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NORTHEAST OHIO | arts | music | performance

Winter 2018

CHANGE AGENTS Northeast Ohio artists take on matters of local and global importance


*B ri ad ng m thi is si s ad on , S wit ep h y t– o Ma u f y 2 or 01 $ 2 9. of f co o de f g ca ene nv ra as l



A World Premiere Special Exhibition



Artists on Art:

Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle now–01.27.19 Alexis Alexis Rockman: Rockman: The The Great Great Lakes Lakes Cycle Cycle is is organized organized by by the the Grand Grand Rapids Rapids Art Art Museum, Museum, with with support support generously generously provided provided by by the the Wege Wege Foundation, Foundation, the the National National Endowment Endowment for for the the Arts, Arts, the the Frey Frey Foundation, Foundation, and and LaFontsee LaFontsee Galleries Galleries and and Framing. Framing. Major Major support support provided provided by by an an anonymous anonymous donor. donor. Coordinated Coordinated at at moCa moCa Cleveland Cleveland by by Megan Megan Lykins Lykins Reich, Reich, Deputy Deputy Director. Director.

11400 Euclid Avenue Cleveland, Ohio 44106

moCa cleveland .org

Images: Aleksandra Aleksandra Domanović, Domanović, Kalbträgerin, Kalbträgerin, 2017, 2017, cast cast Images: Jesmonite, Kerrock, Kerrock, foam foam and and Plexiglas, Plexiglas, 82 82 3/4 3/4 x x 27 27 1/4 1/4 x x Jesmonite, 17 inches. inches. Photos: Photos: Dawn Dawn Blackman. Blackman. Courtesy Courtesy of of the the artist artist 17 and Tanya Tanya Leighton, Leighton, Berlin. Berlin. and

■ Martine Syms ■ Double Takes ■ Camel Collective ■ Aleksandra Domanović

Image: Image: Alexis AlexisRockman, Rockman,Cascade, Cascade,2015, 2015,oil oiland andalkyd alkydon onwood woodpanel, panel,72 72xx144 144inches. inches.Commissioned Commissionedby byGrand GrandRapids RapidsArt ArtMuseum Museumwith withfunds fundsprovided providedby by Peter PeterWege, Wege,Jim Jimand andMary MaryNelson, Nelson,John Johnand andMuriel MurielHalick, Halick,Mary MaryB. B.Loupee, Loupee,and andKarl Karland andPatricia PatriciaBetz. Betz.Grand GrandRapids RapidsArt ArtMuseum, Museum,2015.19. 2015.19.

at moCa Alexis Rockman

Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland

Aleksandra Aleksandra Domanović Domanović Talk Talk & & Exhibition Exhibition Opening Opening

Friday, Friday, December December 14 14 7pm 7pm free free & & open open to to all all

Artists Artists on on Art: Art: Nikki Nikki Woods Woods on on Alexis Alexis Rockman Rockman

Saturday, Saturday, January January 19 19 2:30pm 2:30pm free free w/admission w/admission

The The New New Agency Agency moCa’s moCa’s 50th 50th anniversary anniversary party party celebrating celebrating the the people people moving moving culture culture forward forward

Saturday, Saturday, February February 99 $25 $25 // VIP VIP $50 $50

“The Deportation Wall” by Michelangelo Lovelace (2016); acrylic on textured canvas, 36 x 63¾ inches; ML040. Courtesy of the artist and Fort Gansevoort, New York.

6 Editor’s Note

Michael C. Butz discusses this issue’s cover story

8 On Deck

Noteworthy upcoming openings and events from around Northeast Ohio


Change Agents Northeast Ohio artists take on matters of local and global importance

10 Enduring legacy

The next generation of Cleveland School artists will be featured in “Continuum” at the Canton Museum of Art and ARTneo

30 Sight specific

How Timothy Callaghan sees his neighborhood


36 Community builders

An array of visual arts galleries in the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District reflect the diversity and creativity of their Collinwood locale

40 Coming full circle

Homegrown “The Velocity of Autumn” goes from Broadway to community theater

44 Holiday calendar & listings NORTHEAST OHIO | arts | music | performance

Find unique holiday gifts by visiting these arts-focused events and businesses

Winter 2018

On the cover


“March Mixed Media – Inhumane (5)” by April Bleakney; screen print and watercolor, 9½ x 12½ inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

Northeast Ohio artists take on matters of local and global importance

4 | Canvas | Winter 2018

48 Perfect presents

Whether shopping for the holidays, a special occasion or for oneself, gift-seekers have plenty of options thanks to Northeast Ohio’s arts community

51 Listings

Local listings for museums, galleries, theaters and more

54 Curator Corner

Akron Art Museum’s “Girlfriends and Lovers” by Mickalene Thomas

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. Call 216.320.8767 to schedule your personal tour, or visit to learn more.

Art for action A

nyone who attended last summer’s “Constant as the Sun” group show at moCa Cleveland likely recalls it as a powerhouse exhibition. Among the noteworthy Great Lakes-area artists to participate in the show, which explored various aspects of community, were Detroit’s Tyree Guyton, a painter and sculptor best known for The Heidelberg Project, and Cleveland’s own Darius Steward, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and writing about in the fall 2017 issue of Canvas (while “Constant as the Sun” was still up). Also in that show was acerbic, an artist collective consisting of poet Ali Black and photographers Donald Black Jr. and Gabriel Gonzalez. I found their installation – the first one encountered upon entering the fourthfloor gallery – to be a knockout. (You can revisit some of it on Page 22.) Not only has their art stuck with me since then, so has the experience. In short, acerbic’s artwork opened my eyes to some things – which, I think they’d tell you, is the point. In this issue of Canvas, I caught up with acerbic – and several other Northeast Ohio artists whose socially conscious work means to do the same by contextualizing, provoking and/or inspiring: April Bleakney, Dexter Davis, Laura and Gary Dumm, Martinez E-B, Michelangelo Lovelace, Corrie Slawson and Shane Wynn. By way of various media, these artists take on issues important to them – environment, immigration, gun violence, police brutality, gender discrimination or racial inequality – in ways they hope will make them important to you, the viewers. Their work is important, their art extraordinary – and I hope you find learning about what motivates them and informs their art as interesting as I did. I think you will. Also in this issue, we visit with artist Timothy Callaghan, whose recent work examines a sense of place – in particular, his home neighborhood of North Collinwood and the neighborhood he adopted for the summer, Glenville. Also, we check in with playwright Eric Coble, whose “The Velocity of Autumn” made it to Broadway and was recently staged by Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, to examine the vital role of community theater. And since this is the winter issue, we’ve brought back the holiday calendar and showcase several galleries, arts events, local businesses and specific gift ideas for you to consider as you complete your holiday shopping. (Please note that in many cases, what makes for a good gift during the holidays is also a good gift year-round, so keep our holiday section handy.) As you can see, this issue of Canvas is chock-full of good reads. Enjoy, and don’t forget to follow Canvas on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (all are @CanvasCLE).

Editor Michael C. Butz Design Manager Stephen Valentine

President, Publisher & CEO Kevin S. Adelstein Vice President of Sales Adam Mandell CJN Managing Editor Bob Jacob Controller Tracy DiDomenico Events Manager Gina Lloyd Editorial Ed Carroll Jane Kaufman Becky Raspe Alyssa Schmitt Contributing Writers Bob Abelman Sean McDonnell 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

Canvas Editor

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.

6 | Canvas | Winter 2018


Concert Series

Angela Hewitt May 18, 2019

Jeremy Denk January 19, 2019

Xiaoxuan Li and Eva Gevorgyan March 2, 2019

Roberto Plano June 8, 2019

Shai Wosner and Orion Weiss September 14, 2019

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www. Winter 2018 | Canvas | 7


Upcoming openings and events from around Northeast Ohio. Event details provided by the entities featured. Compiled by Sean McDonnell

THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART • “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” | Nov. 23 – Jan. 3, 2019 “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” will offer a unique look into one of America’s most iconic artists. O’Keeffe defied convention and forged an independent identity throughout her 70-year career. O’Keeffe endeavored to be strikingly modern not only in her art, but in her life. The exhibition will showcase several of her paintings alongside her garments, as well as photographic portraits of her as the subject. Split into parts, the exhibit will show O’Keeffe’s early years in New York, where black and white dominated her palette, to her later years in New Mexico, where the colors of the American Southwest bled into her work. The final section explores the role photography played in establishing O’Keeffe’s fame and how it solidified her status as a pioneer of modernism.

YARDS PROJECTS AT WORTHINGTON YARDS • “Artist Select Exhibition 2018” | Dec. 5 – Jan. 5, 2019 Many exhibitions come about by curators selecting artists to feature. Not YARDS Projects’ “Artist Select Exhibition 2018.” In this show, artists whose work was featured at YARDS Projects’ in 2017 or 2018 were invited to select artists for this show. The exhibition will include work from media artist Orlando Caraballo (chosen by Corrie Slawson); printmaker Arron Foster (chosen by Michael Loderstetdt); painter

Bianca Fields (chosen by Amber N. Ford); photographer Carolyn Ballou (chosen by Timothy Callaghan); and painter Michael Meier (chosen by Darius Steward). An opening reception – which gallery director Liz Maugans intends to double as an artist holiday mixer – will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6 at 725 Johnson Court, Cleveland.

BUTLER INSTITUTE OF AMERICAN ART • “Southern Roots: The Paintings of Winfred Rembert” | Dec. 23 – Feb. 17, 2019 Winfred Rembert learned how to work leather while serving seven years in a state prison, a sentence he served after an arrest from a 1960s civil rights protest, a jail escape and near lynching. Years later, he used his leather skills as an outlet for the traumas of his life in the South. This traveling exhibition of carved and dyed leather works by Rembert creates an image of an African-American artist’s life in the 1950s and ’60s in Georgia. The show features 29 works, including the premiere of several recent paintings by Rembert. This exhibition predominately shows the grueling task of cotton picking that the artist endured in childhood and in a prison chain gang.

Top: “Georgia O’Keeffe on Ghost Ranch Portal, New Mexico” c. 1960s. Todd Webb (American, 1905-2000) Gelatin silver print; 25.4 x 20.3 cm (10 x 8 inches). Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, N.M. Gift of the Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, 2006.06.1046. Copyright. Estate of Todd Webb, Portland, Maine. Left: “Winters Diet” by Arron Foster (2018), serigraphy, 30 x 22 inches. Image courtesy of YARDS Projects. Right: “Chain Gang (A Web)” by Winfred Rembert (2012); dye on carved and tooled leather. Courtesy of Adelson Gallery. Image courtesy of Butler Institute of American Art.

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BAYARTS • “Justin Brennan: Ego” | Jan. 11 – Feb. 2, 2019 Justin Brennan explores identity and mental disposition in his upcoming show, “Ego,” at BAYarts. The show will feature new work by Brennan, who investigates the boundaries of his own psychological landscape and composition through his abstracted portraiture. Showing simultaneously at BAYarts will be “Jo Ann Giovannit Rencz: Faithlegs Art and History Examined.” The artist’s abstract work uses color to express bits and pieces of biblical history. An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Jan. 11, 2019, at 28795 Lake Road, Bay Village.

AKRON ART MUSEUM • “Nick Cave: Feat.” | Feb. 23 – June 2, 2019 Chicago-based artist Nick Cave creates work in a wide range of media. His work, optical delights full of color and texture, are a deeper look at issues surrounding identity and social justice, specifically race, gun violence and civic responsibility. His famous human-shaped sculptures, called “soundsuits,” began as a response to the 1991 beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles. The sculptures are called soundsuits because of the sound they make when they

move. As an African-American man, Cave made the sculptures as a type of armor that shielded him from profiling by concealing race, gender and class. The exhibition’s title, “Feat.,” is a reference to the hard work needed to attain success.

MASSILLON MUSEUM • “Charles Basham/Eileen Dorsey: Recent Landscapes” | March 2 – April 20, 2019 “Recent Landscapes” will feature pieces by Charles Basham and Eileen Dorsey, painters who make landscapes their main subject and employ intensely colorful palettes with bold mark-making. Basham lives in Medina and teaches painting at Kent State University. He starts his painting process by making an “immediate record of the light, color and the air” around him. Dorsey, a Kent State graduate and former student of Basham’s, explores the boundaries between abstraction and representation. Her landscapes focus heavily on wooded areas, linking to her childhood experiences playing in the woods. She adds and removes layers of paint and employs chance as a factor in her painting. An opening reception will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 2, 2019, at 121 Lincoln Way East, Massillon.

Above: “Around in Circles” by Justin Brennan (2018); oil, spray paint on canvas, 30 x 30 inches. Image courtesy of BAYarts. Below: “Soundsuit” by Nick Cave (2016); sculpture, mixed media including a mask with horns, various toys, globes, wire, metal and mannequin, 85 x 45 x 40 in. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Provided by Akron Art Museum.

“Yellow Background 2” by Eileen Dorsey (2016); oil and acrylic on canvas, 32 x 48 inches. Image courtesy of the Massillon Museum.


Winter 2018 | Canvas | 9

Enduring legacy The next generation of Cleveland School artists will be featured in ‘Continuum’ at the Canton Museum of Art and ARTneo 10 | Canvas | Winter 2018

By Alyssa Schmitt


he Cleveland School occupies a pre-eminent position in the pantheon of Northeast Ohio arts.

Not only did this community of artists and craftsmen lay the groundwork for institutions like the Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland Institute of Art in the early and mid-1900s, it established the region as a leading center of creativity and artistic innovation – especially with regard to watercolor paintings and ceramics. Today, a new generation of Cleveland School artists – those who’ve studied the work of the original members or were

directly taught by them – are carrying on its legacy. That generation-to-generation progression will be front and center in “Continuum: The Cleveland School and Beyond,” a two-part exhibition on view from Nov. 21 to March 3, 2019, at the Canton Museum of Art in Canton and from March 15 to May 19, 2019, at ARTneo in Cleveland. The idea for the exhibition was never far away from Lynnda Arrasmith, chief curator and registrar at the Canton Museum of Art. In 2012, the museum previously hosted “The Cleveland School: Watercolor and Clay,” an exhibition that included work from Cleveland School artists through the 1960s. Her desire to continue the exhibition came to fruition in “Continuum,” which recommences where “Watercolor and Clay” left off and examines how those

early Cleveland School artists influence today’s artists. She also hopes the show highlights Northeast Ohio’s past and present artistic endeavors to a new generation of museum visitors. “I want to give Canton an idea of what’s in their backyard,” Arrasmith says. “There’s an education value that I think Canton needs to know. There’s a lot of lovely work continuing in Cleveland of works on paper and contemporary ceramics. I think it pushes the limits of watercolor and clay, both technical and in creative ways. I think it’s always good to welcome something that’s close at hand.” Early Cleveland School artists often studied abroad, and at the time, watercolor wasn’t considered a fine art medium, explains Christopher Richards, ARTneo curator and collection manager.

Above: “Freighter Bridge, Cleveland Skyline” by Michael Prunty; watercolor on paper, 18 x 27 inches. On loan from Ken Emerick and Todd Tussing. Image courtesy of Canton Museum of Art. Previous page: “Woman In Gray” by Phyllis Sloane (c. 1980s); gouache on paper, 23¾ x 17½ inches. Rachel Davis Fine Arts. Image courtesy of Canton Museum of Art.


Winter 2018 | Canvas | 11

Those artists were able to reverse that thinking, in part by bringing exceptional technical skill to their work in various art movements, many of which weren’t previously done using watercolor. “Really, what is sometimes shocking is how they added modernism into what was not traditionally seen at the time as being a serious art medium,” he says. During the same time, clay – which any Northeast Ohio gardener will know – was everywhere, and the region emerged as a leader in commercial pottery.

Above: “Milkweed at the Lumber Mill” by Mary Lou Ferbert (2001); transparent watercolor on board, 56½ x 44½ inches. Image courtesy of ARTneo. Below: “Rollin” by Todd Leech (2018); clay, 25 x 25 x 8 inches. Image courtesy of Canton Museum of Art.

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STYLE AND SUBSTANCE “Continuum” will consist of 60 pieces (two works each from 30 artists) at the Canton Museum of Art. A smaller version will be on view at ARTneo due to its smaller space, but it will also be a different show there because ARTneo will display works from its own collection mixed with alternate works by some of the same artists in the Canton iteration. At a glance, it’d be easy to overlook what ties together the works – at either location – since styles and subjects differ. But upon closer inspection, techniques passed down from teacher to student can be spotted. “There’s actually a wide variety (of styles) because there’s no real Cleveland School style, per se. The media itself has always kind of been a strong and important presence in the art of the region,” Richards says. “The Cleveland School artists themselves experimented with a lot of different styles. Some of their works were very Ashcan Schoolstyle, which was a little bit more realistic, or in the style of the precisionist, who tried to capture everything as they thought. So, the hyper-reality of something like a photorealistic watercolor painting would have come out of something like that.” “Continuum” focuses on how the contemporary artists have built on those earlier practices by innovating new styles. “It’s viewing these works as a continuation of the advancement that the early Cleveland School artists have made and the importance of their contributions


Israel: Then & Now Opens at Maltz Museum before traveling the country


world premiere special exhibition has launched at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. “Israel: Then & Now” is a first-of-its-kind exhibition that invites visitors to see the landmarks, learn the history, explore the culture and meet the people of Israel – without leaving Cleveland. After the exhibition completes its debut in Cleveland, it will travel across the country. Former Israeli Ambassador Ido Aharoni, who acted as senior consultant to the project said, “No place is perfect, including Israel … but this exhibit transcends differences to look at what Israel has been able to accomplish in 70 years.” Now in his late 80s, Maltz Museum’s founder Milton Maltz envisioned this exhibition coming to life as he stood at his hotel room window, gazing out to the city of Tel Aviv. He marveled at how Israel had changed over the last 70 years, from desert to sky scrapers, and he knew he wanted to tell the story of “Israel: Then & Now.” Working in partnership with the world-renowned exhibition production company, Gallagher & Associates, the Maltz Museum began the year-and-a-half-long process of collaborating with contributing curator and historian Lauren Strauss, PhD, of American University, in addition to senior consultant, former Israeli Ambassador Ido Aharnoi, a professor at New York University’s School of International Relations in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Artifacts were identified and secured, historic images and milestone moments were selected and mounted, and voices of Israeli’s answering questions that both American and Israeli Jews grapple with were recorded to be shared here in the United States. One young woman, Or Seri, from Israel who was interviewed by Gallagher & Associates arranged to be in Cleveland during the exhibition. She arrived with her father and brother to see herself and her country on display. She said, “One of the questions they asked me was about whether Israelis and Palestinians can live together. And of course I answered yes. Because I believe all people can live together peacefully, freely and securely with equal opportunities, respecting each other. Eventually all conflicts can be solved.” Visitors are invited to listen to opposing views to questions like this one, then cast their own vote. “As Israelis it’s interesting to see how this exhibit shows Israel. It reminds you that even with all the criticism it’s a quite impressive place to live in. I would even say it’s a miracle. It’s nice to look at yourself from the outside and feel proud. It’s a very positive expression,” she said. Managing Director David Schafer knew he wanted the special exhibition to debut in 2018, as part of the Cleveland community’s celebration of Israel at 70. “We couldn’t think of a better time to produce this exhibition,” said Schafer. “Politics aside, we set out to explore Israel beyond media headlines. There is so much more to Israel than conflict.” This year marks Israel’s 70th birthday. “Israel: Then & Now” looks at what the country has accomplished in just seven decades. An intro film goes back 2,000 years to when the Jewish people were living in the land of Israel. Displaced by war, most Jews fled only to be rejected across the globe for religious beliefs. Ultimately, the Jewish people found hope for themselves and their children in 1948, when Israel was declared the first Jewish state and many Jews returned to the land of their ancestors. But, what would come of the land, the people and

a culture? Visitors are invited to take a look back and imagine what’s ahead through milestone moments, historic images, interactive media and film. Surrounding the special exhibition is a robust season of programming, the result of a first-of-its-kind collaboration between two great educational institutions: Case Western Reserve University’s Siegal Lifelong Learning Program and Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. “In partnership, we have organized a full season of dynamic Israel programs designed to engage, enrich and educate,” said Alanna Cooper, Director of Jewish Lifelong Learning at CWRU, who worked with Dahlia Fisher, Director of External Relations at the Maltz Museum to create the programming. Gallery talks, lectures and discussions, arts and culture events, and family-fun activities offer something for most ages and interests. “Israel: Then & Now” is on view now through May 12, Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays until 9 p.m.; included with general admission, free for members. For more information about the exhibition or programming offerings, please contact 216-593-0575.

“Our Separated Selves (Holding On To Me)” by Darius Steward (2018); watercolor on Yupa paper, 24 x 24 inches. On loan from Thomas and Marsha French. Image courtesy of Canton Museum of Art.

through the region,” Richards says. “It’s a linear history of our area in terms of media and how artists have used it.” Richards pointed to a work by artist Richard Kish. The piece was a flat, blocky, geometric representation of a city scene done in 1961. Yet, it has a lot of the same qualities of laying down the watercolor as the earlier artists. The connection these artists have to Northeast Ohio extends beyond the fact they studied and practiced in the region,

Arrasmith says. They express their relationship to the area through the subjects of their work, whether in the form of downtown Cleveland’s Terminal Tower, a freighter navigating the Cuyahoga River or floral scenes common to the region. “It kind of tells us who we are as a region,” Richards adds. “It shows what’s been important to artists of the area and what they’ve been trying to express.”


“Continuum: The Cleveland School and Beyond” will travel between the Canton Museum of Art and ARTneo, incorporating pieces owned by each museum in addition to those from private lenders and artists. From Nov. 21 to March 3, 2019, it will be on view at the Canton Museum of Art, 1001 Market Ave., Canton. From March 15 to May 19, 2019, it will be at ARTneo, 1305 W. 80th St., Cleveland, inside 78th Street Studios.

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Winter 2018 | Canvas | 15

CHANGE AGENTS By Michael C. Butz

April Bleakney Dexter Davis

Michelangelo Lovelace

acerbic (Gabriel Gonzalez, Ali Black and Donald Black Jr.)

16 | Canvas | Winter 2018

Corrie Slawson

Laura and Gary Dumm

Martinez E-B

Shane Wynn


rt is essential to society’s ability to progress. No other medium, no other manner of communication so effectively or powerfully prompts critical reflection while also envisioning what could be. Art can both protest power structures and lower barriers of entry to the marginalized. It can question authority and call for action. Certain art doesn’t just grab your attention, it sends a message, resonates and instills a sense of possibility. It compels viewers beyond knowing and understanding something to feeling and experiencing it. Northeast Ohio is home to several artists whose practices take on matters of both local and global impo.rtance. These artists grapple with racial and gender equality, attempt to reframe issues of immigration and sound the alarm regarding the environment. These artists’ work is varied but shares potency and purpose. They’re on the front line of the debate. They’re educating viewers and evoking a response.

They Are agents of change. @CanvasCLE

Winter 2018 | Canvas | 17

Michelangelo Lovelace • Lives & Creates Cleveland’s Cudell neighborhood


ichelangelo Lovelace knows some viewers of his art might not be familiar with the world he exposes them to in his paintings: his world. So, he introduces them from a bird’s-eye view and allows them to lower themselves in for a closer, more thoughtful look at his colorful, expressive pieces at their own pace. There’s plenty to take in. “The Daily Grind,” for example, shows a Cleveland street littered with distractions, from police cars and passersby to merchant signs and signs from God. The piece is about Lovelace’s own daily grind trying to make a living as an artist, but many may recognize the potential pitfalls. Through relating to viewers that way, Lovelace hopes to bridge longstanding disconnects related to race, culture and socioeconomics. “Hopefully, they’ll have a conversation with themselves and the painting about how they feel about being in that environment,” he says. “Hopefully, they’ll get to understanding what it’s like for people that grow up in the inner city and have to live in this kind of environment, where you’re dealing with poverty, dealing with drugs, dealing with alcohol and dealing with crime when you’re trying to make your way and just have a happy life.” Once Lovelace’s viewers become comfortable with where he’s led them, he hopes they then begin looking deeper into individuals – a courtesy he hasn’t always been afforded. “I remember, coming up, I would go to art shows that I would have my work in and people would not associate me with the work. They see me as a black guy, and they’ve built their walls once they see you,” says Lovelace, who in May had a solo show at Fort Gansevoort in New York City. “Then, when they find out I’m the artist who painted the paintings, they would be like, ‘Oh man!’ You know? It’s a different world. So, I’m hoping that from my work, my viewer can take himself to another level in seeing people, judging people and allowing people to have opportunities.”

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“The Deportation Wall” by Michelangelo Lovelace (2016); acrylic on textured canvas, 36 x 63¾ inches; ML040. Courtesy of the artist and Fort Gansevoort, New York.

“The Daily Grind” by Michelangelo Lovelace (2017); ink and acrylic on canvas, 24 x 34 inches; ML064. Courtesy of the artist and Fort Gansevoort, New York. A similar hope is inherent in “The Deportation Wall,” a powerful painting Lovelace completed for “The First 100+ Days: Artists Respond to Trump’s Immigration Policy” group show at SPACES Gallery in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. The 58-year-old grew up in Cleveland but his parents are from the South, so he was raised on stories regarding

divisiveness in Mississippi and Georgia. “I interpret that wall as being another form of racism – like the signs they used to have in the South, ‘Whites only’ or ‘Negro over here,’” he says. “For every brick they put into this wall, no matter how big they build it, there’s another person who’s just looking for what most people wanted when they came to America: a better opportunity.”

Corrie Slawson • Lives & Creates Cleveland Heights • Degrees BFA major in Painting, minor in Printmaking, Parsons School of Design, New York; MFA in Painting from Kent State University


ainter and printmaker Corrie Slawson thinks a lot about the environment. More specifically, she’s interested in questioning systems – like land-use practices – that as a matter of routine lead people, or entire societies, to harm the environment or disproportionately restrict access to economic opportunities for segments of the population. “If you look at the last three years of my work, there’s been a progression of always using place as a matrix to talk about issues of social justice, environmental justice and environmental degradation,” she explains. That body of work culminated in May when her series “Artifice and Persuasion” was on view at American Greetings’ Gallery W in Westlake. One piece, “Lawns are a monocrop that diminish biodiversity (or, Thanks a lot, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown)” namechecks the 18th century English landscape architect responsible for scores of well-manicured lawns at country houses and estates in Britain. The concept of lawns exists to this day, of course, and in some communities, they’re overtly separatist. That this series was on view in Westlake, an outer-ring suburb that by nature

and geography is responsible for a large carbon footprint, was no accident. But Slawson isn’t necessarily trying to access blame in her art. “As soon as I point my finger, I just point it right back,” she acknowledges. “I sit up here (in my studio) and grapple with my culpability, with my own decisions.” She wants her art to effect change. While she welcomes people changing individual behaviors, she’s aiming for something greater. “One human being, yes, you can make a difference. I don’t disbelieve that. But I’m more concerned that if you see it happening in the system, that you do more to change the system,” she says. “I think I read in Scientific American that recycling is the same as a skyscraper collapsing and you have one nail. It’s not that we shouldn’t, it’s that the bigger issue is the system.” Slawson is already working on her next body of work. In their early stages, the pieces are collages that juxtapose symbols of domestic luxury, like an image of a wedding bouquet clipped from Vogue magazine, with pictures of endangered

species, extinct species and even anthropomorphized animals. “It’s this idea of all of this natural beauty – gardens, flowers, food, delicious food – in all these luxurious magazines, but it’s not an ecosystem, or if it’s an ecosystem, it’s a different kind of ecosystem than the ecosystem that cheetah needs or that polar bears needs or even that we need,” she explains. “I’m playing with those conversations between our manufactured nature – which people accept and love, and frankly, it’s gorgeous, it’s seductive. But the golden toad, there, he’s gone. Last seen in 1989 in Central America.”

Above: “The Difference between Climate and Weather” by Corrie Slawson (2018); screen print, oil, gouache, acrylic and marbling on paper, 22 x 31 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. Below: “Lawns are a monocrop that diminish biodiversity (or, Thanks a lot, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown)” by Corrie Slawson (2018); screen print, oil, gouache, acrylic, gold leaf and vintage flocked wallpaper on paper, 62 x 41 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.


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Shane Wynn • Lives & Creates Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood • Degree BFA in Photography from The University of Akron


hotographer Shane Wynn isn’t just a storyteller, she’s an advocate for those whose stories seldom get the attention they deserve. “All of my work surrounds protecting people’s right to dignity, safety and access to opportunity,” says the 42-year-old Wynn. And her art doesn’t whisper, it shouts. Each of her large-scale portraits is a life-like 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide, and each series of portraits is installed in high-traffic locations around Akron. For example, “Overlooked,” can be found on the Towpath Trail Bridge over Route 59 in Akron. Those portraits depict empowered women set against the backdrop of underutilized spaces in the city. The women and spaces share an unfortunate quality: neglected potential. Another series, “Pride in Our Neighborhood,” consisted of portraits of residents of Akron’s Summit Lake neighborhood, which Wynn describes as a “marginalized population,” and was positioned along the Towpath Trail there to connect residents with Towpath users. Wynn’s most recent series chronicles the journeys of immigrants and refugees now residing in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood. Her interest was piqued by a desire to learn more about the cultures and countries represented by the ethnically dressed pedestrians she’d see along the neighborhood’s East Tallmadge Avenue. What she found were refugees from Bhutan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, immigrants from Mexico and Italy, Hmong asylum seekers from China by way of Laos, and multiple people

In this image is Maria Gomez with her daughter, Silvia Landino Pilcher; granddaughter, Kimberly Pilcher; and great-grandson, Zidane Mata. Pilcher immigrated from Mexico in 1988 and moved from Florida to Akron in 1993. She now owns a grocery store in North Akron called San Miguel, which offers food items from Mexico and other parts of Latin America. Image courtesy of the artist.

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From left, Tha Dah with her mother, Paw Eh. The two immigrated to Akron in 2011 from a refugee camp in Thailand. They became refugees after Burmese soldiers tried to kill them. Image courtesy of the artist. originally from Myanmar (Burma) who came to America from a refugee camp in Thailand. Wynn’s portraits of these families – again 6 feet by 4 feet, this time installed throughout North Hill – group older family members, many of whom still dress in a manner traditional to their country of origin, with younger, more assimilated family members whose style is modern American. Wynn met with each family and found there were seldom one-word answers to “Where are you from?” In many cases, like that of the Myanmar natives, the circumstances surrounding their journeys were harrowing. “The daughter said, ‘The soldiers tried to kill us. They didn’t want us living on their land,’” she says. “There was no place for them to go, they saw a lot of people die, and with all its simplicity, (that response) really drives home why people are refugees and have to find new lives.” As the daughter of a first-generation Austrian immigrant, the topic hits close to home for Wynn. Through this portrait series, she hopes to shift the narrative on immigration. “I’m aware of people’s pushback against immigration. It’s a complicated conversation, but that’s why I do the work,” she says. “I understand the negative connotations associated with immigrants and refugees; I’m trying to counter that with positive representation.”


NORTH HILL PORTRAIT SERIES Trolley tours of Shane Wynn’s North Hill portrait series showcasing immigrants and refugees are scheduled for 2 and 3 p.m. Dec. 1. Each tour is led by the artist and will depart from The Exchange House, 760 Elma St., Akron. For more information, visit

DEXTER DAVIS • Lives & Creates Cleveland’s Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood • Degree BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art

“SOS, Blackface” by Dexter Davis (2018); print, collage, 12 x 15 inches each. Image courtesy of Progressive Insurance.


ike the human condition, much of Dexter Davis’ work in recent years has been multilayered and multifaceted. It demands viewers look closer, deeper, repeatedly – and then reflect on the experience. That introspective formula has helped Davis, 53, navigate some of life’s challenges, like growing up in Cleveland’s riot-heavy Hough neighborhood in the 1960s and ’70s and losing his mother at an early age. For viewers of his art, he hopes it might lead to increased understanding of the themes he explores, including police brutality, poverty and widening socioeconomic gaps. The common denominator is his focus on the human element. “All of my work is different ... but when it comes down to it, it’s about humanity,” he says. “That’s what I’m concerned with – humanity itself.” Davis’ art challenges. His newest work, “SOS, Blackface,” on view in the Full Fathom Five group show at Progressive Insurance in Mayfield Village, consists of nine portraits of unnamed identities in a tight grid formation. The multimedia prints require viewers to examine their reactions to Davis’ color combinations, intricate designs and wide range of materials (charcoal, wood block prints, watercolor and graphite).


“White Light/Black Face” by Dexter Davis (2010); collage, watercolor and found paper, 30 x 21 inches. John and Allyn Davies/Merrymeeting Group Collection. Image courtesy of the artist. “Most of the work, when I put it together, it’s made up of many,” he explains. “When you look closely, you see the faces are made out of people – all types of people. Each face has several different parts to it that make it what it is. “Many makes one, sometimes. The force of many makes one,” he adds. “‘SOS, Blackface’ ... basically, it’s about if everybody works together, things can happen.” The piece evolved from several of Davis’ previous works, including “SOS,” a series of prints about the interaction between police and African-American communities; “White Light/Black Face,” a piece about black-on-black crime; and “Twelve Dead,” a series about shooting victims. Davis feels the personal suffering inherent in those societal problems goes largely unnoticed, but he hopes his art helps plug that hole in a way that builds better understanding of the issues and brings about meaningful change. “My art communicates something to people, but it’s up to the people to embrace it or look at it,” he says. “I don’t really want to be preachy, because I don’t like when people preach to me, but I want to give people a space – a bridge, I always say, so they can come across slowly and see what’s going on.”

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acerbic Ali Black • Lives & Creates Shaker Heights • Degrees BA in English and Literature, BA in Communication and MA in English Language and Literature, all from The University of Toledo Donald Black Jr. • Lives & Creates Shaker Heights • Degree BS in commercial photography from Ohio University Gabriel Gonzalez • Lives & Creates Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood


any in Northeast Ohio likely got their first taste of acerbic at MOCA Cleveland’s summer 2017 group exhibition, “Constant as the Sun,” where visitors were absorbed in the trio’s installation exploring life in Cleveland’s so-called Forgotten Triangle, a long-neglected swath of Kinsman. Donald Black Jr. and Gabriel Gonzalez’s wall-sized photographs enveloped viewers, placing them shoulder to shoulder with neighborhood regulars in Mt. Pleasant and Clark-Fulton, their respective home neighborhoods. And Ali Black’s poetry – displayed on suspended Plexiglas in front of the photos – vividly and earnestly shared accounts from the streets. Their installation was a highlight of the exhibition, and the three artists, all now 38 years old, consider it a recent highlight of their seven-year partnership. But they aren’t actively pursuing opportunities like that, as other artists might. They’re thinking bigger. They want nothing less than to shift the power dynamic of Cleveland’s art world.

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SENSE OF PLACE All three artists say they’ve often been the only person of color involved in a show or in attendance at a gallery. Black Jr. likens the experience to being in a fish bowl. He questions where – or if – he fits in, and wonders whether he wants to. “I think I was developed in the Cleveland art world as a kid, (but I’m) realizing there isn’t a place for me as an adult in Cleveland’s art world,” he says. “So, I don’t know how much I really want to be a part of it, but I’m already a part of it.” Black says she feels ogled when she’s the only black female (or one of very few) at an arts event. She penned essays in response asking, “Why is the art world so white?” When conversations of inclusion and exclusion are dis-

Both: Acerbic, Inc. installation view for “Constant as the Sun” at MOCA Cleveland (2017). Image courtesy of the artist.

“La Estrella de Mi Bandera No Cabe En La Americana” by Gabriel Gonzalez (2015). Image courtesy of the artist. cussed in terms of only black and white, Gonzalez is quick to remind his acerbic collaborators he’s often the only Puerto Rican in the room or on the walls. “When we go to art shows, I’m not seeing myself,” he says. “And artistically, I don’t see many people documenting Puerto Rican culture – or depicting that there’s a Hispanic culture in this city.” The trio’s response has been multifaceted. For starters, they’ve opened their own space in Mt. Pleasant, called Balance Point, where they’ve held small workshops and worked with children from the neighborhood. “We want to be over here where people are. We want foot traffic. We want young people – we all teach,” Black Jr. says. “(In) a lot of what we’re doing, we interact with young people on a regular basis.” Secondly, they were involved in “Just Like Riding A Bike: Photography Exhibition,” which opened Nov. 1 in a popup gallery at ThirdSpace CLE in Glenville, a space recently vacated by FRONT International. The opening reception was attended by scores of young people, predominantly African-American, some of whom rode their bikes in an indoor open space. The atmosphere was fun and relaxed – precisely the opposite of what the artists typically experience at openings. “It was so home-like. It felt so good,” Black says. “You didn’t feel like an outsider, you didn’t feel out of place. It was a good time, and it was a beautiful thing to see. ... There was


“Your Silence Will Not Save You” by Donald Black Jr. (2018). Commissioned by The City Club of Cleveland as part of the “Freedom of Speech Mural Project,” this mural can be found at Cleveland Public Library’s Rice Branch. Image courtesy of the artist. powerful work on the walls – meaningful work on the walls – and young people were having a good time.” IMPORTANT IMAGERY In the same way they want their actions to shift dynamics, they want their art to resonate. Gonzalez wants to turn his lens further toward documenting and showcasing Puerto Rican culture. Ultimately, he hopes his imagery will be used for murals in the West Side’s Hispanic communities the way Black Jr.’s imagery is used on the East Side. “I think that’s one thing that’s missing,” he says. “I grew up in this neighborhood – why don’t I see me? Why don’t I see us? ... I go (to Ohio City) and there are all of these murals that have nothing to do culturally with the neighborhood – and they’re painted by white people. What can they tell me about my neighborhood?” Black Jr. admits to not caring whether viewers take away any insights from his work but says he hopes acerbic’s imagery – visual or word-based – gets seared into their memories. Black, on the other hand, hopes her audience – “black people, poor people” – takes some reassurances from her writing. “I always want them to feel a sense of relief that there’s someone out there documenting their experience,” she says. “I always want my audience to feel satisfied and relieved they’re being captured and remembered and talked about.”

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MARTINEZ E-B • Lives & Creates Schaumburg, Ill. • Degrees BFA in Painting from Cleveland Institute of Art; MA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College Chicago


artinez E-B grew up in “105” – or, as outsiders may know it, Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood. And ever since, the 35-year-old multidisciplinary artist has mined the cultural, social and political landscape of his upbringing to build his body of work. Present-day surroundings and goings-on also inform his art. Take, for instance, “Farewells Toys Inc. Kid Youth,” a 2016 series of 32 oversized LEGO-like action figures that depict characters loosely based on those involved in the Tamir Rice tragedy but that also exist in similar police shootings of African-Americans across the country. Personas such as Kid Youth, Inept Guardian, Excuse Screamers and Elected Powers indict all players in these all-toofrequent killings, challenging viewers to examine their own roles. “There’s a certain social responsibility that I push for in my work. ... To me, being socially responsible means you have to challenge ideals. Things you put as powers, you have to challenge them,” he says. “Whether it’s visual art, a video, how you raise your family, the conversations you have with your lover, we have to challenge some of these things – and in most of my work, I think I take that approach.” Among his latest works, the “Philanthropic Patchwork” series may best accomplish that. Each acrylic-on-foam-wallcovering painting depicts bandages on brick walls to challenge the effectiveness and cyclical nature of many nonprofits’ grant-issuing process – especially as they pertain to serving communities like that in which he grew up. “Oftentimes, you have an issue, you put money toward it. If it’s still an issue, let’s see if we can find more money to put toward it,” he explains. “I think I have to question our strategy. Going for a grant and getting the grant doesn’t exactly mean my problem is going to be fixed. It just doesn’t.” “Insert Inclusion” shows a single black brick in an otherwise gold wall, a juxtaposition that questions what E-B calls nonprofits’ “inclusive moments” of diversity; “Well If It Worked Once” places a second, newer bandage next to an identical but older, more faded one, communicating failed

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Michael C. Butz A viewer takes in all four components of “Philanthropic Patchwork” during the opening reception for Martinez E-B’s “B Side” Oct. 5 at Waterloo Arts in Cleveland. past attempts; “Throw a Little More on It” shows one bandage on top of another as if to reinforce the approach to mending a problem; and “For the Kids” shows a colorful, more decorative – yet no more effective – bandage, suggesting deception of success. The works are subtle in delivery but powerful in messaging. With all of his art, E-B hopes his message leads viewers to

alter behaviors on a personal level to effect broader change. “I can do stuff in my little space, and someone else can do stuff in their little space, and now we’re moving a community,” he says. “In time, we can expand to the point where we’re making changes. Those little spaces get bigger. I don’t want to say, ‘power to the individual,’ but those individual decisions go a long, long way.”

Michael C. Butz “From Preacher Mouth to Black Child’s Ears, Curse of Ham” by Martinez E-B (2018); enamel, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 60 inches.

Laura & Gary Dumm • Live & Create Cleveland’s Cudell neighborhood • Degrees Laura: self-taught; Gary: associate degree in art from Cuyahoga Community College

“Burning In Water, Drowning In Plastic” by Laura and Gary Dumm; acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches. Image courtesy of the artists. “Saraband For A Sinking Fantasyland” by Laura and Gary Dumm; acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches. Image courtesy of the artists.


hat drew Gary Dumm to work with legendary comic book writer Harvey Pekar for 30 years was Pekar’s tenacity and honesty. “There was the honesty of a life well-lived with all of the crap a person has to go through in their daily life – the idea that there are no superheroes, but every person has to do things that could be deemed heroic in the course of just getting through their day,” says Dumm of Pekar’s approach. In that vein, encouraging people to make perhaps mundane yet heroic changes to their everyday lives for the sake of the planet is central to a series of environmental paintings Dumm and his wife, Laura Dumm, have worked on in recent years. The couple uses recognizable fictional monsters – Dracula, Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster, Medusa, the Wicked Witch of the West – as light-hearted and approachable hooks. In “Saraband for a Sinking Fantasyland,” a mummy plays violin in front of Disneyland. “The element of humor, I think, is important – so that it doesn’t seem rather pedantic” Gary Dumm explains. Upon closer inspection of each piece, however, environmental tragedy unfolds. In “Saraband,” Dumbo flies away to escape the approaching storm, and Mickey Mouse has to row to and from work at the Magic Kingdom because sea levels

have risen. The violin-playing mummy, at first humorous, feels more like part of the orchestra that played as the Titanic sank. Through it all, no lifeguard is on duty in “Saraband.” In that, the artists reveal the true monsters in the environmental equation: humans. “We want to start creating some kind of conversation,” Laura Dumm says. “We want our art to have a message and teach without preaching too much to sort of let people know, ‘Hey, this needs attention.’” And pay attention they have. One example: Some of the couple’s friends stopped buying bottled water as a result of “Burning in Water, Drowning in Plastic,” which depicts the Creature from the Black Lagoon up to his waist-high inflatable duck in water pollution. “I don’t think we do this series or that we do these paintings if we didn’t want to make a difference,” Laura Dumm says. “I think we always want people to sort of think a little bit more.” Self-described children of the ’60s, Laura and Gary Dumm, 68 and 71, respectively, say they’re no strangers to protest. They also feel it’s incumbent upon them as artists – and upon all artists – to serve as “reporters of what’s going on in their time.” “What’s going on in our time is we have global warming. We have water and air pollution. We have a government that doesn’t care about the environment,” Laura Dumm says. “So, maybe we have to get out there and scream.”

“I don’t think we do this series or that we do these paintings if we didn’t want to make a difference. I think we always want people to sort of think a little bit more.” – Laura Dumm @CanvasCLE

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APRIL BLEAKNEY • Lives & Creates Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood • Degrees BFA in Printmaking and BA in History, both from Kent State University


wo series of work from April Bleakney framing America’s political landscape took shape during overseas residencies in 2018. During her two weeks at Print Shop Aguafuerta Taller in Chile and six weeks at Dundee Contemporary Arts in Scotland, the printmaker would leave her phone turned off except for when she had access to WiFi. “So, I was cut off from my newsfeed,” she explains. “When I’d get to WiFi, all of these notifications would pop up with an onslaught of shootings and civil liberties being threatened.” That confluence of events helped push forward the 33-year-old’s “March Series,” which depicts scenes she photographed while participating in the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, the 2018 Women’s March on Cleveland, a 2017 anti-travel ban rally at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and a 2018 anti-deportation rally in Cleveland. Through her drawings of those photos and touches of watercolor, Bleakney captures the energy and emotion on display during the demonstrations. The prints, she says, are a tribute to the protesters. Bleakney’s “Idiomatic (Body Series)” is a collection of textbook-like anatomical diagrams that take on issues like immigration, mass incarceration and President Donald Trump’s brand of politics. In each, she deftly inserts symbols to replace body parts to convey her message.

“Body Politic (White)” by April Bleakney (2018); screen print, 12½ x 19 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. For example, in “Body Politic,” which depicts a uterus and seeks to address attacks on reproductive rights, eggs inside the ovaries take the shape of U.S. Supreme Court Justices, five on the right and four on the left. Bleakney made the piece following the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy – often a swing vote on rulings over the last decade – to signify an anticipated shift in balance likely to come with a Trump appointment to the bench. And in “Thick Skin,” arteries branching through the skin’s dermis and subcutaneous tissue are represented by blood-red long rifles, a not-so-subtle reference to mass shootings and American gun culture. Receiving floods of news updates on her phone while abroad left her feeling “helpless” at times, Bleakney says. Back home, however, she’s better able to act – and is doing just that. From each “March” print sold, she’s donating to a local organization. For Women’s March prints, $10 goes to Preterm, and from immigration-related prints, $10 goes to Los Niños De Corsos for children affected by the recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in Sandusky. Donations aside, Bleakney hopes her art leaves viewers inspired to get involved. “Maybe they don’t go to marches themselves,” she says, “but maybe they draw a broader inspiration to be active or remain active.”


“Thick Skin (Blu-Raspberry)” by April Bleakney (2018); screen print, 12½ x 19 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

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APRIL BLEAKNEY April Bleakney’s work will be on view as part of “Parallel Echos,” a printmaking group show that opened Nov. 16 at Survival Kit inside 78th Street Studios, 1305 W. 80th St., Suite 303, Cleveland. Her work will also be available for viewing and purchase at Morgan Conservatory’s Morgan Market on Dec. 1-2 at 1754 E. 47th St., Cleveland; Zygote Press’ Off the Wall Holiday Show and Sale between Dec. 8-22 at 1410 E. 30th St., Cleveland; and at Salty Not Sweet Boutique, 2074 W. 25th St., Cleveland.

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n a h g a l l a C hy t o m i T w o H d o o h r o b h g i sees his ne 30 | Canvas | Winter 2018

“The Front Porch,” 2018, gouache on paper, 30 x 30 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.


oving into a new neighborhood requires openness and curiosity. Walk the neighborhood to familiarize yourself with its contours, its complexion, its conveniences and inconveniences. Learn what makes your neighborhood tick, street by street, maybe even resident by resident. Another way to do that is to drive or cycle around the area. Take the time – if you can. Eventually – at least in Timothy Callaghan’s case – this learning, born of many forms and spells of looking and interacting and thinking, generates two kinds of art: smaller, walnut ink drawings and larger, polychromatic gouaches. As Callaghan’s two-pronged art shares subject matter, the drawings and paintings reflect, even comment, on each other. Both iterations make the viewer feel at home. Welcome to Callaghan’s neighborhood. Callaghan’s work is all about place. It is quotidian, strenuously specific and hyperlocal. It’s also vivid and strangely affecting, whether it’s a sun-dappled Glenville backyard or a broadly marked, vintage car in a North Collinwood driveway. Warm, yet neutral, it never succumbs to picture-postcard sentimentality. In mid-October, Callaghan was tying up a virtual residency at The Madison, a building on East 105th Street in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood that served as one of several unofficial homes to FRONT International, the Northeast Ohio art celebration former advertising magnate Fred Bidwell launched this past summer. While he wasn’t a designated FRONT artist, on Bidwell’s invitation Callaghan wound up occupying a studio overlooking 105th Street. There, he developed 15 to 20 pieces reflecting on his temporary neighborhood, a collection he hopes to exhibit at some point. “With these paintings, the process combines three types of observation,” including direct observation and “really working from the source. I do take a photograph with my cell phone as a reference for when I get back into the studio,” Callaghan elaborates. “The third type of observation is just working from memory. You get to a certain point where you’re not looking at the study or a reference, you’re just looking at the painting and remembering colors. But I also don’t feel obligated to get the color exactly right.” Callaghan is bent on streamlining


his process and on expanding outside Northeast Ohio, his focus so far. His modus operandi, he says, involves “leaving the building, going out, drawing in walnut ink for a while” to make a tighter study, “then scaling that up to a larger gouache.” “They’re certainly not en plein air paintings,” he says, referencing a technique pioneered by 20th century French landscape painters. “I like beginning on location because there are things that happen that you just don’t anticipate, and I like drawing or painting from other senses like smells and sounds,” he says. Such openness “leads the process somewhere else.”

STRETCHING OUT Born in Toledo in 1976, Callaghan grew up in Temperance, Mich., a “very rural” Toledo suburb. At the Toledo Museum of Art, a portrait of the poet Frank O’Hara burned itself into his brain. He moved to Cleveland in 1994, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1999 and an MFA from Kent State University in 2005. Callaghan, his wife – artist, seamstress and garment designer Krista Tomorowitz – and their young son, Hayes, have lived in North Collinwood since 2012. For the past four years, Callaghan has taught at Lake Ridge Academy, a private preparatory school in North Ridgeville, and in 2013, he published “One Painting a Day,” a book as much about work ethic as about art. Callaghan is “completely obsessed with 20th century American painters” like Edward Hopper and Alex Katz, and as a kid, he loved seeing Fairfield Porter’s portrait of Frank O’Hara lying on a flowery yellow couch. “I don’t know what it was about that painting,” he says, “but looking at it more in college, it just sort of struck me that (he was) being so, so specific. Something about his

“The Back Porch,” 2018, gouache on paper, 30 x 30 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

Winter 2018 | Canvas | 31

Above: As Callaghan discusses his artwork, walnut ink drawings of Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood hang on the wall of the Glenville studio he occupied during FRONT International. Below: “Diner Dinner,” 2017, gouache on paper, 35 x 35 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. work was specific about a place and time, specific about light and color.” Porter, like Callaghan, painted “everyday life.” The tension that makes Callaghan’s art so compelling involves the relationship between inspiration and artistic creation. How deeply do you have to bond with a place to represent it faithfully, let alone honor it? His art, which celebrates and honors place in making it the story – the figure in the narrative, as it were – may always be dynamic and coiled and forward, which is not a criticism but a hope.

you have to spend a long time to know a place.” “How long does it take to observe, to look at something, to really see it?” is his question. What and how much you see changes over time and accumulates with familiarity, he suggests. Still, he’s always interested in interaction, in how he affects a space and vice versa, and he wants to finish this Glenville

TELLING THE STORY OF PLACE Where Callaghan is eager to explore new terrain, he has come to know North Collinwood especially well and likes being a part of it. North Collinwood, which in effect “chose” him as an artistic subject, became its own body of work. In May, Callaghan exhibited a selection of his North Collinwood paintings at a Maria Neil Art Project pop-up show in the renovated La Salle Theatre on East 185th Street, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare. “It was really emotional for me to see people from the neighborhood come out – probably because they wanted to see the building – but they also had a look at my paintings for a little bit, and I had some great conversations that weekend,” he says, noting they also wanted “to share stories with me” about that neighborhood. “You ultimately want a painting to get someone excited to share a story.” By contrast, he worked in his Glenville studio only from April to mid-October and suggests his Glenville art is “more of a tourist snapshot because I’m not as familiar with the streets;

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Organized entirely by students, who choose the jurors and mount the exhibition, the Cleveland Institute of Art Student Independent Exhibition offers fresh and often surprising approaches to contemporary art.

Feb 16–Mar 18 Opening Reception Fri Feb 16, 6–9pm #SIE73

Cleveland Institute of Art

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Little Italy Holiday Art Walk

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Saturday, December 1, 2018 • 7-9 PM Featuring Local Artists

Jackson Koch Impressioni di’Italia – A Photographic Journey Venetian Evening

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Join us for Art Walks Fri., Nov. 30, 5-9 pm; Sat., Dec. 1, noon – 9 pm; Sun., Dec. 2, noon – 5 pm Show support for your favorite merchant! 12407 Mayfield Road • Cleveland, OH • 216.707.9390 | Small Business Saturday 11/24 11 a – 7 p

Pennello Gallery @CanvasCLE

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Left: “La Shore,” 2017, gouache on paper, 35 x 35 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. Right: “TV & Radio,” 2017, gouache on paper, 35 x 35 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. project, show the results, and maybe take “the show on the road.” As Callaghan winds up in Glenville, he’s still struggling to gauge the amount of time required to experience a neighborhood in order to turn it into art that feels authentic. This struggle is likely to go on, fueling his creations. Callaghan doesn’t want to be a drive-by artist. Depth is his goal. Putting his distinctive stamp on a place is what sets Callaghan apart, suggests Cleveland arts eminence William Busta, who showcased Callaghan in the 2006 debut exhibition of his William Busta Gallery on Prospect Avenue in Cleveland. Callaghan’s “spare style, in which objects appeared to float in dimensional space,” appeals to Busta, as does his paradoxical talent for “making the intimate and public both monumental and ordinary.” If the relative austerity of Callaghan’s drawings memorialize a place, his paintings are, perhaps, more joyous. “I think there is an intention to try to elevate the subject matter, in a way, and I think most of it comes from color,” he says. “I don’t think there’s a typical palette that you’d see that could be called Midwestern,” he adds. “The colors are sort of intensified,” in service to the goal of creating “something that would make the viewer pause.” “Part of his achievement is that he neither romanticizes nor offers the bite of social commentary,” Busta says. “His work says ‘This is us.’ He edits to the essential and uses colors that somehow comfort. “So, the work is about the artist and the city and us.” HONING HIS SKILLS It’s also about technique, Callaghan says. “I’m thinking about ways to make the paintings as efficient as possible … (and) within that, I’ve been thinking about what is the right size for the right area, the scale of it, while keeping it away from being, like, really loose and quick.” He wants “the viewer to see the process, be able to see the raw surface, so that things just kind of show a linear narrative of where the painting starts and ends.” One reason he left oil on canvas for gouache and acrylic paintings on paper is “I like the idea of the paper with one stroke being the sort of pressure point … the paper can only

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take so much abuse, so you can’t just scrape it out and keep painting. There’s this pressure to get it right and that creates an opportunity for something new to happen – or you just rip up the paper and start again.” Working in paper exclusively also means his “mark making” – his strokes often seem analogous to pixels in how they coalesce into what looks solid – had to become more deliberate. “They’re still representational paintings,” he says of his work, “and I’m doing things that are about illusion, especially with light, but there is no illusion to the fact that they are just one mark, one shot, maybe two. Otherwise, you start to destroy the paper.” The drawings, meanwhile, require lots of planning to determine how the light should play. “You can always get something darker but you can’t get it lighter.” The medium of paper – or, more accurately, its limitations – imposes a kind of discipline, he suggests, and “made me think about the process much differently.” His acrylic-based gouaches have a “flatness and a veneer” that present “a different luminosity.” Whether drawing or painting, Callaghan wants to tell a story, even as his own story evolves, even as he’s restless to experience places other than Ohio. “A painting becomes a narrative,” he says. “I made a conscious effort a long time ago to take the figure out of these spaces and focus more on space because I realized that was what I was really interested in: the space. What is that relationship between space and place? It’s like the viewer is part of the connection, part of the conversation, the story that takes it from space to being this kind of meaningful place.”


TIMOTHY CALLAGHAN • Callaghan has works in two shows that opened in November: “Recent Acquisitions,” Nov. 16 to Feb. 15, 2019, at ARTneo, 1305 W. 80th St., #016, Cleveland, and “Continuum: The Cleveland School and Beyond,” Nov. 21 to March 3, 2019, at the Canton Museum of Art, 1001 Market Ave. N, Canton.


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Explore hundreds of opportunities to connect to arts and culture. 14 Bell St | Chagrin Falls | 844.BE.GIFTS | Holiday Hrs: Mon-Wed 10-6 | Thur 10-8 | Fri 10-5 | Sat 10-8 | Sun 12-5

continuum Art of the Cleveland School and Beyond On View

11.21.18 - 3.3.19

Opening Reception FRIDAY 12.7 6 - 8PM

Explore the renowned past and rich future of the “Cleveland School” of artists. In the 1920s, Cleveland’s position as the center for American watercolor painting and its strong connection with commercial and fine art ceramics defined the artists of Northeast Ohio who have achieved an enviable, international reputation. Then and now, artists s teeped in the Cleveland School movement are masters of their media. Come discover their diversity in this original, new exhibition. Presented in collaboration with ARTneo.

Also on View ... Moses Pearl (American, 1917 - 2003). Cleveland Scene (detail), c. 1970s. Watercolor on paper, 29 ½ x 35 ½. Private Collection

The Hoover Foundation


The Matrix Series: Glass Art of Brent Kee Young Eclectic Threads: Marty Young | 330.453.7666

Winter 2018 | Canvas | 35


leveland’s Collinwood neighborhood has a storied industrial history, from serving as a major railroad hub in the 1800s to being a leading World War II-era industrial center. But like many pockets of Northeast Ohio, it’s seen the manufacturing sector that helped build it disappear over the decades. With characteristic grit, Collinwood has adapted. At the heart of the neighborhood’s response has been art, and its main artery has been Waterloo Road, home to the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District. Many (rightly) point to the opening of the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern in 2000 as the unofficial beginning of the district, but the galleries for visual arts that have arisen since play an integral role in infusing the district with creative character and foot traffic – as evidenced by Walk All Over Waterloo, the district’s monthly art walk held every first Friday. The buzz coming from Collinwood these days has less to do with factory machinations and more to do with the artistic momentum generated by the Waterloo Arts District. WATERLOO ARTS The opening of Waterloo Arts in 2002 is where the “arts” part of the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District was born. Executive Director Amy Callahan doesn’t necessarily consider her space an arts gallery, though. To her, it’s a “community center.” “(Waterloo Arts) was the first nonprofit organization in this district and one of the drivers of the arts district developing,” she says.

“We realized there already were artists living in the neighborhood and interested in showing their art. It seemed like a good catalyst for the community. The organization was born out of that.” Waterloo Arts moved in 2004 to a donated building in the center of the district. Since then, it has physically and spiritually been the nucleus of the district, offering educational programs – think after-school programs, summer camps and workshops – and producing the Waterloo Arts Fest every summer, which has become one of the district’s signature events over the 16 years it’s been held. Central to Callahan’s approach is a desire to make sure Waterloo Arts – and the district itself – don’t leave behind the neighborhood’s residents. “We are in a neighborhood that (has) such poverty in it, a neighborhood where the majority of residents are people of color,” she says. “Our challenge is really to develop an arts neighborhood that is also an inclusive neighborhood. Over the years, I’ve really come to understand this is not a silver bullet. I do not pretend this arts development is going to trickle down and solve the problems of poverty and all the very real problems that people struggle with in this neighborhood. But I also believe that people in this neighborhood deserve to have beauty and public art and access to the same things that everybody does in our city.” PRAXIS FIBER WORKSHOP Praxis Fiber Workshop Executive Director Jessica Pinsky says the organization, which opened in 2015, is the result of a changing curriculum at the Cleveland Institute of Art. “They were moving some of the sections of study around, (and) the weaving and dying (portion of the) curriculum was kind of not

Communi builde By Ed Carroll

An array of visual arts galleries in the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District reflect the diversity and creativity of their Collinwood locale 36 | Canvas | Winter 2018

nity ers

The Waterloo Arts gallery during a recent Walk All Over Waterloo art walk, which is held on the first Friday of every month in the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District. Michael C. Butz

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Praxis Fiber Workshop

included,” she says. “I was teaching and working in that department at the time and suggested we take the equipment and open up a separate nonprofit organization somewhere else in Cleveland where CIA students could still receive credit for classes there but still be open to the community.” Pinsky looked at a number of different neighborhoods for Praxis but “fell in love” with Waterloo. “There’s so much exciting new energy here,” she says. “And artists were opening businesses or moving to the neighborhood, meaning there was a sense of community brewing.” Praxis’ affiliation with CIA helps bring in people from outside of the neighborhood, making it a destination gallery for exhibitions of fiber art. Combined with its workshop, Praxis adds to the fabric of Waterloo, Pinsky feels. “It’s a commercial corridor very much nestled in the middle of a residential neighborhood,” she says. “There’s a challenge there to integrate the commercial corridor with the remaining residential area, but it’s also really special because the people supporting the businesses are really part of the community. ... It’s kind of a pocket neighborhood ... like a little special island.” The gallery at Article/Art in Cleveland was packed in October for the opening of “Ceramic Invitational Show,” which was curated by Mary Urbas, gallery coordinator at Lakeland Community College.

In addition to being a workshop, Praxis Fiber Workshop has a gallery space to showcase fiber art – as seen in the recent exhibition, “Landline: Works in Fiber from Coast to Coast.”

ARTICLE/ART IN CLEVELAND Louis and Susan Ross’ Article/Art in Cleveland gallery has called Waterloo Road home for eight years, starting from what Louis Ross calls “humble beginnings” in an unfinished studio. The couple undertook a series of improvements to the space and now run a building with five tenant artists, each of whom has 24/7 access to the studio to come in and work when they desire. “It’s a creative atmosphere,” he says. “It’s kind of low-key, but we have a following and we try to keep the place in a good atmosphere of shared collaboration and creativity.” The Rosses look for artists who believe in art as a healing activity. “Many of the artists have been through different traumas, different events in their lives. It’s part of the reason they make art,” he says. “I’ve found that over the years, it’s amazing, the number of people who are making art for a reason. We try to promote that feeling, rather than just (be) a commercial gallery trying to sell art.” Ross says one thing that makes the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District special is that the residents and businesses that

Michael C. Butz

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BRICK Ceramic + Design Studio

are there are all survivors, and share an understanding they’re not there to gentrify the neighborhood. “We’re a very creative community,” he says. “I just wish more people would come down here and not be afraid to walk around. It’s quite safe. I’ve never had a problem and enjoy the art, (and) some of the artists here really need the (financial) support.” WATERLOO 7 STUDIO/GALLERY Waterloo 7 Studio/Gallery owner and sculptor Jerry Schmidt represents one of four generations of metal sculptors in his family, from his father, Fred, to his son, Tyler, and grandson, Nathan. Schmidt opened his studio 17 years ago and moved into his current space about seven years ago. He works primarily with steel, stainless steel, aluminum and copper and feels his work adds variety to the neighborhood’s artistic offerings. “I think my work allows the mind to expand and think outside the box. You go and look at an album and you know exactly what you’re going in for, or you go to the Beachland and listen to a specific band, you likely know what you’ll get,” he says, referencing the district’s record stores and concert venue. “My work is more; you come in and are like, ‘What the hell, there’s so much craziness going on.’”

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK Framed Gallery may be the newest gallery in the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District, having opened Oct. 5, but managing partner Stacey Bartels is a longtime Collinwood resident. As a result – and like other arts proprietors in the district – Bartels, who’s spent 27 years as an art therapist, brings civic and neighborhood pride to her gallery. Further, she feels her gallery, which


Left: A sample of works made at BRICK Ceramic + Design Studio. Right: “Ginger Rogers” by Jerry Schmidt, owner and sculptor of Waterloo 7 Studio/Gallery.

That isn’t to say his work is inaccessible. In fact, Schmidt tries to educate children about art like his. “The unfortunate part of what’s happening in our school systems is the art is being taken out of our schools,” he says. “So, I’m fortunate to work with the youth. I grab a couple kids from the neighborhood and I teach them to weld. They get knowledge of welding and fabricating, and it’s security and respect money doesn’t have to buy. In a neighborhood like Collinwood, which sometimes doesn’t play fair, you have to have respect. It allows me to have my sculptures up and down the streets and nothing gets pushed over or vandalized. “I teach the kids the abstract, the value of art and what I truly believe: (that) your art is your best friend, your psychiatrist, your lover. In abstract art, there’s no color, religion, no sex, it’s absolute freedom ... and this is what I get to teach!”

Waterloo 7 Studio/Gallery

BRICK CERAMIC + DESIGN STUDIO BRICK Ceramic + Design Studio founder Valerie Goodman says her studio, which opened in 2015, offers students and artists a cooperative and affordable space to create ceramic art. “It’s really about creating a community around the work of ceramics. … Cleveland has a great art community and a big ceramics community, but (BRICK is) sort of like a little hub of artists who are all sharing space,” she says. “We bring people together

who are interested in the medium.” BRICK also holds exhibitions in a gallery space next door to the studio in a building that also houses Six Shooter Coffee. In addition, Goodman says she’s working on obtaining grants that would allow BRICK to provide art classes for children in the neighborhood. Educational programs that give back to neighborhood residents and making resources available to artists are what Goodman feels make the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District special. “It’s chock-full of maker spaces,” she says. “It is sort of quirky, but because it is so art-focused, there’s a lot of great artrelated things all in one place.”

she doesn’t foresee focusing on any one particular medium, adds a new element to the mix. “I don’t think there’s anything like Framed Gallery in Waterloo,” she says, noting she thinks it’s important for art to reflect the community around it. To that point, Bartels hopes Framed Gallery will bring attention to a group of artists she feels is underrepresented in Cleveland: African-Americans.

“I have a very good friend that has an African-American art gallery in Maryland. I’ve spent a lot of time going to Maryland, to her shows, meeting different artists and collecting myself. My parents also have been major collectors of African-American art,” Bartels says. “I’m biracial myself, and I just feel … that’s just where my heart is. I really, really love the artists I meet and I think it’s important – especially for our community.”

Winter 2018 | Canvas | 39

A J Abelman Photography

oming FULL IRCLE By Bob Abelman

Homegrown ‘The Velocity of Autumn’ goes from Broadway to community theater “I admit,” confesses Cleveland Heights resident and prolific playwright Eric Coble, “that it became one of my goals, many years ago, to have a show successful enough that a local community theater would do it, without my involvement, not knowing anyone there, as if they were doing a show by any other national playwright. Then, I’d feel I’d arrived.”

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And now he has. Coble’s “The Velocity of Autumn,” the final installment of a trilogy of plays about one woman at vastly different stages of her life, made its Broadway debut in 2014 at the Venetian Renaissance-style Booth Theatre on West 45th Street. The play addresses the struggle over autonomy we will all face and the con-

versation we will all have with our loved ones in the years of our decline. True to Coble’s signature sardonic sense of humor, “The Velocity of Autumn” opens to find Alexandra – played in New York by 86-year-old Oscar-winning and Tony Award-nominated Estelle Parsons – self-barricaded in her Brooklyn brownstone surrounded by enough Molotov cocktails to take out the neighborhood

so that her estranged children can’t ship her off to a nursing home. And now “The Velocity of Autumn” has come home, having just completed seven highly successful performances at the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre. The CVLT, located just off the charming early 19th century town square in Chagrin Falls, is one of the oldest, continuously operating community theaters in the nation and the beneficiary of local pride imbued with a touch of hyperbole. On the street that houses the unassuming red brick CVLT mainstage and the even less assuming 65-seat former storage space where Coble’s play was performed is a sign that boasts the presence of a “Theatre District.” ABOUT COMMUNITY THEATER It is this quaint civic conceit and a propensity for producing chestnuts written during the Hoover administration that have made community theater an easy target for on-stage satire. Look no further than Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off,” Alan Ayckbourn’s “A Chorus of Disapproval” and Henry Lewis, Henry Shields and Jonathan Sayer’s “The Play That Goes Wrong,” among others. Christopher Guest’s now-iconic mockumentary “Waiting for Guffman” is the poster child for using community theater as a punch line and occasional punching bag. Even the reviews of this 1997 film skewer the plays and the amateur players in them. “(The film) will ring true with anyone who’s ever acted in a community theater production, or worse, had to sit through one,” wrote CNN’s Mark Scheerer. “Community theater can be a very dark thing. Think about it: The dreams of the bright lights of Broadway and one’s face beaming on the front of a playbill replaced by high school auditoriums and a misspelled mention in the local newspaper,” wrote New York Magazine’s Eliot Glazer. Amateur theater has been around since Colonial and Revolutionary War times. But what is now known as “community theater” – a term coined in 1917 – sprang up from The Little Theater Movement of that era. It began as a web of amateur theater activities undertaken across much of the United States between 1912 and 1925 that opposed commercialism in the arts. Its proponents believed theater done locally could be used for the betterment of and self-expression by small communities.


Andrew Toth / Getty Images

Previous page: Eric Coble in attendance at the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre opening night of “The Velocity of Autumn.” Above: Stephen Spinella and Estelle Parsons take a curtain call at the Broadway opening night of “The Velocity of Autumn.” Below: David Hanson and Dorothy Silver in the Beck Center for the Arts production of “The Velocity of Autumn.”

Kathy Sandham These troupes performed in found spaces, such as churches, halls or stables, and were supported by local subscription, which meant they had very small budgets and limited production values. The CVLT did its first productions in the Federated Church gym, and later, in the upper floor of the Old Town Hall a block from the theater’s current location. There were more than 500 volunteer-based community theaters by the end of the 1930s, the number rising tenfold in the subsequent three decades. The American Theater Association served as a central body for these theaters,

which noted that part of the problem in counting community theaters was their unnerving propensity for “multiplying like rabbits and dying off like fruit-flies.” Today, the American Association of Community Theaters believes there are more community theaters (7,000 across the United States and its territories), involving more participants (about 1.5 million volunteers), presenting more performances of more productions (more than 46,000 productions per year), and playing to more people (approximately 86 million annually) than any other performing art in the country.

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Michael C. Butz

Above: Adam V. Young and Margo Parker in the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre production of “The Velocity of Autumn.” Below: Coble is joined by his wife, Carol Laursen, at the CVLT opening night production of the play. Locally, the Ohio Community Theatre Association serves more than 100 member theaters across the state and some 22 community theaters in the northeast region, which includes Ashland, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Holmes, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne counties. The CVLT is one. THE CVLT STEPS UP Rollin Devere, longtime actor with the CVLT and current head of its play selection committee, is all too aware that good contemporary plays rarely make it to the community theater stage in a timely fashion. They get quickly swept up by local professional companies that have priority when it comes to production rights. “But ‘The Velocity of Autumn’ was performed by the Beck Center for the Arts (a professional company in Lakewood) before it went to Broadway,” he notes, and it is slotted for a professional production at Cleveland’s Karamu House in March of 2019. “So, we were able to jump in and secure the rights.” To date, there have been 36 other nonprofessional productions of “The Velocity of Autumn” performed across all regions of the country.

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A J Abelman Photography

The script came to the CVLT’s play selection committee’s attention by way of director Kate Tonti, who pitched the show as one she would like to take on even though she had never seen it performed.

What inspired Tonti’s enthusiasm for the work and resulted in the 13-member committee’s unanimous approval of it – “which rarely happens,” adds Devere – is the small cast, simple staging, relevant subject matter,

A J Abelman Photography Coble holding CVLT and Broadway playbills of his play. Broadway pedigree and the play’s local authorship. “I’ve done many, many shows,” notes Tonti, “but never when the playwright said he was available to see the production. This is very exciting and a bit unnerving.” And there is a hint of apprehension that, like the famous New York producer who was expected to attend an opening night community theater performance in the film “Waiting for Guffman” but did not, Coble might be a no-show for this one. THE PLAYWRIGHT’S PERSPECTIVE But Coble wouldn’t miss this opening night for the world, and like Tonti, found the experience both exciting and unnerving. “I can never relax watching my own plays being performed,” he said while sitting in the second row of the theater waiting for “The Velocity of Autumn” to begin. “Not in rehearsals, not in previews and not in performance. I am always judging lines, watching the acting choices, seeing the direction … I am always having a conversation in my head during a production about the production. This happens when I am watching any play, actually. Occupational hazard.” There are, however, the occasional moments when a performance is so engaging that Coble manages to get sucked into the story and lost in the storytelling. “And that happened tonight,” he said after the production. “It happened


often. I was as close to actually enjoying myself during one of my plays as I can recall, aided by the fact that I had nothing whatsoever to do with getting the play staged.” The aforementioned playwright, Alan Ayckbourn, sat through his fair share of community theater productions of his own plays, noting in a recent article in The Guardian, “It’s like a mother watching her newborn being strangled.” “Not for me,” says Coble. “It’s special watching an audience – any audience – respond to my work.” Rajiv Joseph (“Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo”), another local playwright whose work has gone to Broadway, recalls the advice delivered in a class taught by famed playwright Edward Albee about maintaining control of a play once it is published and goes public: “Be as explicit with instructions for delivering lines as possible.” Coble doesn’t agree and sides with Shakespeare, who was notorious for an absence of stage directions written into his plays. “I have to trust actors, directors and designers with the script. They have to own the work. If I’ve done my job right in the writing, what I intended will end up on stage.” “This is a collaborative process,” he adds, noting that a sense of a creative community is what defines community theater. When reminded that the top ticket price for “The Velocity of Autumn”

on Broadway was $173 while $13 gets you into the CVLT production, Coble attributes the escalated price to the privilege of seeing two award-winning actors performing in a lavish theater with elaborate production values and impressive ushers. “But if the bang you want to get from your buck is seeing a production where the actors find the truth in their characters and in the play,” he says, “then the CVLT production was quite the bargain.” The day the show announced its closing on Broadway, Coble posted on Facebook that he was “feeling damned lucky. What a ride.” After seeing the show done in his own backyard, he had a similar takeaway. “I still feel damned lucky,” he says, “and the ride, most remarkably, continues.”


‘THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN’ “The Velocity of Autumn” will be performed from March 28 to April 21, 2019, in the Arena Theatre at Karamu in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood. For more, visit For a list of Ohio Community Theatre Association member theaters in Northeast Ohio, visit

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Holiday Calendar



8 1

2018 Holiday Happenings Markets | Art Walks | Bazaars Nov. 23 • Black Friday at 78th Street Studios Nov. 23-24 • 10th Annual Crafty Mart Shop • Larchmere Holiday Stroll Nov. 24 • Cleveland Bazaar at Winterfest • Small Business Saturday at Gordon Square • Small Business Saturday at The Screw Factory • Winterfest Nov. 26-27 • 12th Annual Holiday Artists’ Market at Lakeland Community College Nov. 30 – Dec. 2 • The 38th Annual Christmas Arts and Crafts Show • Holiday CircleFest • Little Italy Holiday Art Walk Dec. 1 • Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show Canton • Cleveland Bazaar at Lake Affect Studios • North Union Farmer’s Market Holiday Market • Tower Press Holiday Sale

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Dec. 1-2 • 31st Annual ArtCraft Studio Show • Christmas in Zoar Dec. 8 • WINTERTIDE at Gordon Square Dec. 8-9 • Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show Chagrin Falls • Cleveland Bazaar Holiday at 78th Street Studios Dec. 14 • Hudson Holiday Hop Dec. 14-15 • Holiday Market at The Screw Factory Dec. 14-16 • On Holiday with Cleveland Flea Dec. 22 • Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show Avon • Downtown Canton Flea – 4th Annual Winter Wonder Flea Dec. 23 • Crafty Mart Last Call at Goodyear Hall

Holiday Gift Guide MUSEUMS ARTISTS ARCHIVES OF THE WESTERN RESERVE 1834 E. 123rd St., Cleveland P: 216-721-9020 W: FB: ArtistsArchivesoftheWesternReserve “Vivid Stories: Bess Rodriguez Richard” (Nov. 16 to Jan. 12, 2019) is the inaugural exhibition in the main gallery of Rodriguez Richard as an Archived Artist at the AAWR. “Vivid Stories” will feature expressive landscapes, florals and figurative paintings influenced by the artist’s childhood in Mexico City, as well as her travels throughout the world. On view in the Entrance Gallery will be “Holiday Treats” (Nov. 16 to Dec. 12), our annual members’ show of original small artworks at delicious prices. Join us for “Understanding, Appreciating, Collecting Inuit Art of Canada,” from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. Image: Bess Rodriguez Richard, detail of Overlooking Stonington, collection of the AAWR.

MASSILLON MUSEUM 121 Lincoln Way East, Massillon P: 330-833-4061 W: FB: The Massillon Museum, where art and history come together, recently opened its Studio M contemporary art gallery and the Paul Brown Museum – its “Lessons from the Bench” history exhibit, featuring the great coach Paul Brown and Stephen Tomasko’s “Loyal to the Lot” photographs depicting Cleveland Browns tailgaters, will be displayed through spring 2019. The Stark County Artists Exhibition will fill the main gallery through Jan. 6, 2019. The newly expanded shop includes Paul Brown and football-related items. Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m. A visit is always free.

THE SCULPTURE CENTER 1834 E. 123rd St., Cleveland P: 216-229-6527 W: IG: @thesculpturecenter In the holiday season, don’t forget the plight of immigrants. See the finest in sculpture and expanded media through Dec. 21 with exhibitions that compassionately explore the social and personal displacement of both recent immigrants and long uprooted peoples continuing to strive for acceptance and a place of security in their host countries: Rian Brown’s “Palimpsest” and José Carlos Teixeira’s “Fragments, encounters and representations [ON EXILE].” Calls for Artists are now open for W2S 2020 solo exhibitions for early-career sculptors (closing Jan. 6) and private Master Reviews & Collective Discussion with visiting artist Michelle Illuminato on Feb. 16. Apply on our website.

Image: Paul Brown and football items in MassMu’s shop.

GALLERIES ARTISANS’ CORNER GALLERY 11110 Kinsman Road, Newbury P: 440-739-4128 W: FB: “’Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the store, the season is starting and soon we’ll have more. With Santa on board and Angels about, may the holiday season bring you on out.” Located in Newbury Center, this spacious gallery exclusively features Ohio artists with an extensive and diverse collection of handmade art and gifts. Hosting monthly highlighted art events the fourth Friday of the month in the evening beginning at 6 p.m. Free and open to the public. Visit our website for event and workshop information. Stop in this holiday season for unique gifts and complimentary gift wrapping.

BE.GALLERY 14 Bell St., Chagrin Falls P: 844-234-4387 W: Give your loved ones something truly special this holiday season! A gift from is a gift with meaning. Every piece from is made by hand with loving energy and comes with an inspirational card that is sure to make your friends and family smile. From the littlest handmade bowl to fine art sculptures, has gifts starting at just $12. New this year: zen puzzles, clay cairns, raku rattles, fashion dress sculptures and more! Open seven days a week and open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays. Holiday gifting is easy at!

CLEVELAND PRINT ROOM 2550 Superior Ave., Cleveland P: 216-802-9441 W: FB: At the Cleveland Print Room, we envision a photography cooperative in which artists work together in our community darkroom and workspace. Cleveland Print Room strengthens the community by elevating the art and appreciation of photography. CPR offers several educational programs within our Teen Institute that teach Cleveland’s youth skills in photography and we hold exhibitions of artists from near and wide. We are open Dec. 1-2 during the annual ArtCraft Holiday Sale. Photography will be on display and available for purchase, and there will be something for everyone. Get your holiday shopping done at the Cleveland Print Room!

Image: “Color Factory” by Kristopher Petrenko.


Listings provided by advertisers.

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Holiday Gift Guide GALLERIES FLUX METAL ARTS 8827 Mentor Ave., Mentor P: 440-205-1770 W: FB: Perfect for the holidays, or every day, find a fresh selection of affordable and inspiring gifts at Flux Metal Arts. Explore our expanded Holiday Shoppe, filled with an inspiring mix of handcrafted artisan jewelry and metalwork made by more than 25 emerging and established local artists. Each wonderful creation resonates with the inspired touch of the artist’s hand. Would you rather create your own gifts? Join us for a December class. Open studio bench rental is also available, and we are your local source for specialty jewelry tools and supplies. Visit our website for events, class info and expanded holiday hours, including the Lake County Art Hop Dec. 7-16.

PENNELLO GALLERY 12407 Mayfield Road, Cleveland P: 216-707-9390 W: IG: @pennellogallery 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 objects, ceramics, jewelry, wood, metal, sculpture, unique Judaica, photography and paintings in all media. Find us and like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram! Join us for Little Italy Art Walks Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, 2018, and June 7-9, 2019. Located in the heart of Little Italy, Pennello Gallery is a five-minute walk from Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra. Gift ideas for every occasion. Extended holiday hours for your convenience. Give us a call!

HARRIS STANTON GALLERY 1370 W. 9th St., Cleveland P: 216-471-8882 2301 W. Market St., Akron P: 330-867-7600 W: FB: Give the gift of art this season! Delight everyone on your list with one-of-akind gifts, hand-crafted by local, regional, national and international artists. Harris Stanton Gallery’s collection of traditional to abstractcontemporary art will provide something for everyone’s taste and budget. We also offer a unique jewelry selection, handmade ornaments, gift cards, as well as custom archival framing. At both locations on Small Business Saturday, we will be offering 10 percent off select jewelry and 10 percent off custom framing orders. In Cleveland, we will offer 20 percent off in-stock moulding and preassembled frames. Shop local, and happy holidays!

LEE HEINEN STUDIO 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 abstract. This is a working studio in Little Italy, so it’s best to call before visiting to be sure we’re there. Lee Heinen was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award FY 2017. These unique paintings on mirrored steel reflect the viewer and surroundings. Unlike a glass mirror, small distortions occur in the surface creating an ever-changing image. They come alive when seen in person. Interested in making one a gift for the holidays? Call 216-469-3288.

SANCTUARY ON GREEN KOEHN SCULPTORS’ 1936 S. Green Road, South Euclid P: 216-691-1936 W: FB: Northeast Ohio’s destination gift shop, featuring gifts from their studio and around the world, Koehn Sculptors’ Open House and Christkindlmarkt has offered an unparalleled shopping experience for 39 years. They celebrate the season with exquisite ornaments, nutcrackers, nativities, pyramids, stocking stuffers and everything for the holidays. But there’s more! Yearround, you’ll find jewelry, clothing, purses, yard décor and the distinctive hand-carved sculptures from Norbert and Victoria Koehn. Open every Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through Dec. 27. Their Home Restaurant will reopen in the spring. Please check for updates.

TRICIA KAMAN STUDIO/GALLERY School House Galleries Little Italy 2026 Murray Hill Road, Unit 202, Cleveland P: 216-559-6478 W: FB: TriciaKamanArtStudioAndGallery Tricia’s studio/gallery features her original oil paintings, limited-edition Giclee prints and note cards. Also available are gift certificates. Visits are welcome by appointment. Open for Little Italy’s Holiday Art Walk 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30; noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. Featuring unique holiday gifts. Silhouettes by Tricia Kaman. Schedule a sitting for custom-cut silhouettes of your loved ones. Makes for a special and unique gift! Please call for a scheduled time during the Art Walk ... only takes a few minutes!

Image: “Self Portrait,” 12 x12 inches, oil on mirrored steel. Artwork by Lee Heinen.

Image: “Harper’s Silhouette,” 7 x 5 inches, cut paper. Artwork by Tricia Kaman.

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Listings provided by advertisers.

Holiday Gift Guide EVENTS BOSTON MILLS 7100 Riverview Road, Peninsula P: 800-875-4241 W: IG: @bmbw_av Embrace winter this year at Boston Mills | Brandywine! The pair of ski resorts, located between Cleveland and Akron, offer a diverse array of winter activities that range from no previous experience required to masters of the mountain. With opportunities for children to enjoy the snow as young as 3, there is something for everyone to get involved. Ski the bunny hill or shred our black diamond terrain, the choice is yours. Maybe skiing isn’t your thing, well the resorts offer snow tubing, which is a great family activity! See you on the slopes. Ski packages make great holiday gifts!

HOLIDAY MARKET AT THE SCREW FACTORY Screw Factory, 13000 Athens Ave., Lakewood Friday, Dec. 14: 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. W: FB: Join us for our Holiday Market at the Screw Factory. More than 25 resident studio artists will open their doors, along with more than 65 visiting artists who will fill two floors for all of your holiday shopping needs. This event is free and open to the public. We are collecting non-perishable food items for Lakewood Community Service Center.

MORGAN MARKET / MORGAN CONSERVATORY 1754 E. 47th St., Cleveland P: 216-361-9255 W: FB: In search of a thoughtful holiday gift? Morgan Market features unique handmade goods, art and a special selection of our handmade papers for sale at a discounted rate. Sip on some mulled wine, shop handmade goods, be merry! We will be hosting two days of festivities to kickoff opening weekend: Dec. 1, 4 to 9 p.m., and Dec. 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We understand that this season can be hectic. Our holiday market will be open and accessible Dec. 1-22 during our gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Image: Boston Mills Ski Resort.

ARTISTS NORTH UNION FARMERS MARKET HOLIDAY MARKET 13209 Shaker Square Saturday, Dec. 1: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. P: 216-751-7656 W: FB: NorthUnionFarmersMarket Join North Union Farmers Market for our annual Holiday Market! The holidays are coming, and receiving a gift made from a local farm, baker, vineyard or artist just makes the season sing! Local artists, makers, woodworkers, jewelers, holiday décor, live wreaths, farmers, local food gifts and Ohio wines! Find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts for your family and friends at this unique, localonly boutique. Saturday, Dec. 1, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 13209 Historic Shaker Square between Dewey’s and CVS. Like us on Facebook. Sign up for our weekly email at Celebrating 23 years!


JOHN W. CARLSON 15121 Clifton Blvd., #2, Lakewood P: 440-812-4681 W: IG: @johnwcarlson John W. Carlson often combines traditional oils with alkyd, charcoal and graphite. Working mostly on large canvases, he applies his medium without sacrificing subtle emotional details. This method allows him to control the negative space, which is vital to the ambiguity that runs through all of the work. John has been accepted into the prestigious Butler Midyear Show at The Butler Museum of American Art. In 2004, his charcoal drawing “Viewpoint” was purchased by the Erie Art Museum and entered into their permanent collection. See John’s work at the ArtCraft Building holiday show Dec. 1-2 at 2570 Superior Ave., Cleveland, Suite 100.

FRIENDS OF CANVAS CHAGRIN YOGA 524 E. Washington St., Chagrin Falls P: 440-247-4884 W: FB: Introductory offer of $40 for 30 days of unlimited yoga, barre and buti classes. Shop at our boutique featuring clothing and accessories by Alo, Beyond Yoga, Blanc Noir, Chaser, Elan, Free People, Lululemon, Noli, Nux, Scandal, Spiritual Gangster, Teeki, Vimmia and Warrior Within. We have everything you need for the perfect outfit that takes you from down dog to date night. Shop our Black Friday sale Nov. 21-25. All clothing is buy one item and get another item at 50 percent off. All sale merchandise will be 50 percent off original price. Now is the perfect time to start shopping for the holidays!

Image: “Cinderella Sleeping It Off,” 2017, 50 x 50 inches, oil and charcoal on canvas. Art by John W. Carlson; Steve Standley collection. Listings provided by advertisers.

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t can be hard to come up with gift ideas for friends and family during the holidays – or any time of year, for that matter. The good news is that Northeast Ohio’s arts community has plenty to offer in terms of thoughtful gifts that will not only please the recipient but will also support local artists, business owners and arts institutions – all of which make invaluable contributions to the region.

To help, Canvas has complied a short list of suggestions for arts-themed gifts that will help shoppers skip the gift-card rack at a chain store and instead pick out a more meaningful gift. By no means is this a comprehensive list, but it should help get gift-seekers started, and in the process, encourage them to consider what else Northeast Ohio’s creative community has to offer.

BOOKS • “Altered Value: The Art of Funny Money” by Josh Usmani Josh Usmani quit his day job 10 years ago to pursue a career as an artist, months before the recession hit the U.S. in 2008. His lifelong money issues ended up inspiring him to use currency itself as his medium, starting from a tongue-

in-cheek political protest and evolving into an exploration of value. He draws on real currency, encouraging readers to question the concept of value and leaving it to readers to decide whether he’s increased or decreased the value of the money on which he draws. “Altered Value: The Art of Funny Money” features more than 150 drawings on currency from more than 35 countries. A

Josh Usmani

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Scott Kraynak

“The heART of Cleveland” by Scott Kraynak. companion exhibition is on view through Dec. 8 at Tregoning & Company inside 78th Street Studios in Cleveland. Purchase “Altered Value: The Art of Funny Money” at or by visiting local bookstores, including Mac’s Backs in Cleveland Heights. Usmani and his book will also be at the Cleveland Bazaar Dec. 8-9 at 78th Street Studios, 1300 W. 78th St., Cleveland. • “The heART of Cleveland” by Scott Kraynak “The heART of Cleveland” by Scott Kraynak features a variety of artwork across many media all linked by one common

connector: Cleveland. The book – which is a companion to an exhibition held this past summer at e11even 2 gallery at 78th Street Studios in Cleveland – highlights the city’s contributions to the arts throughout the years, and includes photos, artwork, poems and reflections by artists who either are from Cleveland or have lived in Cleveland. “The heART of Cleveland” not only showcases talented Clevelanders, it also details why the city itself is so inspiring. Purchase “The heART of Cleveland” by emailing Kraynak at or by visiting Mac’s Backs and Appletree Books in Cleveland Heights; Visible Voice Books in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood; the Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood; or CLE Clothing Co. in downtown Cleveland, University Circle and Fairlawn. The book will also be available during Holiday at the Hub, a pop-up market featuring local artists, from Nov. 20 to Dec. 23 at Hub 55, 1361 E. 55th St., Cleveland. GALLERIES • Heights Arts Browse Heights Arts’ 17th Annual Holiday Store through Dec. 30 for gift options from more than 100 Northeast Ohio artists. Ceramics, jewelry, screenprints, glasswork and handknits are available, as are artist-created holiday supplies like handmade cards, ornaments and handmade Judaica (the latter thanks to support from the Mandel Foundation). Those less interested in visual arts won’t be left out in the cold, either. Also available will be CDs by local musicians and chapbooks by local poets. The holiday store is restocked weekly, so shoppers who don’t see something that strikes them can return the following week for additional options. For more, visit or stop by the gallery at 2175 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights.

“Micro-scape 46” by Susan Danko. Image courtesy of Heights Arts.


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• Pennello Gallery Pennello Gallery in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood specializes in contemporary American, Canadian and Israeli fine arts and crafts. Among the many noteworthy gift options there are votive holders and bowls by Mainebased Baltic by Design, which uses a single block of wood cut by a laser to create a multitude of shapes; “After the Darkness,” an inspiring piece about the resilience of the Jewish people and the heroism of strangers related to the Holocaust by California-based 3D pop artist Charles Fazzino; and a plethora of mezuzahs hand-made by U.S. and Israeli artists, ranging from the minimal to the ornate, and using materials such as metal, glass, clay and precious stones. Consider stopping by the gallery during the Little Italy Holiday Art Walk from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. For more, visit or stop by the gallery at 12407 Mayfield Road, Cleveland.

Michael C. Butz

Cleveland International Film Festival MEMBERSHIPS • Cleveland International Film Festival The Cleveland International Film Festival, which typically showcases more than 200 feature-length films and more than 215 short films from filmmakers all over the world, is regularly one of Cleveland’s most popular events. The next iteration, CIFF43, will take place from March 27 to April 7, 2019. While you needn’t be a CIFF member to see the films, a membership – which is available at several price points – includes perks such as advance access to ticket sales, discounted ticket prices and a discount off CIFF merchandise. In addition, members are sure to feel a sense of satisfaction in helping to ensure CIFF returns for a 44th year in 2020. For more, visit • Local arts institutions Northeast Ohio is home to a number of world-class arts entities and institutions – and all of them offer memberships that can be used and appreciated by their recipients year-round. For theater mavens, Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland has several mem-

Votive holders and bowls by Mainebased Baltic by Design from Pennello Gallery.

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bership levels, which include advance sales, notifications of upcoming events and a special annual reception. For fans of cutting-edge art, there’s the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, which has various membership levels with perks including free admission to exhibitions, free or discounted admission to programs, private exhibition tours and discounts in the gift shop. For those who prefer history, there’s the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, whose members get free general admission, discounted programs, general admission guest passes and a discount in the gift shop. For classical music lovers, the Cleveland Orchestra offers members access to $10 concert tickets, free drink tickets, member events, and when they reserve seating, members get the best available seats. Whether it’s a membership from one of these four places or one of the many other noteworthy organizations in the region, the recipient – and the institution – will benefit. For more, visit,, or

Roger Mastroianni / The Cleveland Orchestra

LISTINGS MUSEUMS 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:


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 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:

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. MCDONOUGH MUSEUM OF ART 525 Wick Ave., Youngstown P: 330-941-1400 W:

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART CLEVELAND 11400 Euclid Ave., Cleveland P: 216-421-8671 W:

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

moCa is a non-collecting museum, creating fresh experiences several times a year. Double Takes is a year-long video and film Image: Field Studio exhibition that pairs seminal classics with 2018. works from today’s most promising artists, paired thematically. Screening list at






1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland P: 216-231-4600 W:

11150 East Blvd., Cleveland P: 216-421-7340 W:

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

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

COLLEGE OF WOOSTER ART MUSEUM 1220 Beall Ave., Wooster P: 330-263-2495 W:

CRAWFORD AUTO AVIATION COLLECTION 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:

11110-6 Kinsman Road Newbury, Ohio 44065 440-739-4128

Tues-Fri 10-6 Sat 10-4 ART•GIFTS•FRAMING Geauga Counties Premier Gallery

Listings are provided by advertisers and as a courtesy to readers.


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


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. ARTICLE/ART IN CLEVELAND

15316 Waterloo Road, Cleveland P: 440-655-6954 FB:

Article/Art In Cleveland gallery, studio and classroom in the Waterloo Arts District provides local artists a supportive community environment for creative growth and artistic development. Visit our gallery shows and open studio evenings each first Friday of the month during “Walk All Over Waterloo.” Check our facebook page for gallery openings and art activities.

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: CONTESSA GALLERY

Legacy Village 24667 Cedar Road, Lyndhurst P: 216-382-7800 247 Worth Ave., Palm Beach, Fla. P: 561-530-4507 W:

Contessa Gallery is a Fine Art Dealers Association Member that offers artworks of exceedingly high quality as well as art acquisition counsel to collectors, museums and institutions. Let the experts at Contessa Gallery assist you in selecting a gift of art that will serve as a legacy and be passed on from generation to generation. THE DANCING SHEEP

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

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.

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15813 Waterloo Road, Cleveland P: 216-832-5101 W:

Loganberry Books Annex Gallery

13015 Larchmere Blvd  Shaker Heights, OH 44120  216.795.9800

Located in the emerging art scene of the Waterloo Arts District, Framed Gallery is an exclusive African American Art gallery in Cleveland. This gallery displays emerging, mid-career and established artists creating contemporary works on paper, paintings, graphite drawings and assemblage. THE GALLERY AT LAKELAND

Sharon O’Connor–Clarke

Lakeland Community College Building D, first floor 7700 Clocktower Drive, Kirtland P: 440-525-7029 W:

Upcoming: “Holiday Artists’ Market,” Nov 26-27; “Visual Arts Faculty,” Nov. 11 – Dec. 12; “Lake & Geauga County Juried Student Art Awards Show,” Jan. 20 – Feb. 9, 2019; celebrate Women’s History Month at “from WOMAN XII,” curated by Mary Urbas, Feb. 24 – March 29. Artist reception: Sunday, March 24. Gallery hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. “Chamber” 15 x 18 in., Pencil, oil on birch, by Jaymi Zents

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

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. 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. VALLEY ART CENTER

155 Bell St., Chagrin Falls P: 440-247–7507 W: FB:

At the forefront of visual arts education in Northeast Ohio for nearly 50 years. Year-round classes and workshops instructed by some of the region’s finest artists. Valley Art Center’s large, updated facilities include five classrooms fully equipped to practice ceramics, painting, jewelry, sculpture and other fine art media.

MUSIC & PERFORMING ARTS CLEVELAND INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION 20600 Chagrin Blvd, Suite #1110, Shaker Heights P: 216-707-5397 W: FB:

CIPC is an arts organization dedicated to supporting the artists who have made our musical heritage their life’s work through our outreach programs, competitions and other events. In 2019, CIPC will present a year-long concert series where audience members can witness breathtaking performances by some of the world’s best pianists. DOBAMA THEATRE

2340 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights P: 216-932-3396 W:

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.

EVENTS 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.

38721 Mentor Ave., Suite 1, Willoughby, OH 44094 (440) 946-8001

Listings are provided by advertisers and as a courtesy to readers.


Winter 2018 | Canvas | 53


“Girlfriends and Lovers” by Mickalene Thomas

By Becky Raspe Culture, fashion, style, confidence, history – senses of these elements are so strongly evoked by Mickalene Thomas’ “Girlfriends and Lovers” they’re palpable. A highlight of the Akron Art Museum’s permanent collection, the richly patterned piece depicts four African-American women in all their fascinating 1970s splendor. Ellen Rudolph, the museum’s chief curator, offers insight into the mixed-media piece. Canvas: What makes this piece noteworthy? What stands out to you, and what would viewers note when they see it at the museum? Rudolph: Among the many aspects of this work that make it stand out is its size. It’s 12 feet wide and 9 feet tall and features four bedazzled women who are dressed up for a night out and exude confidence. The variety of patterns in their clothing and the backdrop fabrics, together with the fragmented floor, make for an extremely dynamic, alluring painting. Canvas: What response or emotions does this piece invoke? Rudolph: That depends entirely on the viewer. For me, the painting is exciting to look at and I am reeled in by many of the details. But, I am aware that the figures are very guarded. Canvas: What’s noteworthy about the materials the artist used or the process she employed for this piece? Rudolph: The artist used rhinestones to highlight areas rendered in acrylic and enamel paint. The rhinestones add light, color and dimension to the surface of the painting. Thomas’ process is very interesting. She assembles the stage sets with textiles and furniture from the 1960s and ’70s. She then invited women she knows to pose in those settings and photographs the scenes. She cuts those photographs apart and collages them together, forming the basis for her painted compositions. Canvas: How does this piece fit into the artist’s larger body of work? Where was she in her career when this piece was created? Rudolph: “Girlfriends and Lovers” is an example of an ambitious large-scale group portrait for the artist. This work

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was created at a time when demand for Thomas’ artwork was on the rise, and it was still accessible to the Akron Art Museum in terms of price. Thomas has since had numerous exhibitions and is internationally known. The artist is currently making films in addition to photography and painting. Canvas: What was happening in the art world - or world in general - at the time that might’ve influenced this piece? Rudolph: Despite decades of black women artists making work intended to reflect the experiences of women in color, in 2008, a monumental group portrait of empowered black women still stood out in the mainstream art market. The artist took elements from Western art history and popular culture and blended them with textile patterns that evoke Africanist tastes of the 1970s. Thomas is essentially inserting black women into a history from which they were previously excluded. Canvas: What makes this piece relevant today? Rudolph: Questions about power dynamics as they relate to how women or minorities are depicted in art play directly into issues that are front and center in the public conversation right now. Thomas is a black woman artist who has depicted strong, black female figures who clearly have control over their own destiny and are not shy about confronting the viewer.

Canvas: Anything else you’d like to mention about this piece? Rudolph: A fun fact about this painting is that the composition of the four women seated at a table draped with a textile is modeled after the cover of a 1973 Pointer Sisters record.


Artist: Mickalene Thomas (Camden, N.J., 1971- ) Details: “Girlfriends and Lovers,” 2008; acrylic, enamel and rhinestones on panel; 108 x 144 inches (274.32 x 365.76 cm). Image courtesy of the Akron Museum of Art. Acquired: It was part of an art program called “Art in Embassies,” which places works of art in U.S. State Department diplomatic facilities around the world. It was hanging in then-U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice’s dining room in the Waldorf Astoria, where top government officials – including President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama – had dined. The museum asked if the painting could become available if it purchased it, and the answer was yes. It was purchased through the Mary S. and Louis S. Myers Endowment Fund for Painting and Sculpture. Find it: “Girlfriends and Lovers” is hanging in the museum’s Haslinger Family Foundation Galleries.


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. 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 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. 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. To learn more about visiting our campus, go to or call 440-423-2955.

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 1,300 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 $8.9 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

The best way to get to know Hawken is to spend time on our campuses.

For more information or to plan your visit call 440-423-2955 or go to

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

Hawken Lyndhurst Campus 5000 Clubside Road, Lyndhurst, Ohio 44124

Profile for Cleveland Jewish Publication Company

Canvas Winter 2018  

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