief grants to 66 local artists in a variety of disciplines. This has been made possible by a Regional Regranting Program of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and from generous donations from the Cleveland Foundation, the Takeyama Fund at the Cleveland Foundation, as well as from individual donors such as Susan E. Murray and Donald E. Harvey.

Between the Satellite Fund Emergency Relief Program and the Urgent Art Fund, which funds special projects in a time of economic strife, we see SPACES has pivoted in order to embolden and empower the Arts Community in Cuyahoga County.

I took a moment to speak with SPACES’ Interim Executive Director, Megan Young, about how these processes have been going.

In 2019 SPACES became one of 16 regranting sites. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts reached out to SPACES and said they would support a change in the grant terms to re-allocate $100,000 in annual grants for Covid-19 emergency relief to be distributed into our communities.

“This is an example of a successful long-term partnership resulting in a sustained, high quality, impact on our regional arts ecosystem," Young said

In May, they awarded $60,000 in Emergency Relief Grants to 60 local artists. This is unorthodox for SPACES as their opportunities are usually merit based. The process for these grants was a little different: jurors certified that the artists ‘demonstrated visual art practice.’ Artists not chosen may have not been because of ineligibilities due to granting restrictions or because of the ‘randomized lottery’ and not based on artistic merit. SPACES was glad to report that they had been able to grant 75% of applicants and instructs artists who were not awarded to “not consider it a reflection of their art practice.”

The Satellite Fund Emergency Relief Program does not stipulate that grantees produce works in order to receive these grants, as they are distributed “in the hope that artists in our region will be able to meet their basic needs and continue in their chosen fields.”

In addition to the much-needed financial relief given to grantees, they are also awarded a SPACES Season Pass Membership which will allow them to participate in the 2020 November Season Pass Members Takeover in order to focus on artist directed goals. The artists will also have access to members-only workshops and meetings with SPACES artists-in-residence as well as many other professional development initiatives.

This is the second round of grants being offered (the first round of monies was handed out at the end of April of this year). As monumental of an undertaking as this program has been and the immense impact this has had on artists in Cuyahoga County, not everyone who applied was able to get this relief, unfortunately. Artist applications were reviewed by Distinguished Art Professionals and “artists reporting the greatest financial need were given the highest score. Awards were distributed so that artists self-reporting the greatest financial need received the largest grants and so forth. There was a lottery for grants of $500, as there were more artists in need than grants available.”

I asked Young if she anticipated another round of these sort of grants in the future to which she replied, “We are considering providing a new kind of recovery grant through The Satellite Fund in 2021 supporting artist production of new experimental projects, but not requiring those projects to have a public presentation (as was part of the grant opportunity in 2019). Those details are still in process.”

Artist Katie Mongoven was quoted as responding, "Thank you so much for this exciting news! I am so honored and grateful to receive this grant during such a challenging time. I hope you realize how much of a difference this will make in my life."

This is not the only relief effort supporting basic needs and providing resources for artist driven responses from SPACES as they have also announced 4 of the 5 Urgent Art Fund awardees with one more to be awarded this year. This is a project-based grant and one with which artists find out much more quickly if they have been recommended for further funding. This allows for a more timely response to current events and happenings in local communities.

“Awarded projects receive support from SPACES staff and extended networks, but the artists take the lead in determining their own models of success and artistic expression.”

SPACES would like to highlight Artist Outreach Coordinator Cierra Rembert, who they report, “Has done an incredible job administering both The Satellite Fund and The Urgent Art Fund in 2020. We could not have administered these programs without her expertise and dedication.”

All in all, 169 artists have applied for relief through these programs since April and in 2020, SPACES administered $115,250 in Emergency Relief Grants to local artists and over 20% reported risk factors including underlying health conditions.

This is cause to take pause and reflect on what a tremendous financial strain Covid-19 has thrust upon artists in Cuyahoga County and how important these programs are to the health and wellbeing of our artistic communities.

Visit the Spaces website to get a full list of grantees.

SPACES is also accepting donation from individuals here

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Friday, July 24, 2020

Abattoir Gallery Breathes Life Into the Mundane Featuring the Latest Works by Shawn Powell and Lauren Yeager

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2020 at 8:19 AM

  • Shawn Powell, “Beach Towel, Scarf, Tooth”

“I used to think it would be hard to find somewhere outside of the two coastal poles of New York or L.A. with such a strong infrastructure for a thriving arts community, but it seems to be more and more common in places like Cleveland, Detroit, and Kansas City…” — Shawn Powell

Abattoir gallery, the newest addition to the Hildebrandt Building located at 3619 Walton Ave., will be hosting an exhibition featuring the latest works from Ohio-based artists Shawn Powell and Lauren Yeager opening Friday July 31st.

Abattoir is a noun borrowed from the French language meaning, “a place where animals are butchered,” which is no doubt some sort of twisted homage to the fact that the Hildebrandt building was a meat packing plant at one time. With curatorial giant, Lisa Kurzner and Rose Burlingham coming out of the gate ‘full force’ with this, their second exhibition, there is no doubt that this duo are indeed, if you'll forgive the pun, killing it.

“From the very first studio visit I had with them it was clear that they were the real deal," Shawn Powell says of his first impressions of the gallery. "They asked smart and poignant questions and picked up on a lot of the influences and concepts I was working with in my paintings. They were so engaged and passionate, which isn’t always the case during studio visits. Their knowledge and professionalism rivals any New York gallery I’ve worked with. The new gallery space is beautiful and I’m really excited to be included in the roster of local and national artists that they are showing there.”

According to the description of this exhibition on Abattoir’s website, Shawn Powell and Lauren Yeager’s works breathe new life into the seemingly “…overlooked quotidian objects in their work, each adopting a philosophical tangent consistent with their commentary and interests.”

Powell, a Professor of Painting at Kent State University, takes the simplicity of objects and deconstructs them into their mere shape and color before arranging them in a way which offers the viewer a new perspective on what responses these items can elicit when juxtaposed with one another.

He configures them in order to highlight their intrinsic color, form and texture while forcing the viewer to ‘fill in the blanks’ as to how these objects come together in time and space. An impressive example of this can be observed in this current exhibition with the work entitled plainly, “Beach Towel, Scarf, Tooth” the stripes from which Powell admits are derived directly from Daniel Buren. The objects alone as concepts might not raise the brow, but when arranged in a symphony of line and color they meld into something otherworldly while manifesting a somewhat cinematic quality.

“Works by filmmaker David Lynch, the writing style of Alain Robbe-Grillet, and good abstract painting in general leave the viewer with experiences that lead to more questions than answers, and I feel that that kind of critical dialogue between the work and the viewer is the baseline of what I can ask them to take away from the work. I’m not interested in giving an audience a traditional narrative structure that has a solid culmination. For me, the journey is more important than the destination, leaving a viewer with questions like “Why was there a missing tooth next to a scarf?”

Lauren Yeager in her bio states, “The relevance of my work does not depend on a specific geographic location, but a more common, contemporary experience of everyday urban and suburban life. Placing familiar objects into unfamiliar configurations and contexts frees them of their assimilated functions, and promotes a free-form engagement with our everyday surroundings.”

The obvious congruency here between these artists’ visions and the fact that these two were ‘put in the same room together’ speaks to the ‘avoir bon goût’ of Burlingham and Kurzner as curators and to their clarity in conceptualizing a show. Kurzner has been a long-time supporter of Yeager and has been working with her since 2016.

Yeager’s work in this exhibition showcases a selection of photographic pieces and found-object sculptures that embody her keen eye for finding ways to reconfigure every-day and sometimes seemingly mundane items and allow them to exist in space together in order to offer another and maybe more intrinsic narrative about how they speak to one another.

Yeager, who has an impressive exhibiting history, keeps track of the trash schedules for Cleveland and surrounding suburbs in order to recycle these found objects and familiar forms. “I choose objects that are familiar and identifiable, and I choose to leave the objects unaltered to preserve their integrity as objects as they enter into the context of sculpture. The direct presentation allows viewers to approach the works with their own experiences and personal histories, while the objects shift back and forth between their original contexts and the context of art.”

The exhibition will be up from 7/31 to 9/5.

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