Canvas Fall 2018

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NORTHEAST OHIO | arts | music | performance

Fall 2018


#ME TOO Gender parity on and behind Cleveland stages



What happens when the last Holocaust survivors are no longer with us? Who will tell their stories? The Maltz Museum is launching a first-of-its-kind effort in Cleveland to preserve Holocaust memories through the use of cutting-edge technology. Be part of the beta test and hear Stanley’s story of survival, then interact with him through Q&A. Together, we will never forget.


From left, Matt Dolan, Denise Abboud, Jon Knight and Britta Will perform as part of improv troupe Something Dada at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood. Photo by Michael C. Butz.


6 Editor’s Note

Sixth City improv

Cleveland’s evolving improv comedy scene is rich in history and full of talent but less cohesive than those of Chicago and other cities


Michael C. Butz discusses this issue’s cover story

8 On Deck

Noteworthy upcoming openings and events from around Northeast Ohio

10 Peak performance

CityMusic Cleveland strives for more as it approaches its 15th season

14 Theater and #MeToo

Gender parity on and behind Cleveland stages

24 Hands on

Matthew Sweeney builds an artistic career

32 Destination Detroit-Shoreway

NORTHEAST OHIO | arts | music | performance

Community involvement and a strong mix of visual and performing arts offerings have made this West Side neighborhood a place to be

Fall 2018

On the cover


#ME TOO Gender parity on and behind Cleveland stages

Five female actors spoke with Canvas at Dobama Theatre to discuss their experiences with gender inequality in Northeast Ohio. Back row, from left: Lisa Langford and Anjanette Hall. Middle row, from left: Anne McEvoy and Rachel Lee Kolis. Front row: Derdriu Ring. Photo by Michael C. Butz.

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38 Stage listings

Listings for local theaters, dance companies and more, including schedules

46 Curator Corner

Cleveland Museum of Art’s “Stag at Sharkey’s” by George Bellows

47 Listings

Listings for local museums, galleries, artists, events and more

think outside the lines Every day, Hathaway Brown students of all ages are encouraged to expand their horizons and see the world in new and exciting ways. Our outstanding academic curriculum is made more vibrant by hands-on educational opportunities in all divisions. Creativity and innovation are at the heart of the HB experience, and students make their own unique and beautiful marks within and well beyond our classroom walls.

Discover what you’re made of at HB.

OPEN HOUSES GRADES 5 –12 Thurs., Oct. 18, 5 – 7 p.m.

INFANT CARE – GRADE 4 Sat., Nov. 3, 10 – 11:30 a.m. Call 216.320.8767 or visit

Conversation of consequence T

his issue of Canvas marks the second consecutive year in which we’ve devoted a large swath of our fall magazine to on-stage artistry like theater, classical music and dance. The timing is right because many performing arts entities will begin their 2018-19 seasons in the coming weeks. Not coincidentally, we felt the timing was also right for Canvas to delve into the urgent issue of gender equality. Worldwide, no conversation in the entertainment industry during the past 12 months has been more crucial or more consequential than the one surrounding the vulgar treatment, disparities in opportunities, oppressive and harassing behavior, and undue emotional and psychological strain endured by women for decades – and the #MeToo movement that rose to challenge the unfair and unjust. To gain perspective on what’s happening locally, we sat down with five talented female actors – Anjanette Hall, Rachel Lee Kolis, Lisa Langford, Anne McEvoy and Derdriu Ring – for a Q&A that covered their experiences as well as what they think can be done in response to these issues. The conversation was powerful, revealing and enlightening, and we hope you’ll take away from it something that helps further this important dialogue. Also in this issue, we preview the 15th anniversary season of CityMusic Cleveland, a chamber orchestra that reaches audiences that may not otherwise experience classical music by performing free concerts at local churches and synagogues, and we drop in on Northeast Ohio’s talented but under-the-radar improv scene. We also check in with visual artist Matthew Sweeney, whose practice is thriving following a devastating personal tragedy, and we take you on a tour of Cleveland’s thriving Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, home to the Gordon Square Arts District, several theaters and a handful of stunning outdoor murals. There are also two new features to note. The first is “Curator Corner,” a section in which we invite curators to provide a more in-depth look at a work of art in their museum’s permanent collection or on view in an exhibition. We intend for “Curator Corner” to be a recurring section in Canvas. The second new and noteworthy item is that Canvas is now on Facebook. Better late than never, right? Regardless of whether you already follow us on Instagram or Twitter, we hope you’ll give us a “like” on Facebook. (All three social media channels can be followed at @CanvasCLE.) Last but not least, Canvas was recently recognized by the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists with five awards in the 2018 Ohio’s Best Journalism Contest for work completed in 2017. Topping our list was the first-place award for “Best Trade Publication Website” for As you can see, this issue – as well as our social media channels and website – are packed with interesting content. Whether you’re reading in print or following along online, we hope you enjoy this issue of Canvas.

Canvas Editor

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Editor Michael C. Butz Design Manager Stephen Valentine

President & CEO Kevin S. Adelstein Vice President of Sales Adam Mandell CJN Managing Editor Bob Jacob Controller Tracy DiDomenico Digital Marketing Manager Rebecca Fellenbaum Events Manager Gina Lloyd Editorial Ed Carroll, Becky Raspe, Alyssa Schmitt Contributing Writers Bob Abelman, Carlo Wolff Columbus Bureau Chief Amanda Koehn Custom Publishing Manager Paul Bram Sales & Marketing Manager Andy Isaacs Advertising Marcia Bakst, Marilyn Evans, Ron Greenbaum, Adam Jacob, Nell V. Kirman, Sherry Tilson Design Lillian Messner, Jessica Simon Digital Content Producer Abbie Murphy Business & Circulation Tammie Crawford, Abby Royer Violet Spevack Editorial Intern Tess Kazdin Irving I. Stone Editorial Intern Marissa Nichol Nina and Norman Wain Advertising Intern Dani Zborovsky Display Advertising 216-342-5191 Canvas is published by the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, 23880 Commerce Park, Suite 1, Beachwood, OH 44122. For general questions, call 216-454-8300.



Culinary Festival | Noon - 10 p.m. $5 Admission, Kids 12 and under free Chef-driven restaurants, craft beverages, culinary demonstrations and live entertainment!

Benefiting Tri-C’s Hospitality Management Center of Excellence. 18-0002


Upcoming openings and events from around Northeast Ohio. Event details provided by the entities featured. Compiled by Tess Kazdin and Marissa Nichol

“Doubt” by John W. Carlson (2014). 30 x 40 inches, oil and charcoal on canvas. Image courtesy of the artist. ARTISTS OF THE ARTCRAFT POP-UPS • Aug. 3, Aug. 24, Sept. 28 Sixteen artists of the ArtCraft Building and the Heller Building will participate in three “PopUp at the ArtCraft” events, all of which will coincide with FRONT International Triennial exhibitions taking place from July through September throughout Northeast Ohio. Artwork represented at the pop-ups will include painting, photography, mixed media, sculpture, ceramics and printmaking. Food trucks and music will also add to the unique experience of the Superior Arts District. Participating artists include Paulette Archer, Ruth Bercaw, Kim Bissett, John W. Carlson, Bonnie Dolin, James Douglas, Marilyn Farinacci, Wally Kaplan, Baila Litton, Gloria Plevin, Claire Raack, Katina Pastis Radwanski, Jesse Rhinehart, Rita Schuenemann, Andrzej Siwkiewciz and Ala Siwkiewciz. The pop-ups will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 3, Aug. 24 and Sept. 28 at 2530 Superior Ave., Gallery 403, Cleveland.

“Papaver Glaucun Tulip” by Bruce Checefsky, 2017. Archival ink jet / pigment print on Hahnemühle Fine Art Baryta (325g), 18 x 24 inches, edition of 10 + 1 AP made with an Epson Perfection 2450 Photo Scanner. Image courtesy of the artist. BAYARTS • “Bruce Checefsky: Garden Scans” | Aug. 10 – Oct. 6 “Garden Scans” will feature images of distorted flowers and gardens that are showered with symbolism. Bruce Checefsky, a photographer, escapes to his garden in Tremont to seek refuge from several personal irritants, from increasing age and expanding development to the political turmoil he feels the country currently faces. To create these images, Checefsky employs a digital photo scanner as a primary camera. The technique fundamental to this method is that of expanding time – scan images are made on 30-second intervals up to several minutes, which achieves the actual sensation of animation. The calm yet eye-catching color scheme of the collection brings boldness to the show. These images of an alternate reality of gardens will leave viewers mesmerized. An opening reception will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 10 at 28795 Lake Road, Bay Village.

CANTON MUSEUM OF ART • “Darius Steward: Our Separated Selves” | Aug. 16 – Oct. 26

“Breaker of Chains” by Darius Steward. Image courtesy of the Canton Museum of Art.

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“Our Separated Selves,” a collection of watercolor pieces from Darius Steward, will offer commentary and perspective on social issues like identity, commodity, race and the placement of African-Americans within Western culture. His art leads to a dialogue concerning voice and identity amongst African-Americans and encourages viewers to face their feelings about the topics explored in the exhibition. The exhibition will include a depiction of Steward’s son, Darius Jr., which was a study for the “Breaker of Chains” mural on the Euclid Avenue bridge over the Inner Belt near Cleveland State University. It communicates Steward’s questioning of whether his son will have to grow up with the same barriers he did. An opening reception for this exhibition will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 16 at 1001 Market Ave., Canton. To read a 2017 profile of Steward, visit

Susan Bestul Photography / Cleveland Pops Orchestra

CLEVELAND POPS ORCHESTRA • 2018 Gala: “A Night on the Town” | Aug. 17 The Cleveland Pops Orchestra will pay tribute to Cleveland’s jazz, pops and blues music during its annual fundraiser, which will honor Nighttown owner Brendan Ring, who’s made a considerable contribution to all three genres by way of programming and promotion at his Cleveland Heights business. Nighttown is nationally recognized as one of the best spots to hear live jazz music. The theme for this year’s annual fundraiser is “A Night on the Town.” It’s the 16th iteration, and as always, proceeds will benefit the orchestra and its community-engagement endeavors. The evening will include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, a silent auction, entertainment and dancing to the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. The 2018 annual fundraiser will be held at 6 p.m. in the grand ballroom of the InterContinental Hotel & Conference Center, 9801 Carnegie Ave., Cleveland.

An opening reception will be held Oct. 19 (times to be announced) at 11400 Euclid Ave., Cleveland.

Conductor Carl Topilow leads the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.

The Cleveland Orchestra

THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA • 100th Anniversary Gala | Sept. 29 Each year, the internationally recognized Cleveland Orchestra – which is celebrating its centennial season – hosts its annual Gala Evening event to raise funds for its education and community programs. This year’s Gala Evening is special in that it commemorates the orchestra’s entrance into its second century. With music director Franz Welser-Möst and pianist Lang Lang, the Cleveland Orchestra 100th Anniversary Gala will feature Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24, works by Richard and Johann Strauss Jr. and Ravel’s La Valse. The evening will include pre-performance cocktails on Severance Hall’s front terrace followed by the concert and will conclude with dinner catered by executive chef Douglas Katz of fire food and drink. The cocktail portion of the night will be held at 6 p.m. and the concert at 7 p.m., followed by dinner at Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Ave., Cleveland.

Pianist Lang Lang with music director Franz Welser-Möst.

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART CLEVELAND “Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle” Oct. 19 – Jan. 27, 2019 This fall, MOCA Cleveland will host “Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle,” an ecologically-focused exhibition portraying the evolution of the Great Lakes. Rockman, an acclaimed painter and environmental activist, blends extensive research, contrasting techniques and site-specific materials like sand or soil to create paintings that juxtapose past and future. The exhibition includes five new mural-sized paintings, a myriad of flora and fauna “field drawings,” a puddle of watercolors and a documentary film that all portray the evolution of the Great Lakes. Rockman’s work celebrates the global importance and natural majesty of the Great Lakes while exploring how they are threatened by factors such as climate change, globalization, invasive species, mass agriculture and urban sprawl.


Alexis Rockman, “Cascade,” 2015, oil and alkyd on wood panel. 72 x 144 inches. Commissioned by Grand Rapids Art Museum with funds provided by Peter Wege, Jim and Mary Nelson, John and Muriel Halick, Mary B. Loupee, and Karl and Patricia Betz. Grand Rapids Art Museum, 2015.19. Image courtesy of MOCA Cleveland.

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CityMusic Cleveland strives for more as it approaches its 15th season Story and photography by Michael C. Butz


n a sweltering and stormy evening in mid-May, the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus presented a special Saturday night service, of sorts. It was a program that typically takes place only four times a year at the Catholic parish in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood. What set it apart is that its central discourse came not from a priest’s homily but from a conductor’s baton, the congregation rose from pews not to celebrate the mass but to deliver standing ovations, and the music was taken not from a hymnal but from the catalog of Ludwig van Beethoven. On this night, CityMusic Cleveland, the distinguished chamber orchestra that nomadically – and notably – plays free of charge at churches and synagogues across Northeast Ohio, performed to the delight of everyone assembled. In October, CityMusic Cleveland will begin its 15th season – an accomplishment

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executive director Eugenia Strauss says is worth noting. “The 15th anniversary season is a big milestone for us,” she says. “You have to remember that all of our concerts are free and we have to raise every penny. So, we’re amazed we’re still standing.” CityMusic Cleveland is, in fact, doing much more than just standing. In recent years, it’s expanded its offerings beyond its main series – four programs a year, each consisting of five nightly performances at five different venues – to include a musician-led chamber music series as well as the Clurie Bennis Children’s Outreach Program in collaboration with the Children’s Museum of Cleveland. Still, even with robust options and years’ worth of performances, the orchestra struggles, surprisingly, with recognizability. “In the music world, we’re much better known than in our own city. We’ve built a reputation of excellence,” Strauss says. “I’m amazed every time I meet somebody who says, ‘A friend of mine dragged me to this concert, and wow, this is amazing! Where have I been all of these years?’ That is a standard expression, time after time.

“We are, to our surprise, still very unknown in this city.” COMMUNITY EXPERIENCE Those in the know, however, are devoted to CityMusic Cleveland. Judging from the manner in which audience members tap their fingers on the backs of pews and sway their heads – all in accordance with the peaks and valleys of the music – they’re also highly engaged in the performances. That Season 14-ending concert drew listeners of all ages, from young children being introduced to classical music to older adults using the occasion as a date night. CityMusic Cleveland concerts are almost familial experiences. Venues are nearly full, but given their scale, audiences are smaller and more intimate. And at St. Stanislaus, there’s almost always a bake sale, and everyone knows that if you want to buy a nut roll made by Vickie Mathis, you better do so early because they run out fast. It’s not the type of atmosphere one might typically associate with classical music performances, but welcoming music enthusiasts of all kinds by performing for free and eliminating any cost barriers and

taking the music to them rather than requiring them to travel to a performance hall, are both central to CityMusic Cleveland’s mission. “There are very few chamber orchestras in the United States, and only three or four of our caliber, that do what we do in terms of giving free concerts, playing in churches and neighborhoods,” says Strauss, citing the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra as another example. “We always try to be on the cutting edge of programming in terms of attracting big audiences. We are very conscious of developing audiences, especially younger audiences.” In addition to playing in Slavic Village, CityMusic Cleveland regularly performs in the city’s North Collinwood and St. ClairSuperior neighborhoods as well as suburbs like Beachwood, Elyria, Lakewood, Rocky River, Willoughby and Willoughby Hills. CityMusic Cleveland violinist Masha Andreini, who’s also the director of the orchestra’s chamber music series, says connecting with audiences is one of the highlights for her as a performer. “Every time going to these churches or performance centers, we establish a friendship with the audience,” she says. “Each location has its own audience, and sometimes the audience will come to several performances in the same series. We look forward to seeing those people, and if they’re not at some performances, we wonder what happened to them. “I live in Shaker Heights, and often when I go to market or the grocery store, people will recognize me. It’s a great feeling to be able to go to different communities to perform and have this gratitude from people who really appreciate what we do.” SEASON 15 HIGHLIGHTS In the upcoming season, those audiences will see CityMusic Cleveland welcome its first female conductor: Mélisse Brunet, a Cleveland Institute of Music graduate who was recently named the interim music director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic for its 2018-19 season. She’ll conduct during the May 2019 series, which will feature Israeli cellist Amit Peled as the soloist. The March 2019 series will feature the world premiere of a new violin concerto from longtime CityMusic Cleveland music director Avner Dorman. The series will also include the orchestra’s first performance at the Maltz Performing Arts Center at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. The series this December will feature The Cleveland Orchestra’s principal


Above/below: CityMusic Cleveland musicians perform at the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood. Opposite page: CityMusic Cleveland music director Avner Dorman conducts a performance that included Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, a Beethoven Violin Concerto and Beethoven Symphony No. 8.

oboist, Frank Rosenwein, as soloist. The season-opening series this October will feature two soloists: cellist Edward Aaron and violinist Tessa Lark. Lark performed with CityMusic during its Season 14-ending series, including that night at St. Stanislaus. Her talent – as well as the authoritative flourishes she uses to punctuate her performances – resonated with the audience. Strauss calls Lark a “fan favorite.” “She’s a beautiful player, first of all. She’s pretty amazing,” she says. “She has a way of connecting to audiences that makes them really excited to see her. We get the greatest response from our audiences when she plays.”

Two additional Season 15 highlights will occur mostly off the stage. CityMusic Cleveland is in the process of creating a fellowship for African-American and Latino musicians in which the recipient will learn all facets of the organization, from performing to program development. The orchestra also hopes to release two new albums during the course of the upcoming season. PASSING THE PLATE The biggest challenge of CityMusic Cleveland’s 15-year existence, Strauss says, has been funding. “It’s very hard to raise money for something that’s free. We have to constantly overcome the idea of, ‘If it’s free, how can

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“In the music world, we’re much better known than in our own city. We’ve built a reputation of excellence. ... We are, to our surprise, still very unknown in this city.” Eugenia Strauss, executive director, CityMusic Cleveland

Above: Violinist Tessa Lark was the soloist during CityMusic Cleveland’s all-Beethoven show in May at the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus. it be good?’ – even though we prove time after time it’s amazing.” That isn’t the only funding misconception – or obstacle – affecting the orchestra.

“A lot of people think the musicians play for free,” says Strauss, noting the size of the orchestra fluctuates between 34 and 54 musicians depending on the performance. “Every concert, we have to explain to the audience that our musicians aren’t volunteering. They’re professional musicians, highly qualified, and have their families (to support).” CityMusic Cleveland receives grants but its biggest funding sources are donations made by audience members during concerts – at churches in which the orchestra performs, donations are made via collection plates or baskets – and donations from its board trustees. “We occasionally have a benefit, but we’re such a tiny operation that we can’t do it every year,” Strauss explains. “There are eight board members and two people on the staff to manage all of this.” CityMusic Cleveland also relies on relationships forged with the communities in which it plays. The orchestra touts those locales on its website, offering concertgoers suggestions for places to eat and providing them with a history on the community, in exchange for help laying the groundwork for their appearances. In Slavic Village, Strauss counts City Councilman Anthony Brancatelli, Slavic Village Development and David Krakowski, director of liturgy and music at St. Stanislaus, as the orchestra’s biggest supporters.


CityMusic Cleveland Season 15 SERIES 1 When: Oct. 24-28 Where: Beachwood, Cleveland’s North Collinwood and Slavic Village neighborhoods, Lakewood, Willoughby Hills Conductor: Avner Dorman Soloists: Tessa Lark, violin; Edward Aaron, cello Program: Brahms Concerto for Violin and Cello in A Minor, Op.102; Brahms Symphony No.2 in D Major, Op.73 SERIES 2 When: Dec. 12-16 Where: Beachwood, Cleveland’s North Collinwood and Slavic Village neighborhoods, Lakewood, Willoughby Hills Conductor: Stefan Willich Soloist: Frank Rosenwein, oboe Program: Mozart Magic Flute Overture K620; Strauss Oboe Concerto in D Major; Mozart Symphony No. 39 in E Major K543

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Another way the orchestra gives back is through ambitious programming that attempts to tackle social issues such as raising awareness for international refugees in Northeast Ohio, bullying, genocide and oppression, and Jewish-Muslim relations. “Social issues are very close to my heart, and I figured there’s a way for the orchestra to very gently bring attention to issues that exist in this city,” Strauss says. “It was also a great way to connect to social services and other nonprofits that deal with an array of issues. In establishing relationships and collaborations, it gave us a way to dig deeper into the community and become better known.” A lot has changed for the orchestra since it began. Strauss feels the biggest change has been the quality of its performances. “Each season, we’ve gotten better and better,” she says. “We have a reputation now in the music world that we can attract great soloists, conductors and composers, which is really important.” Looking ahead, Strauss feels the orchestra will continue to heed advice once given to it by an esteemed former president of the Cleveland Institute of Music. “As Joel Smirnoff told us, our task is to maintain the excellence of the orchestra,” she says. “He considers us one of the top chamber orchestras in the United States, which is a wonderful achievement for the musicians.”

SERIES 3 When: March 13-17, 2019 Where: Cleveland’s North Collinwood, Slavic Village and University Circle neighborhoods, Lakewood, Willoughby Hills Conductor: Avner Dorman Soloist: Sayaka Shoji, violin Program: Takemitzu Waltz; Dorman Violin Concerto No.3 (world premiere); Poulenc Sinfonietta SERIES 4 When: May 15-19, 2019 Where: Beachwood, Cleveland’s North Collinwood and Slavic Village neighborhoods, Lakewood, Willoughby Hills Conductor: Mélisse Brunet Soloist: Amit Peled, cello Program: Mendelssohn Overture in C Major; Saint-Saëns Symphony in A Minor, Op.55; Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op.33; Kodály Dances of Galánta For more information, visit






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Gender parity on and

Five female actors from Northeast Ohio spoke to Canvas at Dobama Theatre in Cleveland Heights. Back row, from left: Lisa Langford and Anjanette Hall. Center row: Anne McEvoy. Front row, from left: Derdriu Ring and Rachel Lee Kolis. Michael C. Butz

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#ME TOO behind Cleveland stages By Bob Abelman


he #MeToo movement in America – and the international sister movements it inspired – brought about a cultural awakening regarding gender inequality and sexual harassment in the workplace. More specifically, the movement called attention to the domination of men in power positions within the entertainment industry. In the world of theater, most plays have been written by men, chosen by male artistic directors and cast by male directors. Not long ago, the League of Professional Theatre reported that female playwrights accounted for only 22 percent of productions in professional theaters across the country. Regionally, 26 percent of works produced in Washington, D.C. were by women, 20 percent of productions in Los Angeles were authored or co-authored by a woman, and 19 percent of productions in Chicago were written by women. The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the union for professional directors, reported that in 2017 women made up just 34 percent of professional directors nationwide and earned significantly less than their male counterparts. In light of the #MeToo movement, however, there “absolutely is an opportunity to build a more inclusive and diverse leadership composition of the American theatre field,” says Teresa Eyring, executive director of Theatre Communications Group, a nonprofit service organization, in American Theatre magazine. “And there is absolutely a responsibility to recruit with a special eye toward identifying talent among women.” Locally, in 2018, the Cleveland Play House created an Artistic Directing Fellowship for experienced female directors with regional theater


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Steve Wagner Photography

Anjanette Hall as The Pilot in Dobama Theatre’s “Grounded.” leadership aspirations, designed to offer mentoring opportunities and address inequities in the field. It is also the theater’s programing policy that half of its season’s protagonists, playwrights and directors will be female. At Dobama Theatre, the entire 2018-19 season will feature plays written by female playwrights, whose work will be getting their regional, Midwest or Cleveland premiere. Is this indicative of a larger paradigm shift regarding gender parity in Northeast Ohio or mere window dressing? Five of Cleveland’s most talented and accomplished female actors – Anjanette Hall, Rachel Lee Kolis, Lisa Langford, Anne McEvoy and Derdriu Ring – gathered with Canvas at Dobama in Cleveland Heights to discuss and evaluate the current state of the art on and behind local professional stages. Canvas: Why is it important for women to serve in creative leadership roles, as playwrights and directors on stage and as artistic directors behind it?

Anne McEvoy: Considering that half the population is female, it only makes sense that we have a female perspective on stories. And not just the stories that are about women, but that are about life in general. Derdriu Ring: I’d say it feels very safe to have a female artistic director. To me, in a safe working environment, you’re not dealing with any of those sexual harassment issues that certainly young actors have to deal with. Lisa Langford: Representation matters. So, if you don’t have a woman or an African-American or an LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex and asexual/ allied) in a position of leadership, you assume that it’s normal. The more we realize everybody’s story has some aspect of universality, the better shot we have at understanding each other and having less craziness in the world. Canvas: Are things changing on this front? Are they changing fast enough?

Ring: The thing that makes me very angry is that we’re still having this conversation. You know the bumper sticker “Evolve”? Have we not yet evolved? I had this very conversation with (Irish playwright) Marina Carr one time. She really hates being called a female playwright. “They keep saying I’m the best Irish female playwright. Why can’t I just be the best playwright?” Anjanette Hall: I think we’ve been talking about evolving since I can remember. When I was an undergrad, in graduate school and all throughout my professional career, we always talk about the need for women playwrights, directors and artistic directors. We’ve always talked about the evolution of it. Maybe it was complacency or maybe no one was really listening, but it feels like right now is the time we’re saying enough is enough. Rachel Lee Kolis: I think it’s a really interesting time, because as a woman, with women being put in the spotlight, you want to feel empowered. But I personally struggle with this weird anger. It’s so active – we have to look at statistics and remind ourselves that women are under-represented, and we have to actively try to represent them. When are we going to get to the point where it’s not an active thing, it just is – it’s the norm? Langford: Just like structural racism, structural patriarchy is the air we breathe. That’s why we have to be angry. Hopefully our daughters or granddaughters won’t have to think about this, but we’re mad for a good reason. Actually, I think it’s less anger than it is motivation, fire and energy. Ring: Out of that comes action. If you’re an artist, you’re going to create. You’re not going to bang a wall or hurt someone, you’re going to create. McEvoy: When Peter Shaffer wrote “Lettice and Lovage” for Maggie Smith, there’s a big gag in there about how her mother had this company of all-female Shakespearean actresses from the Dordogne – and that was a joke. Now, women are doing it fullout, and it’s fierce. But, God, it takes us a long time to evolve.

Anjanette Hall holds an MFA in acting from Rutgers University and a BFA in musical theater performance from Western Michigan University. Locally, she has performed at Dobama Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Mamaí Theatre Company and Coach House Theatre. Regionally, she has performed at Baltimore Center Stage in Maryland, Two River Theatre in New Jersey and Red Stage Theatre Company in Vermont. Hall has also done short films, commercials and television. She is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association.

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Local Holocaust Survivor Educates Future Generations through Cutting-Edge Technology at Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage


altz Museum of Jewish Heritage has partnered with USC Shoah Foundation’s Dimensions in Testimony to launch a first-of-its-kind Holocaust Survivor Memory Project in Cleveland. Local Holocaust survivor Stanley Bernath’s story and memories were recorded using state-of-theart technology that allows Stanley to share his story and answer questions about his past, simulating the experience of speaking face-to-face with a survivor. Stanley is the 15th survivor in the world to become an interactive survivor biography. Each year, more than 10,000 students from across Northeast Ohio visit the Maltz Museum for student tours. Many of these students hear from a local Holocaust survivor who shares his or her personal and powerful story. This is one of the most meaningful ways students can experience history – by listening to the real-life stories of people who lived through that period of time. “Meeting and interacting with a survivor lifts history out of the books and brings history to life for students,” said David Schafer, Managing Director of the Maltz Museum, who says this is why the Survivor Memory Project is critical now. “We don’t know how much longer survivors will be able to share their stories. Working with USC Shoah Foundation’s Dimensions in Testimony enables future generations to interact with a Holocaust survivor long after we are all gone.” Dimensions in Testimony revolutionizes the concept of oral history, using cutting-edge technology to record survivor stories with hundreds of cameras set up in a dome. The team asks hundreds of questions over the course of two days. The survivor needs to have significant cognitive ability to sit through the comprehensive question-and-answer session in their studio in California. Approximately one year after that experience, Stanley Bernath is seeing an interactive version of himself via the beta version. “Years from now, none of us survivors will be available, we’ll be all gone,” said Stanley Bernath, who is honored to be the 15th survivor in the world to record his story as an interactive survivor biography. He has been telling his story to groups for more than 40 years, and now his story will live on in perpetuity. “Children or adults can always ask questions. They’ll be able to see it and hear what I have to say about what I went through,” he said. The beta test is an important part of the technology’s process, working out bugs so that when student or adult groups come in the future the technology will work fluidly. The beta began on July 24. Maltz Museum visitors will be able to interact with the beta version and help test the technology every Tuesday through Friday and Sunday at 3 p.m. The experience is included with general museum admission and is free for Maltz Museum members. See a short video about the Survivor Memory Project at the Maltz Museum by watching “Dimensions in Testimony at the Maltz Museum” at The Maltz Museum is located at 2929 Richmond Road in Beachwood. For more information, please contact 216-593-0575 or visit

Stanley Bernath and his daughters Vera Dunagan and Lisa Bernath speak about the making of the interactive survivor biography with Managing Director David Schafer at the Maltz Museum.

Channel 19 News interviews Stanley Bernath about being the 15th Holocaust survivor in the world to become an interactive survivor biography.

Stanley Bernath and his daughters pose with the sign at the entrance to the theater where visitors can interact with him on screen.

Steve Smith of the USC Shoah Foundation with local Holocaust survivor Stanley Bernath and founders of the Maltz Museum, Tamar and Milton Maltz.

Canvas: And having more women as playwrights and in leadership positions will speed along that evolution? Ring: Yes. Canvas: How? Ring: Well, the most powerful thing about playwright Marina Carr is that she is being heard. She speaks in “female” more than any woman I’ve ever read, where they’re complicated, they’re messy and they’re very badly behaved women. My mother and my sister and I were sitting there (at one of her plays) and we’re going, “This is us, with our messiness. You’re the crazy mother, I’m the crazy sister and you’re the other crazy sister.” For the first time, we saw ourselves on stage. We heard someone speak for us. I hadn’t seen that before, and I was 24 when I saw it. That was 22 years ago. McEvoy: When it comes to the ways they communicate, men use information

for power while women share information – that’s how they relate to one another. Women in charge or women making artistic choices or women telling their stories, they tend to want to share. Langford: One hopes. You don’t need men to uphold the patriarchy. Sometimes women think, “Now that I’m in this position of power, I’m going to ‘out-men’ the men.” They don’t always reach down and pull up their sisters or nurture the other women around them. This includes women who are literary agents or literary readers at theaters who were picking male plays. Kolis: There’s a duty to pick up the torch. I was so excited when Mamaí Theatre came to life in Cleveland. It felt really powerful, and it was so awesome to have a theater company run by women that was about women and told the story of women.

Bob Perkoski Rachel Lee Kolis as Christina Linden in Mamaí Theatre Company’s “A Doll’s House.”

Canvas: Let’s talk about the Mamaí Theatre Company, which was founded by Bernadette Clemens, Wendy Kriss, Christine McBurney and Derdriu Ring. It opened in 2010 with a production of Brendan Kennelly’s “Medea,” an adaptation of Euripides’ tale of a woman scorned. This theater managed to do all the things we talked about earlier regarding the need for a female perspective on stories, a safe space for female actors and better representation of women in creative leadership positions in theater. Ring: It was a spark in the dark and speaks to a frustration of a lack of really great female roles. Initially, it was just Christine and I sitting in her house saying, “I am so sick of seeing these plays. There’s no place for us. There’s no place for women over 40.” There’s the token wife or whatever, but it was like, we shouldn’t wait, (we should) create. McEvoy: Necessity is certainly the mother of invention. I think for some people it was eye-opening when you started, because it was like, “Oh yeah, we are missing that.” Just the fact that the theater was started was enlightening for audiences. Langford: I liked that Mamaí was doing something out of the ordinary, that I got a chance to play Marlene in “Top Girls,” which would never happen outside of maybe drama school. They were like, “We’re already doing some crazy shit, let’s cast the black lady.” (laughing) Ring: “Medea” was a play that for years I wanted to see produced. Kennelly is one of my favorite writers. He’s a poet, and that play was written in the aftermath of his being incarcerated due to his alcoholism in a St. Patrick’s mental asylum in Dublin, where he was surrounded by all these angry women, these mentally ill women full of rage because of what their husbands had done to them. That play, to me, is a universal howl of these wronged women. It was a great piece to start off the company.

Rachel Lee Kolis is a graduate of the Cleveland School of the Arts and trained at The Drama Centre London. Since 2012, she has appeared locally in productions with The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, convergence-continuum, Ensemble Theatre, Cleveland Public Theatre, The Beck Center for the Arts, none too fragile, Maelstrom Collaborative Arts, Dobama Theatre, Mamaí Theatre Company and Great Lakes Theatre Festival and has been a returning guest artist at The Cleveland School of the Arts. In 2015, she received a Best Actress award for her role of Stella in “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Mamaí and a Superior Achievement Award from the Cleveland Critics Circle for her performance in “Tall Skinny Cruel Cruel Boys” with Theater Ninjas. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

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Canvas: Mamaí ceased operations in 2017 with a production of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” which, ironically, ends with the key female protagonist exiting her home, slamming the door on the way out and never returning. Is it surprising or disappointing that other like-minded theater companies weren’t opening during Mamaí’s existence and aren’t carrying on its mission now that Mamaí is gone? Langford: I think other people go, “Oh, well we don’t have to do Caryl Churchill because Mamaí will do that” or “We don’t have to do Antoinette Nwandu because Karamu will do that.” It actually absolves them of responsibility in this weird, twisted way. I think theaters have their “that’s what we’re known for,” and if it’s something outside of what they’re known for, they’ll probably say, “Well, this theater might do that. We’ll do something else.” I think that happens. Hall: I’m still in denial that it’s done. I remember calling friends back in New York and being like, “You aren’t going to believe this, but I’m going to be in a fully produced production of ‘Three Sisters’!” It was such a point of pride for Cleveland theater; I just wanted to shout it to the world. Kolis (to Ring): I cried when you sent the release that you guys were ceasing to exist. Ring: I’m very sad that it’s gone – it breaks my heart – and I’m hoping the Rachels of this world, the younger generation, would take that torch and run with it. I’d be 100 percent behind you if you do. Canvas: Last season, Great Lakes Theater rotated a male and female actor in the title role of “Hamlet.” Are women playing roles traditionally cast as men a viable solution to gender inequality on stage? Ring: As long as it’s done for the right reasons and not just done to be done. I think it’s definitely a move in the right direction as long as it’s thoughtful. If you’re going to do that with Shakespeare, then absolutely do it with noble intentions.

Langford: For a while, it was popular on Broadway to do classics with allblack casts. I wish I’d seen “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” with James Earl Jones as Big Daddy and “The Trip to Bountiful” with Cicely Tyson as Carrie Watts. But sometimes I don’t think it works. “Really? You’re playing plantation owners and your servants are black?” Canvas: Are there plays you won’t be in or roles you won’t take on because of their derogatory portrayal of women? McEvoy: I’ve turned down a couple. It was like, “No, I’m not going to perpetuate that.” Ring: I’ve turned down maybe two. And I’ve asked to have a different role in a play when I’ve thought the role was just fluff. Hall: I had a couple of auditions in New York where I walked out of there and went “Oh my god.” Either it was the audition experience and dealing

with the director or the people in the room and the feeling of “this is so not good,” or you just get the sides for the audition and then you actually start to read the play and go, “Gah! What was I thinking?” Langford: When I was in New York in the ’80s, I (played) a pregnant crack head in a movie. I’d played a pregnant crack head before – there was something about the ’80s, crack and black women. (The role called for me to do) some pretty vile things. All of these things were implied, but I remember saying to myself, “OK, now I know there are some roles you don’t take.” In general, society has problems seeing women as whole human beings. If you don’t value women and see them as whole human beings, you can’t tell interesting stories about them. Ring: I’ve done maids and I remember at one point going, “Am I going to do another maid?” But then I became

Steve Wagner Photography Jabri Little as Tray and Lisa Langford as Lena in Dobama Theatre’s “brownsville song (b-side for tray).”

Lisa Langford, a graduate of Harvard University and an MFA recipient from Cleveland State University, is an actress with Off-Broadway (Playwrights Horizons), regional (LaJolla Playhouse and The Old Globe, both in California, and Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky) and local (Cleveland Play House, Dobama Theatre, Mamaí Theatre Company) credits to her name. She also is a playwright with locally produced works at Cleveland Public Theatre and convergence-continuum. Langford has been a copywriter, a journalist and a member of the creative team that launched the late Maya Angelou’s greeting card line. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.


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Brian Kenneth Amour

Anne McEvoy as Lorraine and Paul Floriano as Jeeter in none too fragile theatre’s “The Last of the Boys.” very good at maids. I was like, “What is this maid’s story? What’s her back story? She has a story to tell.” You can surprise a director with the maid. Cathleen in “Long Day’s Journey into Night” is one of the most interesting maids ever written. When I did that, we talked about her alcoholism, we turned her into this raging alcoholic. If you’re going to get stuck with these roles – and sometimes you are stuck with them – you can actually turn them into gems. You can do something quite extraordinary with them. Canvas: The #MeToo movement has resulted in increased awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace. Each of you have indicated that you personally encountered this during your acting training or career. McEvoy: My experiences didn’t begin until I started working locally. They were more subtle abuses, but insidious, and in the unenlightened ’70s were

considered part of what women had to accept if they wanted to work – in the arts, in business, in life. One only has to watch a couple of episodes of “Mad Men” to realize how ubiquitous that kind of behavior was. Langford: For me, it was more atmospheric, like language. It was never like I was in physical danger or anything, and I’ve been very fortunate like that, but I did find that in other industries. Ring: It was, for me, verbally, very abusive – to the point where I walked out of rehearsal rooms. (I was) being called the C-word over and over again. I remember walking out and being followed into the car park, and I’m shutting the door and he’s still screaming at me. I’m breathing and like, “Don’t cry, don’t let him see your tears. Just get out of here and be safe.” I had somebody in another theater stalk me, and I had to get the police involved. So, it happens.

But now, I’d feel much more emboldened to go right to the artistic director. I would call Equity; I’d do all of those things – now. It’s just so unacceptable to me that that went on and that I wasn’t protected as an actor. Recently, an actress put something out on Facebook (about being harassed) that really makes me angry. I emailed her and said, “Good for you! Say it. Do not be afraid to say it.” We have to have each other’s backs. Langford: That’s something I’ve found. There’s almost like an underground railroad or “Mayday” from “The Handmaid’s Tale” where other women take women aside and say, “Look, if you’re going to be on stage with ... .” Kolis: Drama school is this place where you’re supposed to take off your clothes, metaphorically, and be a vulnerable person and take emotional risks. I think back on some exercises or productions we did, and there’s almost this slow dawning of, “F***, I didn’t know that what was happening was wrong until now.” I think it can be such a delicate dance when you’re an artistic person because you should be free and safe to be vulnerable. It’s just making sure you’re around people who are respectful of that. There’s part of me that I’m kind of disappointed with that just stood idly by and let it all just happen because I was afraid of not working or because I wanted people to like me. Ring: There’s still fear, though, that you could be unemployable (if you stand up to sexual harassment). I was blackballed for standing up for friends in Dublin. A phone call was made saying “You shouldn’t work with her, you shouldn’t cast her.” Langford: Like with Mira Sorvino (a Hollywood actress who believes her career was damaged after rebuffing sexual advances from producer Harvey Weinstein). Ring: When she said that, I was like, “I know that feeling.” You’re completely powerless. Canvas: Accusations of sexual misconduct have led to the resignation

Anne McEvoy is an actor, director and playwright whose plays have been staged locally at Talespinner Children’s Theatre, Great Lakes Theatre Outreach Tour, Clague Playhouse, The Beck Center for the Arts and Cleveland Public Theatre. As an actor, she’s appeared at many theaters in Northeast Ohio, including the Beck Center, Cleveland Play House, Cleveland Public Theatre, Dobama Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, Great Lakes Theater, Karamu House, Mamaí Theatre Company and none too fragile.

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Arden Riddle Master of Mid-Century Design



8/16 6PM-8PM

On View 8/16 - 10/28 Experience the clean lines and timeless elegance of Mid-Century Modern furniture crafted by master Ohio artisan, Arden Riddle. This exhibition of Riddle’s beautiful work spans the 1950s to 70s, featuring iconic furniture styles that feel fresh and modern in any setting and are still highly coveted for today’s interiors. Also on view ... The Art and Sole of Lisa Sorrell Darius Steward: Our Separated Selves | 330.453.7666 Presented with generous support from the Arden Riddle Foundation and . . .

Ohio Historical Decorative Arts Association The Hoover Foundation


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Steve Wagner Photography

Inclusion is essential Only 27 percent of U.S. artistic directors in the 74 U.S. theaters registered with the League of Resident Theatres were women, according to a 2016 study by the Wellesley Centers for Women. In Greater Cleveland, there are only three female artistic directors of professional companies. Here’s what they have to say about the importance of gender parity in artistic leadership positions in local theaters: “A female voice is representative of the community we serve. In order to understand and address human dynamics, individuals and groups need a platform where they can become a part of the conversation.” Derdriu Ring as Dr. Lorna James in Dobama Theatre’s “The Effect.” or firing of the artistic directors of Houston’s Alley Theatre, New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre and Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre, the renowned playwright and director Israel Horovitz, and Broadway casting agent Justin Huff, among others. What’s to be done in the aftermath of these revelations? Hall: The men continuing to apologize for what they’ve done are just stepping back into the shadows. One thing that can be done is that, because many are still in positions of power and we’re the victims of it, they can help us by supporting us, hiring us. McEvoy: There’s a big difference between saying I’m sorry and making amends. Ring: Like what they did at The Abbey in Dublin, where they’ve written into their rule book that you have to have a certain number of females behind the proscenium. They’ve taken action on it; it wasn’t enough for them to just say “We’re sorry we didn’t do that this season, we’ll do it next season.” It’s like, “No, what was

demanded was that you actually change the way you’re doing things,” and I think change is so important. Hall: I think the #MeToo movement is a big “swing those doors open and let’s f***ing deal with this and deal with it now” movement. There’s nowhere to hide. You can’t hide in the shadows anymore. I think it’s awesome. I think this generation of young women in their young 20s are ready for the fight. They have such awesome heads on their shoulders, they’re so smart and they’re leaders. I think one thing that’s really exciting about this, that makes me really happy, is that it means their mothers taught them to be like that. McEvoy: And hopefully their fathers, too. Canvas: Thank you so much for having this discussion. Kolis: I just want to say, it’s really awesome to sit with all of you. Ring: We should start a theater company. Langford: We should!

– Celeste Cosentino, Ensemble Theatre “Equality and inclusion are necessary next steps to keeping the arts whole, developing and growing, so that we are actively nurturing and promoting voices that went unheard and unrecognized.” – Alison Garrigan, Talespinner Children’s Theatre “Women, especially women of color, have been historically marginalized on the American stage. By embracing equal representation, new and compelling stories get their turn in the spotlight. These stories create bridges of understanding across the gender spectrum, making our whole community more informed, compassionate and empathetic.” – Laura Kepley, Cleveland Play House

Derdriu Ring is a graduate of The Gaiety School of Acting in Ireland and a member of Actors’ Equity Association and Screen Actors Guild. She has acted across North America and Ireland for more than 21 years. Among the many roles played in Cleveland, her solo performance in “Stranded on Earth” – a Theatre Ninjas and Mamaí Theatre Company co-production – was awarded Best Actress 2014 by The Cleveland Critics Circle. For the past five years, Ring has been a teaching artist with Playhouse Square and an artist-in-residence with both Cleveland School of the Arts and Kulture Kids. She also served as a resident player at the Cleveland Play House.

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Paul Brown Museum AT THE

Massillon Museum

OPENS THIS FALL 330.833.4061


One -Act Plays

September 21st thru October 27th FRIDAY and SATURDAY at 8pm Two Sunday matinées at 3pm • October 7th and 14th Kennedy’s Down Under, Playhouse Square, 1501 Euclid Ave.

216.241.6000 or Lanford Wilson’s THE GREAT NEBULA IN ORION Greg Cesear’s PLATH, SEXTON & THE ART OF CONFESSION

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Loganberry Books Annex Gallery

13015 Larchmere Blvd  Shaker Heights, OH 44120  216.795.9800

Visit CIA Visit Cleveland Institute of Art this fall to tour our state-of-the-art facilities, explore creative careers, and all that University Circle offers.

Fall Open House Sat Sep 29


Portfolio Day CLE Sat Nov 10

2018 Faculty Exhibition through Oct 7

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Hands on

Matthew Sweeney builds an artistic career Story by Carlo Wolff | Photography by Michael C. Butz

Matthew Sweeney inside his third-floor studio at 78th Street Studios in Cleveland’s DetroitShoreway neighborhood.

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atthew Sweeney draws large pictures of hands with a soft pencil, solo portraits that constitute what he calls a “history of the skin.” He exhibits these drawings in places such as the Trudy Wiesenberger Gallery at the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in University Circle and American Greetings in Westlake. He also creates public murals, like one of a couple blissfully floating that he did for LAND Studio on a Gordon Square Arts District building around the corner from his shared third-floor workspace at 78th Street Studios.

The hands are special, however. Sweeney draws them with such detail they bid to tell the history – and topography – of the world. While hands have preoccupied him since he became a father, Sweeney recently has shifted focus to “The Artfart Book of Arts,” a children’s book he plans to publish himself. It allots his art and words to artistic fields like animation, creating storyboards, becoming a medical illustrator or comic book illustrator. The idea is to popularize a career in the arts – and reduce the anxiety that can accompany that quest. The 31-year-old Cleveland Institute of Art graduate is certainly busy, with a growing family, a growing reputation and his children’s book near completion. Sweeney is well into “Life After the Fire.” BUILDING FRESH Sweeney and his wife, Christa, moved to Lakewood after their home in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood went up in flames in September 2015. The two have been an item since they were 12. Their memorabilia – along with his art, files, computers and hard drives – were destroyed. That fire changed his life, effectively forcing him to reinvent himself. He, Christa and his brother John had bought the building, which included two storefronts with two apartments above. He and Christa were living in one of the residences when fire broke out in a vacant building next door. It was 3 in the morning, the dog was going crazy and they shushed her, Sweeney recalls. Then Christa said she smelled something; Sweeney assumed he’d left the stove on, but when he ran into the kitchen, he says, “I could see 30-foot flames coming off our neighbor’s building.” “By the time I ran back to the bedroom and told my wife, ‘there’s a fire,’ you could barely see in the place. I opened the apartment door and black smoke filled it immediately. I grabbed the dog; I think all I had on was pajama pants and I locked the door behind me just in case.” Firefighters couldn’t save their home. Sweeney and Christa, who was six months pregnant at the time, got family help for a while, bought their house in Lakewood, and Sweeney began to rebuild. He also began working out of the 78th Street Studios space he shares with Peter Larson, Jon Kvassay and Simon Brubaker.


“Brother” by Matthew Sweeney (2016), 30 x 44 inches, graphite on paper. Image courtesy of the artist. After the initial shock passed, Sweeney realized losing his work and materials was one thing but losing family mementoes was another. “I don’t think there’s any trace of me before 2015,” he says ruefully. At the same time, a clean slate meant opportunity. “I don’t think anyone looks at their old artwork and is really excited about it,” he says, “and it was kind of nice having a fresh start, in some way.” Still, losing sketch books dating back to elementary school, where art first spoke to him, was painful, especially since art got him through primary school in Fairview Park, high school in Strongsville and a year-and-a-half of drawing and psychology courses at Cuyahoga Community College. BREAKTHROUGHS REQUIRE WORK Sweeney recalls checking out a car magazine from the library in high school and trying to draw the cover, a girl standing next to a car. He had to return the magazine before he

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Above: The mural Sweeney painted for LAND studio can be found on the west-facing wall of Banter, a restaurant that specializes in gourmet house-made sausages and Quebec-style poutine at 7320 Detroit Ave., Cleveland. Below: “Red Nose” by Matthew Sweeney (2017), 16 x 20 inches, oil on wood. Image courtesy of the artist. was finished, but the image stuck in his head and he knew just how he wanted the drawing to look. “I remember drawing and drawing because I knew what it looked like and thought, ‘if I could just build off my memory,’ you know? So, I just kept on, and I’d make mistakes and I’d keep erasing and keep going, and finally I had this image,” he says. “And it clicked that it was, like, (I could create) anything I could imagine as long as I was willing to erase, refine, erase and refine. It’s like a superpower. I feel like anyone can do it. It’s just that you have to have the love to push you far enough to refine and redo.” It’s about “whether or not you have passion deep enough to keep on trying, to keep on fixing those mistakes,” he adds. The educational process was never that easy for him, Sweeney says. Fortunately, Dominic Scibilia, who retired in 2015 as chair of the illustration department at the Cleveland Institute of Art, put him on the artistic path. His parents invited Scibilia to the Sweeney home before Sweeney entered CIA. “He brought his portfolio and I was, like, ‘I’m sold,’” Sweeney recalls. Did he want to go to CIA? “Someone told me they didn’t know if I had the work ethic to do it, and right then, I was, like, ‘All right,’” he says. The challenge motivated him, and in 2012, he earned his bachelor’s degree in fine art. Art remains an indispensable part of his life. “If I don’t create over a certain period of time, I get depressed,” Sweeney says. “I love everything from going to the store to feeling the paper and making sure it’s perfect. If I walk into an art store, there’s a chance I walk out with clay or cop-

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2018 – 2019 THEATER SEASON Subscriptions on sale now | Individual tickets on sale August 1, 2018

Sep 14 - Oct 7, 2018 | Oct 5 - Nov 4, 2018

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Fall 2018 | Canvas | 27

per plate when I have no business doing that. The motivation is just there; I love every bit of it. Obviously, there are days where you’re, like, ‘Wow, this is going to be rough.’ But as soon as I grab the pencil and make the first stroke, I just get lost.” His two-dimensional art is “narrative realism,” he says. It might mean telling a story or communicating an emotion “based off that story or that moment in my life.” And whether his work is graphite or the gold leaf of his more abstract hand portraits, working the image to the core, the drilling down, is key. Zero in on the nails or the knuckles of a Sweeney hand drawing and the lines draw you in. They evoke mini-canyons so fine and deep you wish you could see them from the side; their two dimensions strain to be three. ON HANDS “I have always been interested in hands,” says Sweeney, who reserves color for his remarkably romantic and suggestive portrait work. “I can remember looking at paintings when I was younger and looking at hands and realizing how expressive they could be. Whether it’s just through color or pose, they can tell a story on their own. When we were at the old building, I started drawing this large hand, and I remember sleeping at night and thinking, ‘Tomorrow, I’m going to draw.’ And I started off with my own hand and holding objects and doing different poses. Standing back from it, I thought it made an impact, so I wanted to keep pushing it.” He soon realized he didn’t need to hold anything or otherwise “be expressive,” he says. The hand can lay flat. Sweeney’s hands are still and palms-down. Hands are particularly expressive because “they’re our own tools that you can’t hide. It’s like what they say about staring into someone’s eyes, you can’t hide that story. It’s the same thing with hands; I’ve done a carpenter’s hand, and immediately you can see the structure of their hand is different from someone who types.” When he was growing up, he would visit his family’s construction-rental company toward the end of the day, when workers would come in and he could see “who was actually doing the concrete and who was in charge of the operation.” He began with himself and his sons, then tried to find people with a story. There’s the hand of his brother, the one with tattoos on his fingers; so many stories. The impetus for his exhibit at the Trudy Wiesenberger Gallery, which ended July 11, was a minor operation for his son, Levi, in December 2016 in which the child had to be put under anesthesia. (The Sweeneys now have two children: Levi, 2, and Roman, an infant.) Even though the risk was minuscule, Sweeney says, the procedure conjured the notion that life often is in a surgeon’s hands. Where carpenters’ hands clearly show what they do, what a surgeon’s hands do might be harder to tell. “It probably wouldn’t be obvious at all,” Sweeney says. “I think, as a viewer of the art, you might look at it and it may not be obvious; it doesn’t have rings on it, no tattoos. And then once you read about them, that they’re surgeon’s hands, I think that impact would be big.” “We host approximately six exhibitions per year, many of which have a medical theme or inspiration,” says Thomas Huck, art curator for University Hospitals. “This is what attracted me to Matt’s work, along with his personal story and connection to the physicians at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

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Above: “Trust” by Matthew Sweeney (2017), 30 x 44 inches, graphite on paper. Below: “Anna” by Matthew Sweeney (2018), 30 x 44 inches, graphite on paper. Images courtesy of the artist.


Creativity Takes Center Stage at Hawken Given that Hawken School has always been a haven for creative minds, it’s no surprise that opportunities for students to participate in the arts abound. While many other schools are forced to cut funding for the arts, Hawken’s programming continues to grow and thrive, enabling students to participate at various levels no matter what their age or experience. A designated arts wing on Hawken’s Lower and Middle School campus featuring four classrooms designed for exploration, creation and performance represents a physical manifestation of Hawken’s commitment to the arts. Beginning in early childhood, music educators work with students to reinforce a love of music and to provide a basis for the development of musical concepts and skills. In third grade, students are introduced to the soprano recorder; in fourth and fifth grade, students select a string, woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument for musical study; and from third through fifth grade, students can opt to participate in Lower School Choir, which presents an annual musical production. In the Middle School, chorus, strings and band are offered as part of the curriculum. Students also have the opportunity to be part of the Jr. Hawken Players’ Society through participation in the annual musical either on stage, behind-the-scenes, or in the pit orchestra.

build and hone their skills. Over the last three years, Hawken has brought home three Playhouse Square Dazzle Awards for best technical execution, best musical, and best supporting actress.

Hawken School also places great value on the visual arts, often in collaboration with the performing arts department. An annual Early Childhood Art Show, a Visiting Artists Program, the annual Evening of Art and Music, the creation of artwork to accompany the fourth and fifth grade musical, middle school set design, and the Biomimicry Art and Science Forum mark just a number of the many highlights of visual arts programming on Hawken’s Lyndhurst campus. Visual Arts offerings for Upper School students include Art Fundamentals, Art and Design Principles, Graphic Design, Drawing and Painting, History of Western Art, Photography, Sculpture, Ceramics, AP Studio Art, Animation, as well as several advanced courses in these subjects.

At Hawken’s Upper School, students can select from a wide variety of music, dance and theater courses including Acting Fundamentals, Advanced Acting, Chorale, Concert Band, Creative Movement, Jazz Band, Global Rhythms, Stage Craft and String Ensemble. Outside of the academic day, small performing groups like Rockapella and Mariachi Band provide additional opportunities for students interested in musical performance. One of the most popular clubs at Hawken is The Hawken Players’ Society (HPS), which produces at least one play and one musical each year. Open to all students regardless of prior experience, HPS productions are largely student-driven. Under the guidance of adult mentors, students are given the latitude, tools and responsibility to take full ownership of their role as an artist, whether in set design and construction; props, costumes or makeup; marketing and graphic design; acting, singing, dancing; and even assistant directing. Working local professionals also serve as guest teaching artists to help students

The recent opening of Stirn Hall, with its new dance studio, a Media and Communications Lab and a Fabrication Lab, has opened up a whole new world of creative, interdisciplinary possibilities. This past year, the Creative Movement class worked with Groundworks Dance Company on a collaborative project, which took students to Playhouse Square to perform. In addition, numerous classes including the Design and Engineering and Comedy classes have utilized the new spaces for creative, hands-on projects. Plans are currently in progress for an Innovation Lab on the Lyndhurst campus, where even our youngest students will be able to immerse themselves in the art of creative design. Visit to learn more about the full menu of arts options available at Hawken for 2018-2019, and join us for a Gates Mills Morning Visit for grades 9-12, on Tuesday, September 18 at 8:30 am, Lyndhurst Morning Visit, preschool - grade 8, on Tuesday, September 26 at 9:00 am or for our All School Open House on Sunday, October 21 at 1:00 pm at our Lyndhurst (preschool – grade 8) and Gates Mills (grades 9-12) campuses. Visit for more information and to RSVP.

Above: Sweeney works on a new piece, “Gold,” in his studio. Below: “Gold” (2018), 22 x 30 inches, oil and 14k gold leaf, as a finished product. Image courtesy of the artist. “The other component that prompted me to invite Matt to exhibit was his beautiful style of hyper-realism, which is seldom seen in today’s contemporary art movement. His hand drawings capture each subject’s story without the likeness of a traditional portrait, leaving the viewer to interpret the mystery and intrigue of his subjects.” One of Sweeney’s most enigmatic drawings is called “Trust.” This hand is so solid, the knuckles look like brains. At the same time, white spaces in the hand and wrist make the image liberating and ethereal. The image also suggests that, as the couple cradled by fire in Sweeney’s mural well know, hands are for holding.


• Portions of Matthew Sweeney’s series of hand portraits, “MASS,” will be on view during Third Friday, 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 17, at this 78th Street Studios space, 1305 W. 80th St., Suite 301, Cleveland.

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Gordon Square Arts District

Detroit-Shoreway Community involvement and a strong mix of visual and performing arts offerings have made this West Side neighborhood a place to be By Alyssa Schmitt


leveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood has a history of harnessing creativity. It once was home to American Greetings’ creative studios, and before that, the innovators at Baker Motor Vehicle Company manufactured turn-ofthe-20th-century electric cars there. That tradition continues today, most recognizably in the form of visual and performance arts. The Gordon Square Arts District figures prominently in the creative endeavors of Detroit-Shoreway, the boundaries of which are set by Lake Erie and Clark Avenue to the north and south and by West 45th and West 85th streets to the east and west. The neighborhood is also home to several theaters and recently served as a blank canvas for LAND studio-selected

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muralists. The artistic vibes flowing through the streets and those institutions’ philosophy of making art accessible have made Detroit-Shoreway one of the region’s most exciting artistic destinations. BUILDING THE FRAMEWORK Gordon Square Arts District started out as a capital campaign over a decade ago to renovate area buildings. Once the campaign was over, its mission shifted to help ensure the buildings could sustain the arts, says Carrie Carpenter, the district’s executive director and president. “(We) raised the money that built and renovated Cleveland Public Theatre, the Capitol Theatre and Near West Theatre,”

she says. “But from there, we kind of enhanced our mission to focus on the sustainability of arts in the neighborhood, whether it’s our arts institutions and helping those buildings thrive, or now, we also have a focus on supporting individual artists.” While Gordon Square has long supported established artists through events like 78th Street Studios’ Third Fridays, during which visitors can peruse more than 60 studios, galleries and shops, it’s beginning to focus on lesser known artists through the recently created Gordon Square Art Space. The gallery is in a high foot-traffic area, near Cleveland Cinemas’ Capitol Theatre entrance, and when not hosting an exhibition, the space can be used for classes or programs. At 300 square feet, the space is relatively small, but Carpenter says it’s the right size for beginning artists. “It’s the perfect size though for an up-and-coming artist to have their first solo show because it doesn’t take that much to fill it,” she says. “Our idea is to highlight these local artists. Sometimes it’s a show of their art but it’s also kind of about that community programing and that community connection.” DIVERSIFYING THE STAGE Raymond Bobgan, Cleveland Public Theatre’s executive artistic director, credits that early capital campaign with helping create a more financially diverse Detroit-Shoreway, offering a little something for everyone who visits. “Through renovating these properties and the street front, we just created this gravity that began to attract lots of other businesses, so the experience of Gordon Square now is not just these theaters,” he says. “It’s all these other things that were attracted to the area because of the renovation.” Coupled with the neighborhood’s cultural diversity, there’s a built-in dynamic that allows Detroit-Shoreway theaters – a group that also includes Blank Canvas Theatre, Maelstrom Col-

Gordon Square Arts District Above: Gordon Square Arts Districts’ recently installed Gordon Square Art Space, where emerging artists can display their work in a 300-square-foot studio. Below: “Untitled” by Ryan Jaenke on the western wall of the Butcher Building. Opposite page: Lisa Quine’s “Dream Big” mural on the side of a building at 6805 Detroit Ave.

Gordon Square Arts District


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Steve Wagner / Cleveland Public Theatre From left, Sarah Moore, Faye Hargate, Darius Stubbs, Raymond Bobgan, Adam Seeholzer and Holly Holsinger perform in Cleveland Public Theatre’s “Red Ash Mosaic.” WATCH IT WEDNESDAYS

When 78th Street Studios opens its doors for its popular Third Friday event, artists like Susie Frazier often are asked where their work is created or what the creative process is behind their art. It then dawned on Frazier that people wanted to see the art-making process — not just the finished product, as is the case during Third Fridays. This realization led to Watch It Wednesdays, a monthly event – held the first Wednesday of every month – during which art-making is the main attraction. Visitors enjoy a front-row experience in the workspaces of 78th Street Studios artists. They can witness the creative process unfold before them and interact with the artists, asking questions about techniques related to a variety of media, like oil painting, sculpture and mixed media. “There’s no better way to get a taste of the grassroots cultural scene than from through the eyes and hands of the artists who work here,” Frazier says. “Watch It Wednesdays is a unique opportunity to step into our world and hang out with some of Cleveland’s most creative people for the night.” The event is 5 to 8 p.m. every first Wednesday of the month at 78th Street Studios, 1300 W. 78th St. in Cleveland. Tickets are $15 online at or $20 at the door. Each ticket includes an artist-made gift and a free beverage. – Alyssa Schmitt

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laborative Arts (formerly Theater Ninjas), Near West Theatre and Talespinner Children’s Theatre – to stage a wide range of shows. To that point, Cleveland Public Theatre has developed a reputation for forward-thinking, sometimes challenging productions and engaging, community-oriented programming. “Cleveland Public Theatre produces an incredible array of programming that is quite diverse,” Bobgan says. “Majority of our work is from non-white artists, which is pretty unheard of in the country, except for (in) theaters of color. ... Over 50 percent of our playwrights are women, which is not an industry norm at all. (It’s) work that you wouldn’t really see anywhere else in Cleveland.” When Cleveland Public Theatre takes on a production, it looks for a few different qualities, says Caitlin Lewins, the theater’s director of audience engagement and media relations. It needs to be outside the mainstream, providing a show nobody else in Northeast would do, while incorporating a social justice element. “CPT’s mission is to raise consciousness and nurture compassion through groundbreaking performances and life changing programs, and so the art we put on the stages is usually asking the audience to allow it to open their minds a bit,” she says. LOOKING LIKE AN ARTS DISTRICT As the insides of Detroit-Shoreway buildings came to life with art, the outsides failed to look the part. Enter LAND studio, a firm responsible for a good deal of public art in downtown Cleveland, and via its INTER|URBAN partnership, along public transportation routes. Sparked by an idea from Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone and with support from the Gordon Square Arts District,

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Gordon Square Arts District Above: Dante Rodriguez in front of his “La Ofrenda De Xochipilli” on Astoria Café. Below: Papo Ruiz y la Dulzura de la Salsa performing free salsa music in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood during Gordon Square Arts District’s Hip 2B Square. LAND studio was enlisted to spruce up the neighborhood’s image by painting murals. “You can really impact a neighborhood in a quick way with murals, as long as there are buildings around that have walls that are ready,” says Erin Guido, LAND studio project manager. In early 2017, the studio started gathering artists and matching them with building and business owners. By May of this year, eight murals had gone up along Detroit Avenue, between West 52nd and West 74th streets. “Once all the walls we had commissioned for were matched with an artist, the artist met with the business owner or building owner to talk through potential themes or what the building owner liked about their artwork, and (then) the artist developed

a couple of concepts for the wall,” Guido says. “It was definitely artist-driven. We had to make it clear it couldn’t be an advertisement for the business. ... But there was definitely a collaboration in terms of overall theme and aesthetic.” The Northeast Ohio artists involved were Eileen Dorsey (with Chicago-based graffiti artist Ish Muhammad), Ryan Jaenke, Lisa Quine, Dante Rodriguez, Darius Steward, Matthew Sweeney and Justin Michael Will. Baltimore artist duo Jessie and Katey (Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn) also contributed. In addition to enhancing the neighborhood’s outward appearance, the mural project helped the participating artists make the jump from canvases to public spaces, and in the process, make art more accessible to neighborhood residents and visitors.

Gordon Square Arts District

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In the Circle you are


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Stage Listings

Presented by

Cleveland Eats | Sept. 15, 2018 | Downtown Cleveland |

THEATERS BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS 17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood P: 216-521-2540 W: Beck Center for the Arts is more than a nonprofit organization that combines professional theater with arts education. We create art experiences. We are committed to creating art experiences as individual as the people we serve with eclectic performances to suit many tastes, education opportunities for all ages and abilities, community outreach programs and free art exhibitions.

CLAGUE PLAYHOUSE 1371 Clague Road, Westlake P: 440-331-0403 W: FB: We are delighted to begin our 91st season of the arts, including 50 years in Walter Clague’s Barn. Throughout the season, we’ll have plenty planned! We thank every patron, volunteer, actor, designer, director, and other staff and crew for keeping the Westlake community vibrant with the arts. Tickets available online at

2018-19 SEASON • Sept. 14 to Oct. 7, 2018: “An Act of God” • Oct. 5 to Nov. 4: “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” • Dec. 7 to Jan. 6, 2019: “Shrek The Musical” • Feb. 8 to 24: “Once” • March 15 to April 14: “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” • May 31 to June 30: “King Lear” • July 12 to Aug. 11: “Matilda The Musical”

2018-19 SEASON • Sept. 14 to Oct. 7, 2018: “The Murder Room” • Nov. 9 to Dec. 9: “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!)” • Jan. 11 to Feb. 3, 2019: “Other Desert Cities” • March 8-31: “SUDS: The Rocking 60’s Musical Soap Opera” • May 3-26: “Summerland”

CESEAR’S FORUM 2796 Tinkers Lane, Twinsburg Kennedy’s Down Under, 1501 Euclid Ave., Cleveland P: 330-405-3045 W:

CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE 1901 E. 13th St., Cleveland P: 216-241-6000 (box office) W: FB:

Cesear’s Forum will present Lanford Wilson’s “The Great Nebula in Orion” and Greg Cesear’s “Plath, Sexton and the Art of Confession,” two one-act plays of chance meeting and “catch-up” conversation between two women. They will be presented at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays with two Sunday performances at 3 p.m. Oct. 7 and Oct. 14, all at Kennedy’s Down Under.

2018-19 SEASON • Sept. 21 to Oct 27: “The Great Nebula in Orion” • Sept. 21 to Oct 27: “Plath, Sexton and the Art of Confession”

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Seize the Play at CPH: “The Woman in Black,” a bone-chilling thriller; the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Sweat”; a visceral telling of the Greek story, “An Iliad”; a rollicking new comedy, “Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood”; a world premiere comedy, “Tiny Houses”; and a look over the fence -- the neighbor’s fence – in “Native Gardens.”

2018-19 SEASON • Sept. 15 to Oct. 7, 2018: “Susan Hill’s The Woman In Black” • Oct. 13 to Nov. 4: “Sweat” • Nov. 23 to Dec. 23: “A Christmas Story” • Jan. 12 to Feb. 10, 2019: “An Iliad” • Feb. 2-24: “Ken Ludwig’s Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood” • March 23 to April 14: “Tiny Houses” • April 27 to May 19: “Native Gardens”

Listings provided by advertisers.

Stage Listings DOBAMA THEATRE 2340 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights P: 216-932-3396 W: FB: Dobama Theatre’s mission is to premiere the best contemporary plays by established and emerging playwrights in professional productions of the highest quality. Through educational and outreach programming, Dobama Theatre nurtures the development of theater artists and builds new audiences for the arts while provoking an examination of our contemporary world.

2018-19 SEASON • Sept. 7-30, 2018: “Sunset Baby” • Oct. 19 to Nov. 11: “John” • Nov. 30 to Dec. 30: “Ella Enchanted: The Musical” • Jan. 25 to Feb. 17, 2019: “Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.” • March 8-31: “The Nether” • April 26 to May 26: “This” STOCKER ARTS CENTER OF LORAIN COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE 1005 North Abbe Road, Elyria P: 440-366-4040 W:

A wealth of theaters call Northeast Ohio home. Canvas is happy to encourage readers to explore what the region has to offer by providing the following list of organizations.


1305 W. 80th St., Suite 211, Cleveland P: 440-941-0458 W:


40 River St., Chagrin Falls P: 440-247-8955 W:


6415 Detroit Ave., Cleveland P: 216-631-2727 W:

Stocker Arts Center, located on the campus of Lorain County Community College, your community arts center, presents touring national and international musical theatre and theatre productions, dance companies, and musicians, a Student Matinee series, a Studio Sessions series, and a Film series, as well as seven annual visual arts exhibitions.


2018-19 PERFORMING ARTISTS SERIES • Sept. 11, 2018: “Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock & Roll” • Nov. 18: “The Midtown Men” • Nov. 27: “Lucky Chops” • April 3, 2019: “Raul Midón and Mandy Harvey in Concert” • April 24: “Masters of Soul” • May 8: “Rockapella”

2438 Scranton Road, Cleveland P: 216-687-0074 W:

DANCE GROUNDWORKS DANCETHEATER 13215 Shaker Square, Suite 102, Cleveland P: 216-751-0088 W: GroundWorks DanceTheater is a contemporary dance company that embraces risk and imagination. The company, a leader in engaging, educating and enlivening the Northeast Ohio arts scene, celebrates its 20th anniversary season. Join them for their Fall Dance Series at the Allen Theatre on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

2018-19 SEASON • Aug. 3-4, 2018: “Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival” • Oct. 26-27: “Fall Dance Series” • Nov. 8-11: “Akron Art Museum”

Listings provided by advertisers.


732 W. Exchange St., Akron P: 330-434-7741 W:



2067 East 14th St., Cleveland P: 216-241-6000 W:


P: (216) 393-PLAY W:


2355 E. 89th St., Cleveland P: 216-795-7070 W:


5403 Detroit Ave.,Cleveland P: 440-941-1482 W:


1857 S. Green Road, S. Euclid P: 216-771-5862 W:


5755 Granger Road, #830, Independence P: 216-860-1518 W:


6702 Detroit Ave., Cleveland P: 216-961-6391 W:


1835 Merriman Road, Akron P: 330-962-5547 W:


103 S. High St., Akron P: 330-374-7574 W:


1501 Euclid Ave., Cleveland P: 216-241-6000, 216-771-4444 W:

PLAYWRIGHTS LOCAL 397 E. 156th St., Cleveland P: 216-302-8856 W:


3143 O’Neil Road, Cuya. Falls P: 330-672-3884 W:


5209 Detroit Ave., Cleveland P: 216-264-9680 W:


1301 Weathervane Lane, Akron P: 330-836-2626 W:

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Sixth City improv

Cleveland’s evolving improv comedy scene is rich in history and full of talent but less cohesive than those of Chicago and other cities Story by Bob Abelman and Zach Bartz Photography by Michael C. Butz

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ew performance arts require less than improvisational theater. There’s no need for a script or score. There’s no need for staging. There is no need for a stage. All that is required is an audience prompt (“Can someone shout out the name of an exotic location?”), maybe a bentwood chair or two in a performance space and a corps of quick-witted performers with a unique skill set. They must possess an all-consuming penchant for creative risk-taking, no fear of failing, and the ability to devise and deliver free-association comedy so ephemeral that it will be witnessed once and never again. Improv, as an art form, has roots that date back to 16th century commedia dell’arte, ties to 19th century vaudeville, burlesque and cabaret, and a shared bloodline with modern day stand-up and sketch comedy. But while stand-up and sketch comedy are preconceived, well-rehearsed and delivered to appear spontaneous, improv consists of extemporaneous discoveries, acted-on impulses and blind trust in fellow players. Stand-up and sketch comedy are based on a set routine of jokes, stories and short scripted vignettes. Improv is in-the-moment ingenuity – and there is nothing routine about it. The Comedy Hall of Fame and Hollywood’s Friars Club memorialize the Grand Masters of stand-up and sketch comedy. Improv artists? Not so much. ‘CLEVELAND FORM’ CONCEPTION In Cleveland, clubs featuring standup comedians and sketch comedy troupes became popular in the 1980s, inspired largely by the proliferation of cable comedy shows like “An Evening at the Improv” on the then-new Arts & Entertainment (A&E) network. Hilarities, now on East Fourth Street in the heart of downtown Cleveland, opened in Cuyahoga Falls in 1985. The Improv, currently situated on the west bank of the Flats and which – ironically – offers no improv, opened in 1989. The emergence of Cleveland’s improvisational theater scene – like the art form itself – was more fleeting, nomadic and in the moment, with some moments more formidable than others. “Yet it gave birth to a style of performance art that is distinctively its own, referred to as the ‘Cleveland Form,’”


says Jeff Blanchard, an early improv pioneer and founder of Cleveland’s longest running improvisational comedy troupe, Something Dada. Improv typically comes in two shapes and sizes. Short-form – particularly popular in New York City – has the audience coming up with a suggestion to be acted upon as its own little three- or four-minute piece. An improv evening of shortform consists of a series of prompts and responses, improv games and perhaps improv competitions among the players. Long-form was developed in Chicago and allows the performers to add structures that tie together multiple scenes so an entire show can unfold from an initial prompt.

The style of improv that developed in Cleveland in the 1980s was the result of New York-based improv performer Marc Moritz moving back to Cleveland to start a troupe called Giant Portions. “There was really no one doing improv here,” he recalls. “It was a vacuum.” At auditions, Moritz found just a handful of improv performers, who had received their training in Chicago, and professional actors who had no improv training whatsoever. The amalgamated “Cleveland Form” incorporated the intelligence and spontaneity of New York’s short-form familiar to Moritz, the storytelling structure of Chicago’s long-form familiar to some

Above: From left, Lindsey Brenkus, Lisa Perrin and Carolyn Chan perform as part of Asking for a Friend at Mahall’s in Lakewood. Opposite page: From left, Abby Darin, Al Mothersbaugh, Caleigh Desko and Robert Williams perform as part of Point of No Return at Quirk Cultural Center in Cuyahoga Falls.

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In the foreground, Hannah Pempus, Aziz Ghrabat and Joe Lewis perform as part of Rare Form at Mahall’s in Lakewood. Rare Form members enjoying the performance in the background are, from left, Michael Rajko, Matt Lenczewski, Nick Smith, Ryan Devitt Tobbe, Joe Alicea and John Heus. of the company’s members and a very prominent theatrical sensibility common to everyone in the troupe. “Music was an integral part of the structure of the work,” says Mike Bloom, who served as musical director/accompanist for Giant Portions. “Each scene was made up of beats, harmonies between and among the actors, and occasionally, dissonances. Improv, at its core, is very musical.” “One of our dilemmas early on was finding a rehearsal space,” recalls Giant Portions alum Tom Fahey. “I remember us using the free clinic after hours for a while. Our first gig was at Temple Emanu El (in Orange).” “We played anywhere that would have us,” adds fellow improv artist Larry Bucklan, “and soon built quite a loyal following, playing to full houses.” SECOND FIDDLE TO CHICAGO’S SECOND CITY The popularity of contemporary improv as a performing art can be traced to 1955 when Paul Sills, a few University of Chicago classmates and David Shepherd formed an innovative, improv-based cabaret theater troupe called Compass Theatre. Sills was the son of director Viola Spolin, who created pioneering improvisational techniques to help actors maintain focus, increase mental agility and access to emotion, stay in the moment and really listen to their fellow actors. Shepherd was an East Coast avant-garde theater performer who was hitchhiking to Cleveland but decided to stay in the car until Chicago. In 1959, members of Compass Theatre became interested in creating a company devoted exclusively to satirical sketch com-

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edy and improvisation. They formed The Second City, named after the title of a self-deprecating article about Chicago by A. J. Liebling that appeared in The New Yorker. Second City went on to become the world’s premier comedy club, shortform improv and sketch comedy theater and school of improvisation. In the 1970s and 1980s, Second City attempted to capitalize on the fame of notable alumni who launched NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” – namely Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner – by franchising its product. A satellite Second City troupe and training center that offered classes in its trademark improv and performance styles opened for business in Toronto. Another opened in Los Angeles and additional franchises started popping up across the country. Because of mismanagement, the commercialization of what made Second City so edgy and innovative, and the increased offering of scripted scenes over improv, the franchises quickly closed in Detroit, New York, Las Vegas, on the Santa Monica Pier, and in 2002, on East 14th Street in downtown Cleveland. “There was a small wave of Cleveland improv with Giant Portions, and on its heels, Something Dada, which operated in the basement of the Bradley Building in the Warehouse District,” recalls comedian/improv artist Deena Nyer Mendlowitz, who was trained at Chicago’s Second City and Annoyance Theater and currently hosts a monthly talk/improv show at Bar Louie in downtown Cleveland. “But I think Second City coming to Cleveland was when improv began to gain steam.” Fred Gloor, a Giant Portions alum, agrees: “For a while, Second City’s arrival really ramped up the scene” as additional

troupes such as Comicaze Improv, SPOT and Title TBD! – an improv troupe that presented an hour-long musical based on an audience suggestion – started to surface. “When Second City Cleveland closed up shop and left town two years after arriving, several local people who had hoped to go on to ‘Saturday Night Live’ were eventually absorbed into our group, says Bob Ellis, an original member of Something Dada. “Cleveland improv was made much stronger by the trained players Second City left in its wake.” But many local improv troupes quickly disbanded as an increasingly popular downtown theater scene thinned out improv audiences and made it difficult to find performance venues. “Many artists – including (former Giant Portions members) Tom Fahey, Ken Armour, Sheila Heyman and I – left town and found work at the Comedy Warehouse nightclub at Disney World (which closed along with much of Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island in 2008),” recalls Larry Bucklan. “Others went to Chicago.” TODAY’S IMPROV SCENE Chicago improv is experiencing its largest and most innovative boom yet. The powerhouse institutions have all added stages and expanded their training centers, and much like these theaters, comedy collectives are continuing to spin off and create their own spaces. The Revival has brought improv back to Hyde Park, the birthplace of The Compass. Chemically Imbalanced and The Crowd have both created their own communities and access to workshops and stage time. And troupes are challenging what constitutes a performance space by using tech and etiquette to transform garages, museums, lofts, and even spaces at The iO Theater, Annoyance and The Second City Training Center into viable stages. “We’re obviously far behind Chicago, where the opportunities to perform and train are plentiful and there are larger audiences,” says James Catullo, a founding member of Crooked River Comedy, one of Cleveland’s newest improv troupes, and coordinator of This Improvised Life, a monthly performance at the Happy Dog at The Euclid Tavern in Cleveland. “And we’re behind places like Pittsburgh and Detroit that have multiple dedicated theaters and more vibrant, diverse scenes.” Crooked River Comedy artistic director Patrick French, who spent 15 years in Boston, describes its comedy scene as “very established, focusing on experimental, highly artistic performance.” “Cities like Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Austin (Texas) also have thriving improv scenes,” suggests Tracy Cubbal, whose PG-13-oriented Point of No Return troupe has been operating out of the Quirk Cultural Center in Cuyahoga Falls for the past 16 years. But there is also a thriving alt-comedy scene in Cleveland, comprised mostly of nomadic independent improv artists who do pop-up performances throughout the area. “Cleveland has a nice little improv scene,” observes Gloor, “with quite a few talented people doing the work.” They include: • Angry Ladies of Improv: Denise Abboud, Brenna MC, Marjorie Preston and Katie White-Sonby started working together in 2010 after a few successful female-only sets at the weekly Cleveland Improv Jam. The troupe debuted at the Big Dog Theater in Cleveland Heights and has played at the Oberlin College Improv Con-


In the foreground, from top, Ruben Ryan and Matt Dolan perform as part of Something Dada at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood. Something Dada members enjoying the performance in the background are, from left, Bobby Urse, Britta Will, Jeanette Stinger, Denise Abboud, Mike Herzog and Jon Knight. ference, Columbus Unscripted Improv Festival and Cleveland Public Theater’s Pandemonium fundraiser and works regularly at La Maison Palette Cafe in Lakewood. Their long-form performances explore a single suggestion in a 25-minute set and is inspired by Chicago’s pH productions, The Annoyance Theatre and The Second City. • Asking for a Friend: Asking for a Friend opens its shows with a reading from one of its members’ real childhood diaries and performs a long-form set based on the diary entry. The troupe’s formation sounds as if it came out of one of those diary entries. Lindsey Brenkus and Lisa Perrin were performing in one troupe while Carolyn Chan and Rissa Joyce were part of another. “Lisa and Lindsey approached us after a show to tell us that they enjoyed our performance,” says Joyce, “but they got so nervous they ran away before we could respond to the compliment. We were so impressed with them that we were deliberately organizing shows we thought they might attend in the hope of approaching them to form a troupe.” They frequently perform at the Magalen art space in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood. • Casually Late Stampede: Operating out of the Mayfield Village Civic Center, Casually Late Stampede offers high-energy short-form that often brings audience members on stage to heighten the show’s atmosphere and risk factor. The current

Fall 2018 | Canvas | 43

Windy City and build a strong sense of community. This means partnering and sharing space with museums, galleries and music venues, finding a way into music showcases and stand-up shows, and finding audiences where they gather – breweries and coffee shops – rather than relying on audiences finding them. And it includes having independent improv troupes shortening their sets and inviting a variety of other improv artists to join in on an evening’s comedy lineup. Creative risk-taking defines the art form. Now it can work as a viable business model. Above: From left, Kyle Wertz, Joe Quinn, Sam Dee, Erin McHugh, Scott Shepard and Mike Frye perform as part of Casually Late Stampede at Mahall’s in Lakewood. Below: From left, Dionne Atchison, James Catullo, Deena Nyer Mendlowitz and Joe Lewis perform at This Improvised Life, an event held every third Wednesday at Happy Dog at The Euclid Tavern in Cleveland.

Zach Bartz is an improvisational performer, teacher and producer in Chicago and the co-founder of Shithole, an improv comedy collective.


Learn more about some of Northeast Ohio’s improv troupes. • Angry Ladies of Improv: For updates about future shows and more, visit • Asking for a Friend: For updates about future shows and more, visit • Casually Late Stampede: For updates about future shows and more, visit • Crooked River Comedy: “This Improvised Life” is an improv/storytelling show that features Crooked River Comedy members and takes place the third Wednesday of the month at Happy Dog at The Euclid Tavern, 11625 Euclid Ave., Cleveland. For more, visit troupe consists of Lindsey Brenkus, Sam Dee, Mike Frye, Erin Mchugh, Joe Quinn, Scott Shepard and Kyle Wertz. • Rare Form: The company was put together by the late Jimmy Green, a former Something Dada member, and started performing together in 2014. The troupe consists of 16 members who rotate through performances typically taking place at the Mayfield Village Civic Center and the Hofbrauhaus House’s Hermit Club in downtown Cleveland. “We are determined to revive Cleveland’s passion for improv,” says member Nick Smith, “by performing fast-paced short-form for nonstop 90-minute sets.”

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• Something Dada: Something Dada formed in October of 1994, taking its name from the witty and absurd Dada art movement of the early 1900s. Since its beginnings, Something Dada has challenged the concepts of theater and comedy to present an eclectic and furiously paced “in your face” improv experience that is structured completely on audience suggestions. The troupe operates out of the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood. If this new wave of improv is to survive and keep the amalgamated “Cleveland Form” alive, local artists will need to once again follow the lead of the

• Point of No Return: Upcoming performances scheduled for Aug. 18, Sept. 1, Sept. 15, Oct. 6, Oct. 20, Nov. 3, Dec. 1 and Dec. 15 at Quirk Cultural Center, 1201 Grant Ave., Cuyahoga Falls. For more, visit • Rare Form: For updates about future performances and more, visit • Something Dada: Upcoming performances are scheduled for Aug. 4, Aug. 18 and Aug. 25 at the Beck Center for the Arts, 17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood. For updates and more, visit


present L. Cohen

M. Doris

A. Gecht

A. Goldhammer D. Gottesman A. Hirsh

A. Marks

D. Paris

R. Weinberg M. Yasinow

K. Spiegler

A. Zelman






Contact Gina Lloyd at 216-342-5196 or for sponsorship opportunities

Connect with Don’t miss a chance to be included in an upcoming issue of Canvas! In 2018, we’re highlighting the region’s dynamic visual arts and performing arts scenes and provide readers across Northeast Ohio with all they need to know to get the most out of what the region’s arts institutions have to offer.

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NORTHEAST OHIO | arts | music | performance

Fall 2018

NORTHEAST OHIO | arts | music | performance

Spring 2018

NORTHEAST OHIO | arts | music | performance

Winter 2017


#ME TOO Gender parity on and behind Cleveland stages


Emerging artists in Northeast Ohio

the familiar Lane Cooper distorts everyday imagery,

transforming the ubiquitous into the experiential


Fall 2018 | Canvas | 45

CURATOR CORNER “Stag at Sharkey’s” by George Bellows

By Becky Raspe Boxing fans know well the sport’s “sweet science.” Art enthusiasts? Perhaps less so – but they certainly can appreciate the back-room bout depicted in George Bellows’ “Stag at Sharkey’s.” Part of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s permanent collection, the painting powerfully portrays the struggle between two fighters. Bellows’ artistry is masterful – or perhaps, more appropriately, a knockout. Mark Cole, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s curator of American painting and sculpture, offers a closer look. Canvas: What makes this piece noteworthy? What stands out to you and what should viewers note when they see it at the museum? Cole: This painting of a boxing bout is filled with incredible energy. Its vibrant, slashing brushwork contributes greatly to the composition’s powerful sense of movement. Canvas: What response or emotions does it evoke? Cole: When viewing the painting in person, you really get a sense of being caught up in the moment – very “you are there.” Canvas: What’s noteworthy about the materials the artist used or process he employed? Cole: Bellows painted the work using a “wet on wet” technique, whereby paint is applied quickly, often blending with

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adjacent areas of fresh paint. This accounts for a “speed blur” effect, particularly in the bloodied faces of the boxers who lunge and impact one another with tremendous force. Canvas: How does this piece fit into the artist’s larger body of work? Where was he in his career when it was created? Cole: Bellows loved sports. In fact, he lettered in basketball and baseball while attending The Ohio State University. So, perhaps not surprisingly, subjects derived from sports constitute an important part of his artistic output. This painting, by far his most famous, was made when he was just 27 years old. Tragically, he died at the premature age of 42 from complications that set in after his appendix ruptured. Canvas: What was happening in the art world – or world in general – at the time that might’ve influenced this piece? Cole: Bellows belonged to a group of New York artists interested in capturing the everyday aspects of urban working-class life. “Stag at Sharkey’s” presents a gritty “backroom” boxing match held at a local tavern where the artist liked to unwind after a long day of painting. Canvas: How might this piece have influenced or inspired other artists after they saw it? Cole: Interestingly, at the time it was made, many people considered the painting to be too vulgar and barbaric for a “proper”

work of art. It took a couple of decades for it to be routinely admired. After Bellows’ untimely death in 1925, a new generation of artists began to appreciate the bold brashness of his subject matter and style of painting. Canvas: What makes it relevant today? Cole: Although created more than a century ago, “Stag at Sharkey’s” looks as it if could have been painted yesterday. Despite the passage of time, its liveliness is undiminished. Canvas: Anything else you’d like to mention about this piece? Cole: “Stag at Sharkey’s” has even graced a U.S. postage stamp.


• Artist: George Bellows (American, 1882-1925) • Details: “Stag at Sharkey’s,” 1909, oil on canvas. Framed: 110 x 140.5 x 8.5 cm (431/4 x 555/16 x 35/16 inches); Unframed: 92 x 122.6 cm (363/16 x 481/4 inches). Image courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art. • Acquired: The Cleveland Museum of Art purchased “Stag at Sharkey’s” from the artist’s dealer in 1922. • Find it: “Stag at Sharkey’s” is part of the Hinman B. Hurlbut Collection 1133.1922 and is located in “208 American Gilded Age and Realism” at the Cleveland Museum of Art.



AKRON ART MUSEUM 1 S. High St., Akron P: 330-376-9185 W:

ALLEN MEMORIAL ART MUSEUM 87 N. Main St., Oberlin P: 440-775-8665 W:

ARTISTS ARCHIVES OF THE WESTERN RESERVE 1834 E. 123rd St., Cleveland P: 216-721-9020 W: FB: ArtistsArchivesoftheWesternReserve

The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve “Wild Orchid Tray,” is a regional museum that preserves representastoneware 10 x 13 tive bodies of work created by Ohio visual by Bette Drake. artists. Through ongoing research, exhibition and educational programs, it documents and promotes this cultural heritage for the benefit of the public. Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. THE BUTLER INSTITUTE OF AMERICAN ART 524 Wick Ave., Youngstown P: 330-743-1107 W:

CANTON MUSEUM OF ART 1001 Market Ave. N, Canton P: 330-453-7666 W:

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF CLEVELAND 3813 Euclid Ave., Cleveland P: 216-791-7114 W:

CLEVELAND BOTANICAL GARDEN 11030 East Blvd., Cleveland P: 216-721-1600 W:


East Boulevard & Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Cleveland W:

CLEVELAND HISTORY CENTER 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland P: 216-721-5722 W:

CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland P: 216-231-4600 W:

CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART 11150 East Blvd., Cleveland P: 216-421-7340 W:


The History Center in University Circle 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland P: 216-721-5722 W:

GREAT LAKES SCIENCE CENTER 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland P: 216-694-2000 W:


12316 Euclid Ave., Cleveland P: 216-421-2665 W:

KENT STATE UNIVERSITY MUSEUM Rockwell Hall, 515 Hilltop Drive, Kent P: 330-672-3450 W:


2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood P: 216-593-0575 W:

The Maltz Museum introduces visitors to the beauty and diversity of that heritage in the context of the American experience. It promotes an understanding of Jewish history, religion and culture, and builds bridges of appreciation and understanding with those of other religions, races, cultures and ethnicities. It’s an educational resource for Northeast Ohio’s Jewish and general communities. MASSILLON MUSEUM

121 Lincoln Way East, Massillon P: 330-833-4061 W: FB:

Energizing cultural excitement in Northeast Ohio, the Massillon Museum – where art “Moniker: Identity Lost and history come together – is expanding to and Found” opening feature the Paul Brown Museum, additional galleries, event space and classrooms – opening this fall! Relics & Refabs Roadshow: Aug. 25. “Art as Journal” exhibit (Laura Ruth Bidwell and Shari Wilkins) opens Sept. 22. Free admission! MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART CLEVELAND (MOCA)

11400 Euclid Ave., Cleveland P: 216-421-8671 W:

MOCA is a non-collecting museum, creating fresh experiences several times a year. On view through Sept. 30, MOCA presents the works of seven artists exploring the past, present and future of “An American City,” as part of FRONT International. Drop in tours at 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays/Sundays (free with admission). THE ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME

1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., Cleveland P: 216-781-ROCK (7625) W:

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16740 South Park Blvd., Shaker Heights P: 216-921-1201 W:

The Shaker Historical Society tells the story of Shaker Heights’ past, present and future, from the North Union Shakers to the Van Sweringens. Visit the Lissauer Art Gallery, where local artists are featured. A short walk from RTA Green Line’s Lee Road station. Wednesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m.



2550 Superior Ave., Cleveland P: 216-802-9441 W: FB:

The Cleveland Print Room wants to advance the art and appreciation of the photographic image in all its forms by providing affordable access to a community darkroom and workspace, gallery exhibitions, educational programs and collaborative outreach. THE DANCING SHEEP


12712 Larchmere Blvd., Cleveland P: 216-229-5770

38721 Mentor Ave., Suite 1, Willoughby P: 440-946-8001

The Art Gallery in Willoughby specializes in quality custom framing and exhibits original work by local artists. The Gallery features handmade jewelry, glassware and other artist-made gift items, plus a full bead shop, The Beaded Lady. ARTISANS’ CORNER GALLERY

11110 Kinsman Road, Newbury P: 440-739-4128 W: FB:

Visit Artisans’ Corner Gallery, the premier gallery in Geauga County. Featuring Ohio artists with a wide variety of work from giftware to fine art and picture framing. Join us on the 4th Friday of every “Red is the Energy,” 20 x 20 mixed media month for “Art and Artist” featured work, gallery talk, meet artists, enjoy refreshments (Dyptic Part 1) by and live entertainment. Mary Ann Sedivy. ART ON MADISON

14203 Madison Ave., Lakewood P: 419-345-8980 W: IG: @art_on_madison

Art on Madison gallery showcases emerging regional artists. Featured this summer are Emma Anderson, Cat Swartz, Cathie Joslyn and Mike Zelenka. Ivan Kende’s “Cavern1,” an experimental installation inspired by Neolithic cave paintings. Hosting monthly readings by For event dates, please check our website: BE.GALLERY

14 Bell St., Chagrin Falls P: 844-234-4387 W: FB:

Located in the heart of Chagrin Falls, is a unique collection of exquisite American artisan-created pieces that inspire the soul. With more than 50 artists and in all mediums, fine handcrafted art and gifts with meaning are our specialty. Find that perfect unique gift at!

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A destination for those seeking the unique in clothing, gifts and shopping experience or wanting to share the upbeat vitality and offbeat charm of Cleveland’s premier arts and antiques district. The gallery features one-of-a-kind and limited-edition wearable art, contemporary craft and special baby gifts in a relaxed and welcoming setting.

Hand-painted and quilted acrylic on vinyl handbag by Roxanna Ahlborn. FLUX METAL ARTS

8827 Mentor Ave., Mentor P: 440-205-1770 W:

Our gallery features an inspiring mix of unique handcrafted artisan jewelry and decorative metalwork created by 25 local emerging and established artists. Flux Metal Arts is also a small teaching studio dedicated to offering an engaging variety of jewelry and metalsmithing classes, open studio bench rental and is your source for specialty jewelry tools and supplies. GALLERY W

One American Blvd., Westlake W: IG: @gallerywcrocker

Ongoing and upcoming: “Western Reserve Historical Society + Christi Birchfield,” July 19 to Aug. 30; “American Greetings Fine Art Show,” Sept. 14 to Nov. 9. Gallery hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Saturday and Sunday. HARRIS STANTON GALLERY

1370 W. 9th St., Cleveland P: 216-471-8882 2301 W. Market St., Akron P: 330-867-7600 W: FB:

Harris Stanton gallery is celebrating over 30 years of offering the finest original artwork to its residential and corporate clients. The gallery’s collection ranges from traditional to abstract-contemporary and features work by local, regional, national and international artists. We offer custom archival framing, art installation, art consultation and appraisals.



At Juma Gallery, we believe in the transformative power of art and design. Everyday objects are elevated from simply functional to beautiful and inspirational. Juma is a place to discover the power of art; define your personal design aesthetic, and a place to express it through clothing, jewelry and art.

Pennello Gallery in Little Italy specializes in contemporary American, Canadian and ISRAELI fine art and craft. You will always find a sophisticated selection, including many one-of-a-kind studio glass, ceramics, jewelry, wood, metal, sculpture, unique Judaica and paintings in all media. You may call for an appointment to meet with our bridal registry specialists. Find and like us on Facebook!

20100 Chagrin Blvd., Shaker Heights P: 216-295-1717 W: FB:


12402 Mayfield Road, Cleveland P: 216-921-4088, 216-469-3288 W: FB:

We are fine art painters working in oil or acrylic on canvas, and recently, on mirrored steel. Our subjects range from figurative to “The Gaze,” 24 x 30, oil on canvas by abstract. This is a working studio in Little Italy, so it’s best to call before visiting to be sure Lee Heinen. we’re there. Lee Heinen was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award FY 2017. LOGANBERRY

13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights P: 216-795-9800 W:

Loganberry Books Annex Gallery features a monthly rotation of local artist exhibitions, with an opening reception on the first Wednesday evening of the month. MCKAY BRICKER FRAMING BLACK SQUIRREL GALLERY & GIFTS

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141 E. Main St., Kent P: 330-673-5058 W: FB:

A picture framing shop and home of Black Squirrel Gallery & Gifts. Featuring artisan jewelry, local art, home décor, greeting cards, Black Squirrel items, and of course our award-winning custom framing. Archival framing to preserve treasured memories. Gift certificates are available. Beautifying area homes and businesses since 1984. M.GENTILE STUDIOS

1588 E. 40th St., 1A, Cleveland P: 216-881-2818 W:

A personalized art resource for individuals, collectors and businesses. We offer assistance in the selection and preservation of artwork in many media. Our archival custom framing services are complemented by our skill in the installation of two- and three-dimensional artwork in a variety of residential and corporate settings.


12407 Mayfield Road, Cleveland P: 216-707-9390 W:


School House Galleries Little Italy 2026 Murray Hill Road, Unit 202, Cleveland P: 216-559-6478 W: FB:

“Sarah,” 20 x 16, oil on canvas by Tricia Kaman.

Tricia’s studio/gallery is housed in the Historic Little Italy Schoolhouse building. Visits are welcome by appointment. The studio features Tricia’s original oil paintings, Giclée and canvas prints. She also offers custom-cut silhouettes, which make for a special and unique gift.


178½ N. Main St. (2nd floor), Hudson P: 234-284-9019 W: FB:

Uncommon ART is a gallery, classroom and studios on historic Main Street in Hudson. We offer an inspiring mix of locally handcrafted fine art, jewelry, wearables and gift items from Northeast Ohio artists. Browse the artwork, choose a unique treasure to take home, or try an art class! Open Tuesday through Saturday.


11610 Euclid Ave., Cleveland P: 216-421-7000 W: FB:

Cleveland Institute of Art is one of the nation’s leading accredited independent colleges of art and design. For 135 years, the college has been an educational cornerstone in Cleveland, producing graduates competitive as studio artists, designers, photographers, contemporary craftsmen and educators. KENT STATE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ART 325 Terrace Drive, Kent P: 330-672-2192 W:

Kent State University’s School of Art offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Art Education, Art History and Studio Art (Ceramics, Drawing, Painting, Glass, Jewelry/Metals/Enameling, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Textiles). Art exhibitions are on view yearround at the School of Art Galleries and are open to the public.

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15121 Clifton Blvd., #2, Lakewood P: 440-812-4681 W: IG: @johnwcarlson

John creates emotional figurative works in charcoal and oil paint. His work is collected both nationally and internationally. His drawing “Viewpoint” was purchased by the “Shade,” 2017, Erie Art Museum in 2004 for its permanent 24 x 30, oil and collection, and in 2018, the Massillon charcoal on canvas Museum purchased the painting “Visitation” by John W. Carlson. for its collection.

EVENTS CLEVELAND GARLIC FESTIVAL 2018 Saturday, Aug. 25: Noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26: Noon to 6 p.m. Shaker Square, Cleveland P: 216-751-7656 W: FB:

Cleveland Garlic Festival will take place at Shaker Square on Saturday, Aug. 25, from noon to 8 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 26, from noon to 6 p.m. This year’s festival continues to bring the most delicious garlic-laden food, like garlic fries, Mitchell’s Garlic Ice Cream and Ohio craft beer, as well as live music and entertainment, a kids section and so much more! FLATS FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS AN OUTDOOR ART SHOW FLATS EAST BANK AND HOWARD ALAN EVENTS, LTD. Saturday, Aug. 18: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Flats East Bank, Cleveland W:

Featuring various types of notable local and national artists who will exhibit and sell their work by Cleveland’s waterfront. Russ Brunn – Mixed Media. Cleveland, OH Flats Festival of the Arts will also include many of the region’s most talented musicians and dancers. A wide selection of food and beverages will be available, including Flats East Bank’s onsite dining and entertainment establishments. NORTHCOAST PROMOTIONS, INC. P.O. Box 609401, Cleveland P: 216-570-8201 W:

Northcoast Promotions, Inc. specializes in art shows, craft fairs and festivals. Please visit us at Walkabout Tremont Second Fridays, Third Fridays at 78th Street Studios and every Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day at The Old Firehouse Winery in Geneva-on-the-Lake. Visit our website for more events and details.

78th Street Studios 1300 W. 78th St. and 1305 W. 80th St., Cleveland W:

Every Third Friday of the month from 5 to 9 p.m., more than 60 venues inside 78th Street Studios open up at the same time to present compelling visual exhibits, ambient music, delicious cuisine and pop-up vendors. Every Third Friday is a multisensory art experience like nothing else in the region. WATCH IT WEDNESDAYS

Every first Wednesday of the month 78th Street Studios, first floor, 1300 W. 78th St., Cleveland W:

Step into the heart of the Cleveland maker movement and gain rare, behind-the-scenes access into the experimental world of close to 20 artists as they work on their latest masterpieces before your very eyes. Admission is $15 online/$20 at the door and includes one complimentary drink ticket and a handmade artist gift. First Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.


8806 Towpath Road NE, Bolivar P: 330-874-4444 W: FB:

Fine casual dining in Zoar’s original tavern and inn. Located on the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath and the Ohio and Erie Scenic Byway, the Canal Tavern of Zoar offers “travelers” on the Canalway and visitors to Zoar excellent food and beverages and our traditional Zoar hospitality.


1901 Ford Drive, Cleveland P: 216-231-8900 W:

Glidden House, AAA-rated Three Diamond boutique hotel invites guests to indulge in both its compelling history and contemporary luxury. Whether it’s a milestone occasion or a unique holiday gift idea, Glidden House offers several different package deals that highlight our unique historic hotel experience while offering discounts that include cultural events, admissions and dining. ROBERT & GABRIEL JEWELERS JEWELERS FOR GENERATIONS

5244 Mayfield Road, Lyndhurst P: 440-473-6554 W: FB:

Our lovely, family-owned store is the ideal destination for finding the perfect piece of jewelry or giftware. Our selections include stunning traditional and contemporary items from national designs, or we’ll help you create your own unique design. We’re proud to be serving the Cleveland area for more than 90 years. Listings are provided by advertisers and as a courtesy to readers.

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“The Best Arts Event in Cleveland.” —Scene Magazine “The Mother of all Art Walks.” —Boston Globe

Come see the largest fine art complex in the region with over 60 galleries, studios, and other creative spaces all under one roof! On THIRD FRIDAYS, the whole building comes alive from 5 - 9PM for the most fascinating art walk you’ve ever experienced. Industrial spaces are available inside our property for your own benefit, corporate meeting, wedding or birthday bash! See the web site for details.


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1300 W. 78th St. at the west end of the Gordon Square Arts District

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y d a e R t e G . n Hawke

. y l t n e r e f f i d l o o h t o do sc


ounded in 1915, Hawken School is a coeducational private day school of over 1,200 students with an Upper School campus in Gates Mills (grades 9-12), a Lower and Middle School campus in Lyndhurst (preschool – grade 8), a preschool – grade 8 campus on Cleveland’s west side, and an urban extension center in University Circle. Supported by over $8.4 million in tuition assistance, the school is profoundly committed to the development of character and intellect. With its nationally recognized programming and stunning facilities, Hawken offers non-traditional schedules to support immersive learning and innovative teaching, real-world partnerships that connect students to their local and global communities, and inspirational learning spaces that support and stimulate learning by doing. Hawken’s tradition of academic excellence instills in members of its diverse and unified student body the skills needed to thrive in a complex world. Hawken Gates Mills Campus 12465 County Line Road, Gates Mills, Ohio 44040

Coed Preschool - Grade 12

Opportunities to visit in September and October! For more information call 440.423.4446 or visit

Birchwood School of Hawken 4400 West 140th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44135

Hawken Lyndhurst Campus 5000 Clubside Road, Lyndhurst, Ohio 44124

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