NORTHEAST OHIO | arts | music | performance
Emerging artists in Northeast Ohio
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Yinka Shonibare. The American Library 2018 (Detail). © Yinka Shonibare MBE. Courtesy James Cohan, New York. Provided by FRONT International. Shonibare will have an installation at the downtown branch of the Cleveland Public Library this summer.
6 Editor’s Note
Michael C. Butz introduces a feature that’s new to Canvas in this issue
8 On Deck
FRONT and center
The inaugural FRONT International triennial will use art to showcase Northeast Ohio and shine a light on its neighborhoods, including Glenville
Noteworthy upcoming openings and events from around Northeast Ohio
16 Who’s Next
Profiles of six emerging artists in Northeast Ohio
30 Future is now
Performance arts audiences are aging nationwide, but Cleveland’s theater community is responding
34 Bruce almighty
After years of success, Shaker Heights artist Bruce Conforti is still going strong
NORTHEAST OHIO | arts | music | performance
36 Events calendar and listings
Plan visits to numerous art, music and cultural festivals in the coming months
42 Continuing community On the cover
Emerging artists in Northeast Ohio
“A Road. A Tree. Evening.” by Kaetlyn McCafferty (2017). Watercolor and gouache, 24 x 32 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
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Howard Alan Events returns to Northeast Ohio with three art festivals
Local listings for museums, galleries, performance art venues and more
think outside the lines Every day, Hathaway Brown students of all ages are encouraged to expand their horizons and see the world in new and exciting ways. Our outstanding academic curriculum is made more vibrant by hands on educational opportunities in all divisions. Creativity and innovation are at the heart of the HB experience, and students make their own unique and beautiful marks within and well beyond our classroom walls. Call 216.320.8767 to schedule your personal tour!
Northeast Ohio’s next generation
Editor Michael C. Butz email@example.com Design Manager Stephen Valentine
s you might expect, I attend numerous opening receptions at museums and galleries throughout Northeast Ohio. It’s something I enjoy immensely for many reasons, but one of the aspects I relish most is discovering new artists whose work simply stops me in my tracks. It’s an exhilarating experience, and one with which I suspect many readers are familiar. Now, for the first time, it’s an experience we tried to capture in print. On Page 16, you’ll find our inaugural “Who’s Next” feature, which spotlights six early-career artists from Northeast Ohio who are gaining notice among their peers and demanding the attention of the region’s arts enthusiasts. Their disciplines range from painting and drawing to photography, sculpture and fiber arts, and they’re the very definition of an emerging artist. “Who’s Next” is a new component of Canvas we hope grows to become an annual feature. I invite you to let me know what you think – and let me know who should be considered for a future “Who’s Next” – by dropping me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also in this issue, we preview FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, which from July 14 to Sept. 30 will bring artists – and audiences – from around the world to Northeast Ohio for a first-of-itskind arts experience. One of FRONT’s hubs will be Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, and we talk to an event organizer, artist and community stakeholder to learn what the triennial’s impact on the neighborhood and region might be. We also catch up with longtime Northeast Oho artist Bruce Conforti, and we check in with a handful of local theaters to see how they’re trying to infuse youth into their business plans as Northeast Ohio’s – and all of America’s – performing arts audiences age. Last but certainly not least, this is the spring issue, which means the Canvas events calendar is back. The comprehensive calendar lists more than 60 arts- and music-focused events being held throughout Northeast Ohio this spring, summer and fall. For a downloadable and printable version of the Canvas events calendar you can hang on your refrigerator (like I do), visit canvascle.com/event-calendar. As you can see, this issue of Canvas is packed with great stuff. I hope to see you at a future opening reception, but if you can’t make it, don’t forget to tag along with Canvas by following us on Instagram at @CanvasCLE.
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6 | Canvas | Spring 2018
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2 Great Art Shows COMING IN JUNE!
Art in the Village
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ArtFestival.com A Howard Alan Event (561) 746-6615
Upcoming events from around Northeast Ohio. Event details provided by the entities featured. Compiled by Michael C. Butz. Black Valve Media / Tri-C JazzFest
Above: “Warm Yellow” by Julian Stanczak, 2014, 24 x 24 inches. Below: “Arrested Motion” by Barbara Stanczak, 2017, 9.5 x 20 x 7 inches. Images courtesy of The Bonfoey Gallery.
Sax-O-Matic performs at the 2017 Tri-C JazzFest. nature as well as her thoughts and imaginings. Sweeping lines and soft structures form detailed sculptures of beauty and elegance. She uses negative space to bring in light and open up what the wood or stone might be hiding. An opening reception with remarks from Barbara Stanczak will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. June 23 at 1710 Euclid Ave., Cleveland.
TRI-C JAZZFEST • June 28-30
THE BONFOEY GALLERY • “Flowing Form: Works by Barbara and Julian Stanczak” | June 23 – July 21 “Flowing Form” will showcase the works of renowned artists Barbara and Julian Stanczak and will take over both floors at The Bonfoey Gallery. Julian Stanczak’s work explodes through his use of color and geometric shapes to communicate his view on light and his life experiences. Through geometric shapes and contrasting colors, he creates illusions that mesmerize and astound viewers. Such works study variations of color and the transforming aspect of how different shades affects the conception of the image. Barbara Stanczak creates fascinating wood and stone sculptures that examine
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This year’s Tri-C JazzFest features eight shows inside Playhouse Square’s historic venues and showcases an eclectic lineup, including Tony Award winners who dazzled on Broadway, a hip-hop artist blending jazz and rap, and musical legends with decades of hits. Among those headliners are Common, Leslie Odom Jr., Dee Dee Bridgewater, Joshua Redman, Terence Blanchard, Grace Kelly, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Snarky Puppy. The JazzFest will also include free outdoor concerts at Playhouse Square from 3 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday on festival weekend. The popular performances will feature local and regional talent selected by a jury of music industry experts. For a full rundown of artists, concert times and ticket/festival pass prices, visit tri-c.edu/jazzfest.
BOSTON MILLS ARTFEST • June 29 – July 1; July 5-8 The 47th Annual Boston Mills Artfest is a nationally recognized fine art show that takes place in the scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park and features a variety of artists from around the country showcasing
various mediums and styles. The event takes place over two completely separate weekends, and for each, there’s a preview party (on June 29 and July 5, respectively) that will feature a selection of food paired with fine wines and Founders Brewing craft beers that patrons may enjoy while perusing and purchasing art. The Boston Mills Artfest runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day of the festival. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 60 and older and for students ages 13-21. Children 12 and younger are free, as is on-site parking. Tickets for the preview parties are $54 with an advance reservation and $64 once the advance reservation dates (June 22 and June 29, respectively) pass.
Boston Mills Artfest Boston Mills Artfest attendees enjoy a drink at one of the festival’s beer gardens.
Slavic Village Development One of the rooms at Rooms To Let: CLE in 2017.
Installation view of Dots Obsession—Love Transformed into Dots (2007) at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 2017. Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1929). Mixed media installation. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York. © Yayoi Kusama. Photo by Cathy Carver. WATERLOO ARTS FEST • June 30 The 16th Annual Waterloo Arts Fest will feature more than 40 local bands playing a great mix of music, local handmade art vendors, food trucks and an exciting mix of innovative and interactive art experiences for all ages. At the Waterloo Arts Fest, you can roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty and give art a try. This community event is produced by Waterloo Arts, a nonprofit art center that also manages an art gallery, public art projects and a community arts center. While in the neighborhood, be sure to visit the many other
galleries that call the Waterloo Arts District home, including Praxis Fiber Workshop, Waterloo 7 Studio/Gallery, BRICK Ceramic + Design Studio and Art•I•Cle: Art in Cleveland. The festival lasts from noon to 7 p.m. and takes place along Waterloo Road, between East 161st Street and Calcutta Avenue in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood.
CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART • “Yayoi Kusama: Inﬁnity Mirrors” | July 7 – Sept. 30 Yayoi Kusama: Inﬁnity Mirrors celebrates the legendary Japanese artist Yayoi
Stephen Bivens / Waterloo Arts Fest
Meg and the Magnetosphere performing at the 2017 Waterloo Arts Fest.
Kusama’s 65-year career. The exhibition spans the range of Kusama’s work, from her groundbreaking paintings and performances of the 1960s, when she staged polka-dot “Happenings” in the streets of New York, to her widely admired immersive installations and the U.S. debut of her recent series of paintings, “My Eternal Soul.” Visitors to CMA will have the unprecedented opportunity to experience seven of Kusama’s captivating Inﬁnity Mirror Rooms, including “Where the Lights in My Heart Go,” exclusive to the exhibition’s presentation in Cleveland. The Cleveland Museum of Art is located at 11150 East Blvd. in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. Tickets for “Infinity Mirrors” must be purchased in advance and are $30 for adults, $15 for children 6–17, and free for children 5 and younger (limit 2 children up to age 17 per adult ticket).
ROOMS TO LET: CLE • July 28-29 Rooms To Let: CLE returns to Slavic Village for its fifth year in 2018. As always, the event seeks to illuminate one of Cleveland’s most diverse and authentic neighborhoods, as it strives to strengthen a community in the midst of recovery with near limitless art. This year’s three vacant homes will be curated by Dana Depew, Scott Pickering and The Visit Arts Collective, who will select dozens of local artists to convert each house room by room, in the end creating one-of-akind works in homes slated for demolition. In addition, vacant lots will be transformed with art installations to create the setting for hands-on activities giving opportunities for attendees to construct their own art. Rooms To Let: CLE will take place from noon to 5 p.m. each day. For updates about locations, visit slavicvillage.org/roomstolet.
Spring 2018 | Canvas | 9
Michael C. Butz
FRONT and By Amanda Koehn
The inaugural FRONT International triennial will use art to showcase Northeast Ohio and shine a light on its neighborhoods, including Glenville
bout 40 years ago, Cleveland-based artist Dale Goode painted a mural depicting abstract, African-American faces at East 105th Street and Superior Avenue in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood. At the time, there were few, if any, murals in the neighborhood despite them popping up elsewhere in the city. Although Goode says his mural was intended to spur prominent displays of art in Cleveland’s predominantly AfricanAmerican communities, like Glenville, the neighborhood’s art scene never gained momentum. In fact, the building on which his mural was painted was torn down just a few years ago. Still, Goode and other community leaders insist the neighborhood’s culture continues to lend itself uniquely to an arts scene that simply hasn’t yet been fully realized. “I think there’s a lot of character, there’s a lot of texture there,” says Goode, who lives near the border of Glenville and Hough and still makes art there. “I think it has an awful, awful lot of potential artistically, aesthetically and culturally.” This summer, Glenville will get an injection of new art in the form of the FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, a regional arts event – the likes of which Northeast Ohio has never seen – that will blanket the area with unique arts programming from July 14 to Sept. 30.
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With hubs of art installations around Cleveland and surrounding cities, the wideranging collaboration between world-class arts institutions – think Cleveland Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Akron Art Museum and the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin – is not only novel for Northeast Ohio, but the United States. It features artists in residence from around the world whose work is being developed around the theme “An American City,” which isn’t singularly Cleveland but innately reflects it. As part of the triennial, a building in Glenville, The Madison, is housing artists in residence as they filter in and out of the city working on installations. Also, six of the
nearly 100 artists involved are working on projects in or about Glenville. FRONT’s founder, Fred Bidwell, says he’s hopeful Glenville’s arts programming will re-introduce Northeast Ohioans to a
Previous page, top: The PNC Glenville Arts Campus, which includes the FRONT Porch, will serve as a place where visitors can engage with artists during the FRONT triennial. Previous page, bottom: “Devils are Actually Angels” by Philip Vanderhyden (2016). © Courtesy of the artist; provided by FRONT International. Vanderhyden will have an installation at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland during FRONT. Above: “The British Library” by Yinka Shonibare (2014). Hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, ﬁve wooden chairs, ﬁve iPads, iPad stands, headphones, interactive Application and antique wind-up clock. © Phoebe D’Heurle; Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, New York; provided by FRONT International. neighborhood that’s nearby yet someplace they’ve likely never spent time. In addition, neighborhood artists like Goode and community leaders are hopeful it could spur a renaissance of art, culture and investment the community has been building toward. FRONT’S FIRST DRAFT The concept for FRONT was developed by Bidwell, a local philanthropist, art collector and co-founder of Transformer Station, an exhibition space in the Hingetown district of Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. Bidwell says after seeing the success of Transformer Station in bringing people to a community – Hingetown is now one of the hottest districts in the city – he wondered what a larger arts concept could bring to the region. “Even though it’s going to be a major arts and culture experience for the people of Northeast Ohio, this is really an economic development project to bring new dollars into the city and to also rebrand the city as a cultural and intellectual hub,” Bidwell says of FRONT’s potential. In Cleveland, programming will largely be found in three walkable neighborhoods:
Ohio City, downtown and University Circle/Glenville. Further, the locations within each neighborhood – and the art inside them – will be expertly curated. “We didn’t just pick these places and projects randomly,” Bidwell says. “They are all tightly bound to the places they are in.” For example, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ohio City, a stop on the Underground Railroad, will feature a photography collection by 2017 MacArthur Fellow
Dawoud Bey of Chicago. The photos depict escaped slaves moving north through Cleveland, reconstructing a historic moment of the African-American experience in the city. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland will host a 24-channel video animation piece on American economies by New York artist Philip Vanderhyden. Accordingly, the Cleveland Public Library will have an installation by Yinka Shonibare, of London, depicting books and shelves wrapped in
ON LOCATION FRONT International
Installations and exhibitions related to FRONT will be on view from July 14 to Sept. 30 at about 20 locations throughout Northeast Ohio. Serving as the triennial’s main hubs will be four of the region’s large museums: • Akron Art Museum: 1 S. High St., Akron • Allen Memorial Art Museum: 87 N. Main St., Oberlin • Cleveland Museum of Art: 11150 East Blvd., Cleveland • Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland: 11400 Euclid Ave., Cleveland FRONT’s opening gala will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. July 13 at Public Auditorium in Cleveland and will feature performances by Beijing-based artist collective, Asian Dope Boys. For a full list of FRONT venues and for opening gala ticket information, visit frontart.org.
Spring 2018 | Canvas | 11
“In From the Fields,” by Dale Goode (2006). Mixed media (high-gloss enamel, joint compound, Elmer’s glue, chicken coop wire, floor tile adhesive, fabric); 56 x 74 inches. Courtesy of the artist. African wax cloth and exploring ideas on immigration and borders. A Cleveland Foundation Creative Fusion artist in residence Juan Araujo, of Lisbon, Portugal, will depict themes of architecture and modernism through an array of media at architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s historic Weltzheimer/Johnson House in Oberlin. In Glenville, The Madison, formerly a medical office building named after its original designer and Ohio’s first licensed black architect, Robert P. Madison, was restored to house artists. An adjoining former day care center was also redeveloped as the FRONT Porch, where visitors can engage with artists. Together, they form the PNC Glenville Arts Campus. Bidwell says those spaces were chosen because they presented large, unutilized real estate to serve as a home base for the artists. “(Glenville) is obviously a neighborhood that has been disinvested in for many years, but it’s really got such great bones,” he says. “And with its proximity to University Circle, there is a real potential for revival there.” Goode is among the FRONT artists whose work will focus on Glenville’s history and culture. In transition from his mural days, for the past 10 years he’s
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worked primarily in sculpture, creating installations from repurposed found objects made of materials like steel, old fences and clothes. He recently had work shown at the Akron Art Museum and the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown. For FRONT, he’s working on abstract sculptures made from shredded steel, aluminum cans and copper that will be shown in a lot across the street from the FRONT Porch. “It’s an artistic and aesthetic statement – not so much a political statement, but maybe it will be – about the amount of waste we produce as Americans and as human beings,” Goode says. As an artist who’s a lifelong Northeast Ohio resident, Goode is uniquely positioned to introduce visitors to his part of town – something he hopes will translate into Glenville’s culture being reflected in FRONT. GLENVILLE’S ARTS PRESENCE Back in the 1930s, Glenville was a largely Jewish part of the city, and by the 1960s, it was predominantly AfricanAmerican – as it is today. For 50 years, the neighborhood has struggled with disinvestment and decay while its residents face crime and income inequality.
For the last 20 years, though, Famicos Foundation, a community development corporation, has worked to strengthen the neighborhood and build systematic investments. It’s gradually seen success. For example, a portion of Glenville, Circle North, just north of University Circle, has prospered in recent years. However, Khrys Shefton, director of real estate development at Famicos, says its successes haven’t been felt in the rest of the neighborhood, which extends north to Interstate 90. Further, she says, the areas where investors have pooled their resources – areas close in proximity and appearance to University Circle – don’t necessarily reflect the arts and culture of Glenville. “They associate everything that’s positive about the neighborhood, not with Glenville, but with other things,” Shefton says. “So, the neighborhood’s cultural identity is stripped from it and they say it belongs to other places so other people can feel comfortable coming here. And I think that’s a real tragedy.” Shefton says artists have long lived in Glenville but that the neighborhood isn’t often recognized for that. To that point, while Goode’s 1978 mural has come down, many other murals exist in Glenville. In fact, in February,
ARTFEST SHOW I June 29; Preview Party June 30 - July 1
ARTFEST SHOW II JULY 5; Preview Party JULY 6 - 8
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CAN Triennial to run concurrently to FRONT
Michael C. Butz
While FRONT will bring an international focus to Northeast Ohio during its two-and-a-half-month run, the Collective Arts Network, a Northeast Ohio nonprofit that consists of about 100 area galleries and arts institutions, will aim to highlight local artists as well as the regional arts scene. To accomplish that, CAN will stage its inaugural CAN Triennial from July 7-29 at the 78th Street Studios in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. “The key difference between this and FRONT is we want to add to the excitement and energy of FRONT, and simultaneously take advantage of it on behalf of artists and galleries of Northeast Ohio,” says Michael Gill, CAN executive director, adding that 545 artists from seven counties surrounding Cleveland applied to show work and about 80 will be chosen. The three-week event, which in addition to visual arts will include film and music series, will take over two city blocks and three floors with exhibits revealing beauty, struggle, innovation, resilience and cultural influences, according the CAN’s website. “Curatorially, I think we want to do something that hasn’t happened in a big way in Cleveland in a while, which is to have a large-scale curated overview of artmaking here,” Gill says. “Our Lives Matter!,” a mural by Gary R. Williams and Robin M. Robinson of Sankofa Fine Art Plus, a nonprofit community arts organization in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, can be found at the intersection of East 105th Street and Yale Avenue. FRONT hosted a program, “Glenville Exchanges: The History of Glenville told through its Murals,” to discuss the neighborhood’s wealth of murals, which FRONT participants and visitors would do well to explore. One example of a Glenville mural is “Our Lives Matter!,” an original work by Gary R. Williams and Robin M. Robinson of Sankofa Fine Art Plus, a nonprofit community arts organization in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood. Williams and Robinson also led FRONT’s Glenville Exchanges discussion. On the whole, an increased arts presence would bring to the forefront aspects of Glenville that are cultured and special rather than dilapidated or gentrified. Potential residents and business owners often find murals, art galleries and other culturally
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rich attractions to be inviting, a dynamic that’s been transformative for neighborhoods like Ohio City and Tremont. However, change doesn’t happen overnight, and art – particularly outside art – can’t be the sole component. Shefton says it’s important Glenville residents have an active role in FRONT, and in turn, that outsiders give the neighborhood a chance. Glenville – like many areas in and around Cleveland – would benefit from investment that preserves its culture. To that end, once FRONT has wrapped up, The Madison will become apartments sold at market rate. Bidwell is hopeful the artful component will attract diverse businesses and allow for sustainable revitalization on and around East 105th Street. While Goode says he’s “excited and amazed” to gain exposure and see money
For more information, visit cantriennial.org. come into his neighborhood and city, Shefton seems cautiously optimistic. She says Glenville residents she talks with seem intrigued about the triennial’s potential, though, and the idea that more Clevelanders will come to know and appreciate the neighborhood for the strong culture it’s already cultivated seems like a fair bet. She reiterates, however, Glenville’s success rests more on the shoulders of Northeast Ohioans – artists included – than national or international audiences. “We need to be satisfied that if nobody from any other place in this country ever comes to this place again, it’s good enough for all of us,” she says. “Just embrace it as another neighborhood that has all sorts of cool things for you to visit and do, and you can spend the day there – and spend some money.”
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16 | Canvas | Spring 2018
Who’s Next. Northeast Ohio’s art scene is vibrant and diverse. It’s also constantly growing, a dynamic fueled in part by the region’s art schools and area galleries that showcase and support upand-coming artists’ work. Canvas believes it’s important to champion emerging talent, too, which is why we’re proud to introduce “Who’s Next,” a section that aims to celebrate and call more attention to artists early in their career. To select the artists featured, we tapped local gallery directors – both independent and university-affiliated – for their expertise and insight. The end result is a group of rising stars who are putting in the work and whose art we feel you should see any time their names are affiliated with an exhibition. Their disciplines include painting, photography, sculpture, drawing and fiber arts. There’s even some stage acting involved. What they have in common is that they all represent the next generation of talented artists in Northeast Ohio.
Profiles & photography by Michael C. Butz
Spring 2018 | Canvas | 17
Amber N. Ford Years 23 • Lives South Euclid • Creates Cleveland • Degrees BFA in photography from Cleveland Institute of Art
mber N. Ford wants to correct the narrative. Two of her most prominent photography projects thus far, “In Between” and “By Force & By Choice,” have gained notice throughout Northeast Ohio for the way in which they challenge head-on mainstream media depictions of people of color. “In Between,” which stemmed from her BFA work at the Cleveland Institute of Art, is a powerful collection of images that portrays African-American men as themselves, wearing what they’d wear on a typical day in a space comfortable to them. The works seek to widen the narrow scope through which black men are characterized – often only as criminals or victims – in the news. Similarly, “By Force & By Choice” invites viewers into the homes of refugees and immigrants – in kitchens, on couches, at doorsteps – portraying them as the neighbors and community members they are. The photographs serve to dispel notions one might construct if his or her only exposure to immigrants and refugees comes from news coverage. At a time when instances of racism are on the rise and inequalities must be confronted, Ford’s work is vitally important. “I want people – when they see my artwork or read my artist statement or have a conversation with me – I want them to, after that, think about these interactions they have with people, or these preconceived notions they have of people,” she says. “I don’t really want to just be making pretty pictures. I want to make thought-provoking work, and work to start conversation – and not just conversation, but for people to want to do something about situations they’re passionate about or things that are going on in Cleveland.”
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Previous page, top: Amber N. Ford in her Cleveland studio. Previous page, bottom: “Snakes in the Grass” (2017). Left: “Braid Out” (2018), one of her photos that explore hair culture. Above: “Sister Sister” (2017) from “By Force & By Choice.” Artwork courtesy of the artist.
“By Force & By Choice” accomplished just that. When it debuted in April 2017 at the former ZAINA Gallery at 78th Street Studios, the show included a fundraiser for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. When the show moved to The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood that September, several congregants who saw it started volunteering at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy, Ford says. “It’s nice to have a platform to use my art to be able to say something, and then see someone else be inspired by what I’m saying or be interested in what I’m saying and then take that further,” she says. Ford’s work has been in high demand. It’s been on view at places like Heights Arts in Cleveland Heights, Zygote Press in Cleveland and the Florence O’Donnell Wasmer Gallery at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike. Further, she was recognized in 2017 with an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and recently, “Insufficient Ink,” a wall-sized collection of silkscreen images of a young African-American man that provided further commentary on media portrayals specific to print, was added to Dalad Group’s permanent collection at Worthington Yards in downtown Cleveland. Ford is now seeking to expand on her work, both technically and in terms of her subject matter. In a recent series of photographs, she experimented with how she posed her subjects and shifted her focus to hair culture. Those works were on view in January as part of a group show, “Beau•ty,” at PopEye Gallery at 78th Street Studios. “I’m interested in hair culture – the number of products that are advertised to us and how we just buy into this adver-
tising because someone says you have to have this but there’s a million different companies that are all saying the same things. Now you have 10 shampoos, and it’s like, why?” she says. “How can I explore that topic, whether it’s through photographs, whether it’s video or using the scanner as my camera? I’m trying to branch out a little bit and show people some different stuff.” Regarding the positive response her art has received, Ford says she’s felt “overwhelmed, but in a good way.” “If you would’ve asked me four years ago, what would I be doing now and what would I be talking about, I would’ve never guessed this is what I’d be doing,” she admits. “I feel like everything has been very unexpected, but it’s been nice. People have been super-generous, whether it’s been introducing me to people or giving me the opportunity to show in their spaces or buying work or letting me take their photograph.”
“The first time I became aware of Amber Ford was in a picture in a local magazine. What struck me the most was her quiet confidence and determination. She wasn’t smiling and was not looking into the camera. She didn’t appear to be concerned at all what you think of her or who she should be. … Amber is already making iconic images. She has a brilliant way of capturing the beauty and resilience of the human spirit.” Anna Arnold, director, Florence O’Donnell Wasmer Gallery at Ursuline College | Photo by Rosaria Perna
• Amber N. Ford will be in a show with Juliette Thimmig from May 18 to June 15 at Cleveland West Art League at 78th Street Studios, 1305 W. 80th St., Suite 110, Cleveland. An opening reception will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. May 18. • “Wonder: Alternative Processes and Photo-Based Prints,” featuring work from Amber N. Ford, Tatana Kellner, Yana Mikho-Misho and Bellamy Printz, will be on view from Oct. 19 to Nov. 21 at the Morgan Conservatory, 1754 E. 47th St., Cleveland. An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 19.
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Anthony Warnick Years 35 • Lives Cleveland • Creates Cleveland • Degrees BFA in web and multimedia environments from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design; MFA in sculpture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art
he body of work Anthony Warnick has been building in recent years can be traced back to 1865, the year slavery in America was abolished. It’s a clause in the middle of the 13th Amendment – “except as a punishment for crime” – that fuels his practice because he feels that set the course for today’s disproportionate incarceration rate of African-American men. “There’s a history there that is, for me, the thing we need to be wrestling with as a country right now,” he says. Warnick grapples with it – and wants to make view-
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ers grapple with it – through his art. Specifically, his work scrutinizes for-profit prisons and the overlapping interests of government and the prison industry. “All of the research and writing talk about how much worse it is in for-profit prisons, which essentially are trying to save as much money as possible and are extracting as much wealth out of those incarcerated as possible,” he says. “So, there are all of these small things being born out of this beast.” This ongoing series of work was first shown in December 2016 at SPACES Gallery in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood and was most recently on view, with new pieces, in April as part of a Window to Sculpture Emerging Artist Series 2018 Exhibition at The Sculpture Center in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. “Broadly in my work, I’m interested in social systems – places where we as a society have made systems that we use to organize ourselves or control things,” he says. “Typically, I’m looking for places where those systems do more harm than good – and how often we make a system as a society and then are crushed by it.” Warnick’s research-heavy creative process often includes purchasing things through Ohio Penal Industries, the state organization through which things manufactured in prison are sold. In the studio, he then embarks on determining how to best present the intellectual with the aesthetic so that it resonates with viewers. “The thing art can do that very little else in our lives can is unsettle us to the point where we might start thinking about things,” he says. “The works I’ve been making in this vein are unsettling and not the sort of things, hopefully, that you can walk away
from and say, ‘Oh yeah, I’m glad that exists.’ They’re immoral objects in that they are the product of me purchasing something through a system that exploits people – and I’m the first to admit that makes me complicit in that system. “Hopefully, what that does is it produces objects that are sort of like, ‘Oh, why would someone do this? This is terrible.’ But then, in an ideal situation, with some reflection, (people) realize that many of us are the beneficiaries of this system. “The sort of thing that makes the work unsettling should make us unsettled with the system,” he says. Growing up, Warnick was more interested in public affairs than art. The Washington, D.C. native’s father, before becoming a pastor, worked in politics, and as he grew up and his family moved to Los Angeles and later Kansas City, Mo., Warnick’s interest in political machinations never waned. “I was definitely interested more in politics and social issues, and then I found art in the time after high school but before going to college,” he says. “I sort of bummed around in coffee shops for a while and realized one of the places where you can have interesting, rigorous conversations that aren’t quite as discipline-based as college would be around the arts.” As conceptual as his art can be, it was the physicality of making something with his hands that drew him to art. He pursued sculpture, then, in part because it allows him to engage in his areas of interest. “I’m in sculpture because it’s an open and inviting space, and also, it’s a space where the public sphere and politics have always been intertwined,” he says. “From ancient token sculptures to equestrian sculptures in Europe, there’s always been some sort of understanding that what we make goes into and engages the public sphere.” When he isn’t making art, Warnick, on two fronts, is helping shape the work of young artists in the area. For starters, he lectures on matters of sculpture and expanded media at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Further, he and his partner, fellow artist Kelley O’Brien, oversee The Muted Horn, a project space that hosts solo exhibitions for early-career artists. The 700-square-foot gallery is in the basement of the couple’s home – one of several units in a renovated former seed factory – in Cleveland’s DetroitShoreway neighborhood. “It gives a space that is more experimental and doesn’t have some of the same pressures as a commercial gallery or a large institution, where hopefully things can be more open and experimental,” he says. “Often, especially early in your career, just having places to show work and get people to talk about it is the hardest part.”
Previous page, top: Anthony Warnick in his home studio in Cleveland. Previous page, bottom: “You May Choose” (2017). Prisoner-produced off-set prints from the Pickaway Correctional Institution in Orient, Ohio. Above: “Infinite Sleep” (2018). Prisoner-produced pillows, dimensions variable. Below: “The Pen” (2018). Neon, 12 x 15 inches. Artwork courtesy of the artist.
“Anthony Warnick, a sculptor and performance artist with a strong abhorrence of social injustices, is already making significant contributions to Cleveland’s arts community. Much of his past work paid homage to artists whom he admires, particularly Francis Alÿs, another man of deep conscience. With Anthony’s current concerns about the injustices of the American incarceration system and the, in all forms but name, modern slave labor that the inmates provide, he has come fully into his own as an artist.” Ann Albano, executive director, The Sculpture Center
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KAETLYN MCCAFFERTY Years 30 • Lives Lakewood • Creates Lakewood Degrees BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she majored in drawing and minored in photography
t’s difficult to decode Kaetlyn McCafferty’s art, but that’s by design. The subjects depicted are steeped in mythology, the multiple settings in which they’re placed jumble generations and the pieces’ cryptic titles throw viewers off the trail of discovery. On those levels and others, her art intrigues. Her most recent works – on view in March in her solo show, “Gods and Fighting Men,” at PopEye Gallery at 78th Street Studios in Cleveland – engrossed viewers and had them seeking meaning. “I never want to give away the answers,” McCafferty says. “I want people to have to work, and I also want them to know there isn’t a right or wrong. I use references that are very mixed and things that look like they add up but don’t.” Take for instance “The Vorpal Blade,” a piece that drops the ancient statue Venus Callipyge (literally, “Venus of the beautiful buttocks”) on The Strip in mid-century Las Vegas but with a modern-day peach emoji covering her derrière. Colorful, multilayered, engaging and mysterious, it’s representative of her larger body of work. “The No. 1 question I get is, ‘What does it mean?’ But I suppose there isn’t one single thing. I want them to sort of question the way they develop narrative and how they understand roles, archetype and character – and how do you sort of make sense out of an indeterminable or absurd situation?” A clue to deciphering McCafferty’s art can be found in her familial roots. She’s third-generation Irish on her father’s side, and that culture figures prominently in her work and titles. Mummers – men cloaked in straw costumes who in Ireland would go door to door to perform plays, relying on just a few archetypal roles, and then demand money and leave – are in several of her pieces. “Mummers will barge into a situation and disrupt it, and that’s what they’re doing in the images as well,” she says. “It’s masking
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something, it’s disrupting the understanding of something that would’ve been easier to access without it.” McCafferty also explores the notion of cyclical time, or the idea that history isn’t necessarily in the past but rather is something with which societies are constantly re-engaging. Like “The Vorpal Blade,” “The Spare Ribs of a Besom” combines the ancient (“Hercules Fighting the Centaur Nessos”) with the mid-century (“Bambi,” released in 1942) and the modern (a smartphone in Hercules’ hand). “These things are meant to be not so much anachronistic as they are a conglomeration of everything happening at once,” she says. “They’re not supposed to exist in a specific time or place. They’re not even necessarily in the existing backgrounds (in the art). They’re breaking out of them, they’re standing in front of them, or they’re half in them or half out.” It’s worth noting that McCaffety’s path to “Gods and Fighting Men” wasn’t a straight line. After graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2012, she did a residency and internship but was saddled with student loan debt and living with her parents. Sensing action needed to be taken, McCafferty followed in her father and grandfather’s footsteps and entered the construction business as a pipe insulator. She held – and enjoyed – the job for three years before art again beckoned. “Eventually, I left because it gnawed at me that there was this thing I’d devoted so much of my life to doing and I wasn’t doing it,” she says. “I had started making work again, and once that was all I could think about, I knew it was time to leave. I had to at least try to do something with my work and not get absorbed into the comfort of having a steady paycheck.” The transition back to making art is now complete, but it didn’t come without challenges. “It wasn’t difficult to wake up in the morning and start doing things, but it was difficult to justify – and it was scary. I left something very steady and comforting for total uncertainty,” she says. “It was hard to pick things up right where I had left off, which was my thesis work, and I’d lost touch with the community, too. So, it really did feel like walking around in the dark for a little while.” With her first solo show under her belt, she’s looking forward to where her art goes next. “I have some sketches and some photographic things in mind, but I won’t know until I start making work – kind of trial and error to see what leads where,” she says. “A good friend of mine and I are constantly saying ‘work fixes work,’ and it determines itself.”
Previous page, top: Kaetlyn McCafferty in her Lakewood home studio. Previous page, bottom: “Bitumen” (2017). Watercolor, 24 x 34 inches. Above: “The Vorpal Blade” (2017). Watercolor and gouache, 34 x 30 inches. Below: “The Spare Ribs of a Besom“ (2017).Watercolor and gouache, 24 x 30 inches. Artwork courtesy of the artist.
“One of our goals as a gallery is to host a solo show every year of an emerging artist with a stellar practice and body of work. So, I began to ask around – I talked to local artists, curators and even professors to learn whether there was an artist who had strong work but who hasn’t been showing a ton around Cleveland. We wanted someone fresh, a new artist who could generate some energy in our space, and Kaetlyn McCafferty’s name kept coming up. Once I looked at her website, I knew she was a perfect fit for our gallery. Her detailed archetype figures are so strong and powerful. I was shocked that I hadn’t seen the work in the past.” Omid Tavokoli, owner and director, PopEye Gallery Photo by Keliy Anderson-Staley
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AJA JOI GRANT Years 22 • Lives Garﬁeld Heights • Creates Cleveland Degrees Bachelor’s in psychology, minor in studio art from Cleveland State University
o enter the world of an Aja Joi Grant composition is to engage in the mystical and journey into the mind. The imagery in her photographs – which frequently involves placing humans against the backdrop of nature – is subtle but powerful, and it reverberates. “I’ve always loved nature photography, but it’s hard for me to get that impact with just landscapes. So, I’ll try to get really good landscapes and really good portraits and see what fits together,” she says, explaining a process she’s experimented with since high school but honed only recently, as a student at Cleveland State University. “I might have a photograph of a person and I’ll have a photograph of a river, and I’ll blend them together to show how seamless it can be,” she says. “They’re obviously two different things, but they also can vibrate on the same frequency. “Perception is usually, like, you see one thing and you label it and you see another thing and you label it. If you can bring them
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together, then it doesn’t necessarily have a label – but you can see how they’re unified.” That psychological component to her work isn’t accidental. Grant minored in studio art at CSU but majored in psychology, and the inner workings of the mind factor largely in her work. “I like to make (art) really layered with my intentions,” she says. “Even in college, when we would have critiques and I would tell everyone, they’d be like, ‘Wow, that’s really deep’ because I’d go on for five minutes, ‘I was trying to do this, trying to show this, and it really represents this.’” She doesn’t necessarily seek viewers’ understanding. In fact, in some ways, it’s just the opposite. She hopes they let go of understanding on their way to acceptance – an approach that, as it has for her, can apply to matters other than art. “That letting go of understanding was really important to me because it helps you not get stuck on things,” she says of a lesson she learned both inside and outside the classroom. “‘I don’t understand why they did that’ or ‘I don’t get why somebody would say something like that.’ You don’t have to (understand why others do what they do). It’s their own process for something they’re going through.” Balancing the psychological in Grant’s work is the Kemetic, which relates to ancient Egyptian mythology and deities. “They had a strong connection to nature and astrology, and the natural type of rhythm that would go on, and that’s my main goal, personally, is to not get too swayed by outside forces,” she says. “My art helps keep me grounded, and that’s why I like to go back to that source for inspiration.” She specifically credits her ruling deity, Het Heru, for the presence of water in so many of her works. Her creative process also involves a good deal of research before she composes her works.
Previous page, top: Aja Joi Grant outside and down the street from her Cleveland studio in the Waterloo Arts District. Previous page, bottom: “Connexion,” an image that highlights the parallels of the element of water in a personal experience. Above: “Energy,” an image that highlights the element of earth. Earth corresponds with our physical bodies, and the individual is shown with a very engaged posture, showing a sense of understanding and fully utilizing his physical presence. Left: “Rise.” Artwork courtesy of the artist. “Aja’s work really resonates with me. Her innovative use of space and implied emotional elements, as well as her integration of people with natural elements, speaks to her ongoing dialogue and challenges our place in the natural order.” Shari Wilkins, executive director, Cleveland Print Room
“I really look into the elements I want to incorporate,” she says. “Like, if I want to incorporate astrology or deities or other spirituality, or tarot or anything, I’ll research those types of things to see what elements I can bring into a photograph to resonate with what I have in my head, like colors or shapes or symbols I can use.” Her work was most recently on view in March at the group show “Spitball” at Cleveland Print Room. The exhibition highlighted young, up-and-coming photographers – a characterization that adeptly describes Grant. In addition to showing her work at Cleveland Print Room, Grant serves as a teaching assistant there, working to better the photography of fourth- to eighth-graders from Cleveland Metro-
politan School District’s Campus International School. “I love teaching. Ever since I decided to major in psychology, I’ve tried to work more with kids by teaching and tutoring. Being able to teach art to kids is probably the best part,” she says. “I can kind of see myself in them because I remember being young and being introduced to photography.” She enjoys seeing students experiment and ask questions, and she’s careful to provide answers open-ended enough to let them form their own ideas. The latter attitude stems from when she was a younger artist made to feel as if she had to “mold her work a certain way to fit into the art world.” All in all, she finds fostering her students’ creativity rewarding. “I get to share my experience with them – they’ve seen my photos up at the Print Room,” she says. “It’s interesting to see how they digest art they see and also still hold their own ideas and see how they bring them forward as well.”
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Justin C. Woody Years 24 • Lives Cleveland & Canton • Creates Cleveland • Degrees BFA in painting from Cleveland Institute of Art
ustin C. Woody exudes creativity. He’s taken his talents from blank canvases to intricate looms to center stage, and at each stop, he impresses viewers and audience members alike. The Canton native’s early creative influences were varied, too, but bound by a common thread: family. His mother is a hairstylist and his father a barber, and their beauty-industry artistry left an impression on Woody. His grandparents also provide artistic influence. “My grandpa upholsters couches and my grandma makes dolls. It wouldn’t do well in the art world, but to me, there’s something special about it as far as what it has to do with my
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craft now. A lot of the things that are in my work, I get from them.” In some ways, quite literally. Costume jewelry his grandmother uses for her dolls or to embellish eyeglass cases makes its way into Woody’s work, as does discarded hair from his parents’ professions. These are evident in Woody’s most recent works, a series of tapestries that debuted in November 2017 at “NAPS,” a show with Marcus Brathwaite at Praxis Fiber Workshop in Cleveland’s Waterloo Arts District, where he’d just completed a six-month artist-in-residence program. Some of those pieces also were on view in the group show “Beau•ty” at PopEye Gallery at 78th Street Studios in Cleveland. The large-scale pieces employ colors and patterns that grab one’s attention from across the room, but it’s upon closer inspection that the tapestries reveal themselves. Woody refers to some of his works as indexical collages; the materials – not just what they are but where they come from – have weight to them, and he hopes viewers consider the context. “I really want people to recognize the material I use,” he says. “People need to recognize the material and recognize where it comes from, and the people who use those materials, and how you relate to those people, and how those people relate to you. I want them to have this exchange of culture and knowledge. “Hair is probably one of the No. 1 identifiers to black culture, and next to that is music, dance, food – so many things you can kind of pick up, physically, that speak to that – and I wanted black culture to have space in this art world that’s just kind of white-walled sometimes,” he says. “I didn’t want to make a painting because it would blend in too much.”
Previous page, top: Justin C. Woody at Praxis Fiber Workshop in Cleveland. Previous page, bottom: “Nappy Shit” (detail). Above: “Nappy Shit,” 6 x 10 foot weaving or area rug (hair extensions, dreads, jewelry, blunts wraps, beads, hair barrettes). Below: Mask “My Lip Gloss is Poppin’,” Archival Pigment Print. Printed on metallic paper. Artwork courtesy of the artist.
Woody’s BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art is in painting, but even during his schooling, his interests began to shift. He found other media allowed him to produce work more quickly and on a larger scale than painting, and they allowed him to communicate things he felt he couldn’t in painting. In fact, his BFA work consisted not of paintings but of a series of scans in which he used items he collected to compose abstract versions of faces akin to ceremonial masks from traditional African culture. “I really liked the finished product; I felt the same about it as I did my finished paintings, or better because I knew the material I was using better than anyone else,” he says. “I knew about hair better than anyone else, I knew about the jewelry I was collecting. I kind of got fascinated with embellishment of things that were identifiers to black culture, specifically.” Then there’s acting – an interest he’s pursued just as long as art. He’s performed several times at the Players Guild Theatre in Canton, where he’s taken on roles such as Gator in “Memphis,” Lumière in “Beauty and the Beast” and Snoopy in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” This spring, he’ll play the lead role of Youth in the musical “Passing Strange” at Karamu House in Cleveland. “That’s my biggest role yet,” he says. “And this is my first time working at Karamu. They have a huge reputation, so I’m very excited to work there.” This summer, he’ll embark on a two-year conservatory program at American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. He’ll be studying musical theater and hopes the second year of the program will send him to Los Angeles. For Woody, neither practice takes away from the other, and transitioning between them is “seamless.” “I think that’s why I’m deciding to go back to school for theater, because I put it on the back burner, professionally, for such a long time in pursuing my art career,” he says, “but now I can do them both.”
“Justin Woody graduated from CIA with a degree in painting, though he is an artist whose practice incorporates many mediums, including performance, printmaking, weaving and photographic scans. His recent show at Praxis Fiber Workshop, ‘NAPS’ with artist Marcus Braithwaite, featured a selection of weavings produced during his six-month residency. Woody draws a connection between the process of weaving – combing through, stopping and restarting – to doing hair and its relationship to black identity. He is an artist to watch because he takes chances and isn’t afraid to experiment with different mediums in order to address his subject. Performance is a large part of his practice, which he pulls off with ease, and it’s readable even in his weavings. Not an easy thing to do, but he accomplishes it with charismatic presence and heart.” Nikki Woods, director, Reinberger Gallery at Cleveland Institute of Art
See Justin C. Woody play the lead role of Youth in the musical “Passing Strange,” which will be on stage from May 10 to June 3 at Karamu House, 2355 E. 89th St., Cleveland.
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Melissa Markwald Years 24 • Lives Akron • Creates Akron • Degrees BFA in painting and drawing, The University of Akron’s Myers School of Art
or the past several years, Melissa Markwald’s artwork has turned heads – literally and figuratively. She primarily creates portraits, and her large-scale oil paintings have been on view
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at places like Massillon Museum’s Studio M, the Malone Art Gallery at Malone University in Canton and The BOX Gallery in downtown Akron’s Summit Artspace. Her first major series, 2014’s “Anonymous,” dealt with transforming the unknown into the known. “I was interested in taking normal people and using the medium to make them more important, make them iconic in some way,” she says. “I was taking people no one knew, and people would look at the paintings and say, ‘Oh, that kind of looks like Molly Ringwald.’ There was this expectation that people thought they were supposed to know who the person was, but it was nobody.” She took a similar approach with her 2016-17 series “Rosie,” but for those works, she painted friends instead of strangers. All of her subjects were dressed like Rosie the Riveter, the World War II icon that represented women joining the workforce. While the mid-20th century Rosie was a mass-produced wartime call to action, Markwald’s Rosies are individualized and eminently more relatable to 21st century viewers. Her subjects communicate a wide range of emotions, and together, the paintings offer commentary on themes such as feminism, gender identity and representations of strength. “It was a refreshing series for me because there was a lot of collaboration between me and the subjects,” she says. “I was like, ‘What do you want your painting to look like? What take do you want to have on it?’ Letting the subjects have that decision was really interesting.” The arts community has taken notice. Markwald’s work has repeatedly placed at juried exhibitions in the region, and last year, she earned a scholarship to participate in the summer undergraduate residency program at the New York Academy of Art.
Previous page, top: Melissa Markwald in her Akron studio. Previous page, bottom: “Rya” oil on canvas, 90 x 72 inches. Left: “Margaret as Rosie” oil on canvas 33 x 66 inches. Above: “Jason as Rosie,” oil on panel, 44 x 30 inches. Artwork courtesy of the artist.
“It opened my eyes. I got to meet so many people and learned so much there about technical skill,” she says of her New York experience. “I learned that everyone finds their own way of doing what they want. There’s no one way to be an artist, there’s no one path. Everyone gets what they want out of it.” Markwald didn’t take interest in art until late in high school, but that was enough for her to explore it further while at The University of Akron. She was drawn to the process of making art more than the finished products she created, and she landed on using oil paints instead of acrylics for similar reasons – they force her to stop, let the paint dry and think about her work. In addition to her schooling, she credits her time working at the Akron Art Museum as a “major influence” on her decision to pursue art. “I was a security guard there for six years, and talking to the public about the artwork really opened my eyes to all the different purposes art can serve to different people,” she says. “I was always amazed. People would come in and they’d say something about a
painting I’d seen a thousand times and (then) I’d have to look at it a completely different way.” What’s her favorite painting at the museum? “Opened Box” by Philip Guston. “He used to go to his studio late at night and paint until he did something that made him uncomfortable, and then he’d leave,” she explains. “Every time I look at that painting, I always try to look at his brushstrokes. I wonder at which moment he ended. I wonder what the last stroke was.” These days, Markwald still discusses art with patrons – but it’s now her artwork that’s the topic of conversation. “I think most people, when they see my artwork, they expect they should know what it’s about or know who the person is, but I also get a lot of people who question why I’m doing it,” she says. “To see them perplexed by it, I always find that really interesting.” Markwald adds people assume that because she makes realistic images, there’s no concept behind them. One person in particular, she recalls, questioned one of her straightforward, realistic paintings. “He was like, ‘that’s a really big photograph.’ ‘Well, it’s not, actually.’ I ended up talking to him about it, and he was like, ‘Why isn’t it just a photo?’ We had a long conversation, and then he left. He came back for another opening and was all fired up, and he said, ‘I get it now!’”
“As a student, Melissa pushed herself to make more work and show it at every opportunity – she had obvious ambition and guts. It’s also been exciting to see her post-baccalaureate work grow as she has continued to push her artistic practice by adding varying degrees of abstraction and scale shifts to her portraits. Some of her recent work has begun to address questions of empowerment and gender norms as well. It is especially exciting to watch young artists as they find their voice.” Arnold Tunstall, director, University Galleries at The University of Akron Myers School of Art
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Future is now By Bob Abelman
Lauren Joy Fraley in “Don’t Wander Off” (2017) by Maelstrom Collaborative Arts (formerly Theater Ninjas) Frank Lanza / Maelstrom Collaborative Arts
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Performance arts audiences are aging nationwide, but Cleveland’s theater community is responding
ost of us have read about, many of us have witnessed, and some of us are living proof of the aging of the performing arts audience. The average age of those attending classical music performances, the ballet, jazz concerts and plays is increasing, according to the National Endowment for the Arts. This is not just because the median age of the general population is creeping up; it is the result of one generation of audience members not being adequately replaced by the next. This is particularly true of theater. “Big Data” reports that the vast majority of subscribers to the Cleveland Play House and Great Lakes Theater were born between the mid-1920s and the mid-1940s, followed by members of the early baby boomer generation who were born between the mid-1940s and the mid-1950s. And the average age of attendees for the touring Broadway shows coming through Playhouse Square, according to the Broadway League, is 53 years old. “The audience isn’t graying – it’s always been gray.” Teresa Eyring, Theatre Communications When young, we tend to gravitate toward new artists and new art forms until our interests, income and evenings become more amenable to more traditional pursuits. But in recent years, fewer young people have been returning to the fold. THE WAY OF ‘THE GREAT WHITE WAY’ Broadway’s solution to securing its future, and by extension, the future of national tours of Broadway shows, is to rewrite some of the rules of the hit musical. Just like “Hair” did 50 years ago and “Rent” did 20 years ago, “Hamilton” – which takes the stage in Cleveland from July 17 to Aug. 26 at Playhouse Square’s State Theatre – infuses its storytelling with relevant themes, contemporary music and dance, and colorcontroversial casting to attract Generation Xers and millennials. Many Broadway producers – particularly Disney Theatrical Productions – have set their sights even younger by transforming animated films into live stage musicals. Disney’s first venture was the 1993 adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast,” which had a 13-year run. Its success was eclipsed by “The Lion King,” which won six Tony Awards and has surpassed $1.4 billion at the box office and spawned 24 global productions in eight languages. Currently joining “The Lion King” on Sixth to Eighth avenues between 41st and 54th streets are “Aladdin” and “Frozen.”
catalog is chock-full of properties ripe for stage adaptations for young audiences, including everything from classic Shirley Temple films to family-friendly titles like “Home Alone,” “Night at the Museum,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “Ice Age” and “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” CHANGES ON THE HOME FRONT In recent years, local theaters in Northeast Ohio, including the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, have also been targeting young adult audiences by adding off-kilter, Off-Broadway musicals like “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” “Jerry Springer: The Opera” and “Ruthless” – which tend to feature young actors – to their more traditional schedules. “Every theater has an obligation to its older subscriber base,” says Beck Center artistic director Scott Spence, “but it must also vary its product in order to invest in tomorrow’s audiences.” Blank Canvas, at 78th Street Studios, alternates between modern classics, such as “Twelve Angry Men” and “Of Mice and Men,” and cultist musical comedies that include “Debbie Does Dallas,” “Psycho Beach Party” and “The Texas Chainsaw Musical.” This is part of artistic director Patrick Ciamacco’s master plan to lure younger audiences to the theater via offbeat offerings and then strategically introduce them to the classics. Other theaters offer student discount tickets in an effort to reach teens and 20-somethings with less disposable income than older subscribers. The first Sunday of every Dobama Theatre and Ensemble Theatre production in Cleveland Heights, for instance, is a “Pay-as-You-Can” performance, and Great Lakes Theater in downtown Cleveland introduces more than 15,000 students to theater each year through its discounted “All Student Matinee” performance dates. Cleveland Public Theatre in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood lures in young locals with “Free Beer Fridays,” Steve Wagner / Cleveland Public Theatre
“As Broadway musicals go, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ belongs right up there with the Empire State Building, FAO Schwarz and the Circle Line boat tours. It is hardly a triumph of art, but (it’s) a whale of a tourist attraction.” David Richards, New York Times theater critic Disney’s recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox is likely to produce more of the same on Broadway, considering Fox’s
Raymond Bobgan, left, leads a discussion during Cleveland Public Theatre’s Entry Point 2018 Festival of New Work.
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strategic social media outreach and its innovative and creative risk-taking enterprises, like Entry Point and its annual fundraiser, Pandemonium. Entry Point is a platform for young artists to develop their work in the early stages of creation, and then share that work with young audiences as staged readings, in short excerpts, and through guest panel discussions. “I think Entry Point is one of our best audience experiences, as well as a platform for new play development – and those two things don’t normally go hand in hand. It’s a really fun night. It’s a party.” Raymond Bobgan, Cleveland Public Theatre Playhouse Square and South Euclid’s Mercury Theater open their doors to even younger audiences with their Children’s Theater Series and “My First Musical” program, respectively. POINTS FOR PARTICIPATION All this may get younger derrieres in the seats for isolated events, but to keep them there for the long haul, perhaps it is necessary to not only introduce the next generation to the performing arts but establish a life-long appreciation of and passion for them. Enter Talespinner Children’s Theatre, which began operations in 2011. This Cleveland-based company develops and produces original, one-hour professional productions that challenge young children’s imaginations and are geared specifically for their attention spans and interests. “We engage children as creatively as possible, using all their senses,” says Alison Garrigan, the company’s executive artistic director. “And, we make sure that there is something for every child of every age level and the adults who bring them. If adults aren’t attending or if they aren’t entertained, their children will certainly pick up on this.” Talespinner strives to give children ownership of the show they see and make each performance a unique and personal experience. “So, we ask children in the audience to provide sound effects or invite them to help a character solve a problem, to talk to the actors, and become a part of the story and the storytelling,” says Garrigan.
Jordan Tannahill – author of the recently released manifesto “Theatre of the Unimpressed” (Coach House Books) – argues it’s the “theatrical realism that has become so ubiquitous in regional theaters that is keeping young people away.” In addition to their providing traditional and classic works, he proposes that theaters dismantle the status quo of artistic thought by offering a more appropriate form of storytelling for those “raised on the fragmented narratives of YouTube and Vine loops and the participant-observation of video games.” In Cleveland, some already are. “We create immersive encounters that transform the way people experience the world,” says Jeremy Paul, artistic director of Maelstrom Collaborative Arts. “Combining diverse genres, disciplines and media, we explore new forms of performance and collaboration.” Once a nomadic company known as Theater Ninjas and referred to as the “food truck of Cleveland theater,” Maelstrom Collaborative Arts has put down roots in a storefront in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood and is entering a new phase of existence. “Our upcoming work is putting an emphasis on performance at the expense of ‘theater,’” Paul says. “We are pushing harder into multi-disciplinary experiences and work that requires the audience to play an active role in unspooling the narrative threads. Young audiences want to feel engaged by something unique, that they got to see something special. The performers and the audience need to live in a shared moment.” If these initiatives don’t help attract younger audiences to the theater, perhaps nothing will. Steve Wagner / Talespinner Children’s Theatre
“We try to get children to color outside the lines.” Alison Garrigan, Talespinner Children’s Theatre Finding financial support for this kind of work is an uphill climb. Youth theaters tend to receive less funding from government agencies than adult theaters, according to a recent report in American Theatre magazine. Only 19 of the 277 companies that received NEA theater funding last year were youth theater-focused institutions. Of the 506 organizations that received Shubert Foundation Grants last year, fewer than 40 offered youth theater. WHAT THEATER CAN AND SHOULD BE Coloring outside the lines will eventually lend itself to children having a better understanding of what theater is and what it can do, and it will establish expectations and provide standards with which to evaluate how well it is done. It will also require theaters to offer fare that accommodates the next generation’s conception of what theater can be and should be.
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From left, Wesley Allen, Davis Aguila, Marina Gordon and Emily Jane Zart performing in Talespinner Children’s Theatre’s “The Rainbow Serpent (A Tale of Aboriginal Australia).”
Brendan Murphy (B. 1971 - ) Love Letter, 2018 Oil, Acrylic and Gouache on Canvas, 72 x 96 inches
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B R U C ALMI GH T After years of success, Shaker Heights artist Bruce Conforti is still going strong
Story by Alyssa Schmitt
ruce Conforti describes himself as three things: a father, a painter and a businessman. It’s a mix of those identities that has fueled his decades-long career as a full-time painter whose work can be found in homes and offices across the country and in Europe. His clients, which come largely by word-of-mouth, range from major corporations to superstar athletes, including former Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Kyrie Irving, who had a Conforti painting hanging at his Westlake home before being traded to the Boston Celtics. There are no signs of slowing down for Conforti, either. In early April, he had four months’ worth of commissioned work lined up and was putting the finishing touches on a 5-by-8-foot work that will hang in two pieces at The Carnegie Group office in Solon. “I worked really hard in my life to get to this position where people seek me out to paint,” Conforti says. “It’s nice when you make people happy, too.” Even after years of work, he hasn’t settled on a set process as he approaches a project, except for one part at the beginning. When the blank canvas sits in front of him, he immediately fills it with color, which he considers the most important factor to his work. After that, he gets ideas from what’s in front of him and builds on those. “It’s all about color and creating illusions,” he says. “I want to create illusions by what I put down on the canvas and then I create like a three-dimensional look just by layering things.” He describes his work as abstract expressionism but a new version – his version. When he’s not painting, he studies the works of other painters in the same realm. He finds ideas he likes and combines them with his own style. At first glance, Conforti’s art may appear hectic. But as the viewer explores the crevasses made with each layer of color, a hierarchy emerges through his use of polygonal shapes and unpredictable lines, which brings the piece together. His works convey energy and succeed in commanding attention, serving as the focal point of any room in which they’re displayed. After he’s done with a piece, what does he want people to take away when they see his work? “Whatever they get is fine with me. If people hate my work, I love that too,” he says. “I want controversy, I don’t care. If people get
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An unnamed 7 x 5 foot painting completed by Conforti in 2017. Courtesy of the artist. violently angry when they see me and go, ‘Oh my kid can do that.’ God bless him. It doesn’t bother me.” PAST TO PRESENT Conforti’s life in art started when he was a child and his creativity was nurtured by his parents. His desire to pursue art took him to the Academy of Art College for Design in San Francisco, where he studied from 1973-75. It was there his interests shifted from realism to abstract art. He eventually left San Francisco to spend eight months exploring the museums of western Europe. He then returned to the U.S., and
CTY E Michael C. Butz
Bruce Conforti uses the front room of his Shaker Heights home as a studio. in 1980, he graduated from the San Francisco Institute of Art with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. During that time, he got hooked on the business side of art. In 1974, a piece he had in a group show quickly received a red dot next to it, indicating someone had purchased it. He earned $500 for that piece, inspiring him to do more. “I’m not only inspired to do the work, I’m inspired to get the paintings out there so someone else can see them,” says Conforti, whose home studio is in Shaker Heights. “Then, I’m inspired about making the money because money is a tool, you need it to do other things. For me, (it’s) so I can travel to visit my children.” When he got more serious about selling his work in the 1990s, he identified cities in which he wanted to work, flew to them and stopped by galleries near affluent neighborhoods. He used his business skills – and a photo portfolio of his work he always kept handy – to work with the gallery owners. If they liked what they saw, he’d return to Cleveland and ship his work to them. These days, his work isn’t seen in many galleries. In fact, the only business in Northeast Ohio that currently showcases his art is Surroundings Home Décor in downtown Cleveland’s Warehouse District. As for the rest of Northeast Ohio, Conforti is discouraged by what he says is a lack of risks taken by area arts institutions. Overall, he feels the region’s art scene is great, but he’s eager to see younger artists with fresh perspectives make their mark. “Cleveland is a great art scene but the city is too conservative,” he says, noting he’s in the planning phase of opening an auction house focused on promoting young artists. As the change he seeks in the community unfolds, Conforti will continue to paint and improve upon his craft with each brushstroke. “They say 10,000 hours and you become an expert. Well, I’ve been painting at least 50,000 hours,” he says. “I’m just saying, it’s my life. I love paint, (and) I love color.”
Bruce Conforti This Conforti painting hangs in what was once the Westlake home of former Cavs guard Kyrie Irving.
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Tri-C Jazz Fest
MONTHLY ART WALKS • Canton First Friday • First Fridays by the Falls (Chagrin Falls) • Walk All Over Waterloo! (first Fridays) • Walkabout Tremont (second Fridays) • 3rd Thursdays (downtown Akron) • Third Fridays at 78th Street Studios • Barberton Fourth Friday MAY 4-5 12
Chagrin Valley Arts Hop Lakeland Community College Mayhem 19 Art Fur Animals 19 BAYarts Get Out! Festival 19-20 Cleveland Asian Festival JUNE 1-3 2 2-3 2-3 7-9 8-9 9 9-10 9-10
Little Italy Summer Art Walk Main Street Kent Art & Wine Festival Art in the Village with Craft Marketplace Hessler Street Fair CSU AHA! Festival Canton Blues Fest Parade the Circle Crocker Park Fine Art Fair with Craft Marketplace LaureLive
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Valley Art Center’s Art by the Falls 14-16 Avon Duck Tape Festival 16 BAYarts Art & Music Festival 16 Clifton Arts & Musicfest 16 Ingenuity’s Time Travelers Bal 16 Larchmere PorchFest 16 Wildwood Fine Arts & Wine Festival 23 Cleveland Museum of Art Solstice 27 Hip 2B Square 28-30 Tri-C JazzFest 29-7/1 Boston Mills Artfest Show 1 30 Waterloo Arts Fest JULY 5-8 Boston Mills Artfest Show 2 7 Larchmere Festival 7-8 YSU Summer Festival of the Arts 9-14 Medina County Arts Week 13-15 Cain Park Arts Festival 13-15 Painesville Party in the Park 15 Medina Art in the Park 15 Music in the Valley Folk & Wine Festival 15 Willoughby ArtsFest 21 Headlands BeachFest 27-28 Summer Market (Avon Lake) 28-29 Akron Arts Expo 28-29 Rooms To Let: CLE AUGUST 4 Lakewood Arts Festival 5 Chardon Arts Festival 5 Nature Arts Festival (Geauga Park District) 5 Warehouse District Street Festival 11 Painesville Art in the Park 12 Cedar Fairmount Summer Festival
17-18 Burning River Fest 18 art-A-palooza (Green) 18 PorchRokr Music and Art Festival 18 SPARX City Hop 18-19 Flats Festival of the Arts 23-26 Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival 25 Blue Sky Folk Festival 25-26 Art on the Green (Hudson) 25-26 Cleveland Garlic Festival SEPTEMBER 8-9 Kent Art in the Park 9 Berea Arts Fest 13-15 Heights Music Hop 15 Rocky River Fall Arts Festival 15 Wooster Arts Jazz Fest 15-16 CMA Chalk Festival 15-16 Tremont Arts & Culture Festival 20-28 Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival 21-22 FireFish Festival 22 Music on the Porches (Peninsula) 23 Ohio City Street Festival 28-30 IngenuityFest OCTOBER 3-7 Chagrin Documentary Film Fest 4-7 Ohio Mart (Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens) 4-14 Cleveland Jewish FilmFest
ONLINE Dates of events listed above subject to change. To stay connected with frequent updates about events, museum exhibitions and gallery receptions, sign up for the biweekly Canvas e-newsletter at canvascle.com/signup.
Discover Your Everyday Superpowers at the Maltz Museum
he Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, also known as The Museum of Diversity & Tolerance, celebrates culture and identity to encourage connection and promote a greater appreciation of Jewish heritage and the diversity of the human experience. Each year, an estimated 35,000 guests visit the Maltz Museum to explore stories of individuals and families – past and present – through state-of-the-art exhibitions, interactives and films, oral histories, photographs and artifacts. The Museum includes: The Temple-Tifereth Israel Gallery, a nationally recognized collection of Judaica; An American Story, which chronicles the immigrant experience, the development of Cleveland, the Civil Rights Movement and the Holocaust; and a special exhibition gallery featuring important exhibitions of national and international acclaim. Through An American Story, visitors step into a world filled with inspiring and moving stories of Jewish immigrants – perhaps even their own ancestors and modern-day heroes. David Schafer, Managing Director of the Maltz Museum, asks, “What makes a hero? Is it physical strength or is it the courage to use the strength we have for good? In each of us, there is a hero. Inside, we are strong enough, brave enough and courageous enough to make choices that lift others up. Sometimes, we must even lift ourselves up first so that we can help someone else.” This summer, the Maltz Museum invites audiences to join in celebrating everyday heroes in the community, those who have broken through barriers, overcome obstacles and fought for what they believe in. As Hillel the Elder said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now when?” In lieu of a special exhibition, an Everyday Heroes Activity Center will be in the open space, inviting young families to explore their own everyday superpowers, like kindness, compassion, listening and helping. From a PJ Library Story Book Corner to a Build a Better World Jumbo Lego Station, young children – and the big people who love them – can explore themes of being an everyday hero. In addition, a newly created family-friendly summer tour of An American Story will give younger audiences a fun way to experience the Maltz Museum. Guests can enjoy an Everyday Hero StoryWalk, which is a self-guided, hands-on tour using a children’s book to explore the exhibition. Additional drop-in tours will also be offered throughout the summer, including An American Story, The Temple-Tifereth Israel Gallery and Themes of the Holocaust. Dynamic films on making a difference, lectures and panel discussions on fighting for freedom, performances on breaking through barriers and gallery talks on exploring Jewish Cleveland Heroes, offer something for everyone. “Now is the time to support diversity and inclusion. Now is the time to be an everyday hero,” Schafer said. The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is located at 2929 Richmond Road in Beachwood. Hours are Tuesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and open late on Wednesdays, until 9 p.m. For more information, please call 216-593-0575 or visit maltzmuseum.org
A boy and his mother explore the Maltz Museum’s core exhibition, An American Story
A young family enjoys a Maltz Museum community celebration honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A student participates in hands-on crafts at the Maltz Museum, answering the question, “What do you stand for?”
The 47th Annual Boston Mills Artfest
THE BOSTON MILLS ARTFEST 7100 Riverview Road, Peninsula Friday through Sunday, June 29 – July 1 Thursday through Sunday, July 5-8 P: 800-875-4241 W: bmbw.com/artfest FB: facebook.com/BMBWOhio Boston Mills proudly hosts the nationally renowned Boston Mills Artfest, featuring artists representing more than 40 states and more than a dozen mediums (ranging from woodwork and painting to digital art and sculpture), craft beer, wine, catered Giant Eagle Market District food, live music and an overall fantastic stay-cation getaway in your backyard.
CLEVELAND HISTORY DAYS Friday, June 22, to Sunday, July 1 P: 216-520-1825 W: canalwaypartners.com Ten days and more than 20 ways to explore and experience Cleveland’s history! For more information, call or visit our website.
2017 Howard Alan Art Fest at Crocker Park
NORTHCOAST PROMOTIONS, INC. P.O. Box 609401, Cleveland P: 216-570-8201 W: northcoastpromo.com 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.
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HOWARD ALAN EVENTS Legacy Village & Howard Alan Events, Ltd. 25001 Cedar Road, Lyndhurst Saturday through Sunday, June 2-3 Crocker Park & Howard Alan Events, Ltd. 228 Market St., Westlake Saturday through Sunday, June 9-10 P: 561-746-6615 W: artfestival.com FB: facebook.com/HowardAlanEvents Howard Alan Events is pleased to produce two first-class events this summer. Join us for the 28th Annual Art in the Village with Craft Marketplace and the 13th Annual Crocker Park Fine Art Fair with Craft Marketplace. Both will have 100 artists set to display their works, encompassing fine jewelry, exquisite works of art and handcrafted apparel and décor.
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In the Circle you are Adjacent to Arts... Moments from Music... Close to Culture... Steps from School... Doors from Dining... Whatever brings you to University Circle, stay in the heart of it all and be a part of
History in the Making!
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UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS Edith Bergstrom: Exotic Palms, 4/6 - 6/10 Troyan Tecau: Istoria, 4/6 - 6/10 82nd National Midyear, 7/1 - 7/26 9350 East Market St., Howland, OH
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Daniel Green Retrospective, 5/13 - 7/15 ButlerArt.com Spring 2018 | Canvas | 39
THIRD FRIDAYS 78th Street Studios 1300 W. 78th St., Cleveland 1305 W. 80th St., Cleveland W: 78thstreetstudios.com Every Third Friday of the month from 5 to 9 p.m., more than 60 venues inside 78th Street Studios open up at the same time to present compelling visual exhibits, ambient music, delicious cuisine and pop-up vendors. Every Third Friday is a multisensory art experience like nothing else in the region.
TAKE A HIKE: DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND WALKING TOURS May 15 to Sept. 16 P: 216-771-1994 W: clevelandgatewaydistrict.com It’s the 10th Anniversary of Take a Hike, offering six free guided tours. Five downtown tours: Gateway District, Warehouse District, Playhouse Square, Civic Center and Canal Basin Park and NEW University Circle Tour! Tours feature portrayals of important Clevelanders from the past. Explore and learn about your city in a whole new way.
WAREHOUSE DISTRICT STREET FESTIVAL West Sixth Street & St. Clair Avenue, Cleveland Sunday, Aug. 5th noon – 8pm W: WarehouseDistrict.org A summertime tradition, a day of music, food and friends. Music on three stages, neighborhood restaurant serving up their best small plates, beer gardens, “behind the scene” inside and out neighborhood tours and shop local pop-ups. Crowd favorites: Cutest Dog Contest, Neighborhood Photo Contest and new this year: Bartender Challenge. Stop by from noon to 8 p.m.
WATCH IT WEDNESDAYS Every first Wednesday of the month (except July 4) 78th Street Studios, first floor, 1300 W. 78th St., Cleveland W: 78thstreetstudios.com Step into the heart of the Cleveland maker movement and gain rare, behind-the-scenes access into the experimental world of close to 20 artists as they work on their latest masterpieces before your very eyes. Admission is $15 online/$20 at the door and includes one complimentary drink ticket and a handmade artist gift. First Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.
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Howard Alan Events
Continuing community Howard Alan Events returns to Northeast Ohio with three art festivals By Ed Carroll
oward Alan loves bringing art festivals to Northeast Ohio – something he and his company, Howard Alan Events, have done for nearly 30 years. Why? He credits Cleveland’s enthusiastic art-seeking community, which has supported his festivals over the years. Even if and when shoppers do more browsing than buying, Alan finds his role fulfilling. “I love my job because we’re bringing art to a community,” he says. “It’s healing, good for the soul. They don’t have to buy anything. It’s just very relaxing, a very mellow thing to do to forget about your problems.” In 2018, Howard Alan Events will host three art festivals in Greater Cleveland: the 28th annual Art in the Village with Craft Marketplace, June 2-3 at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst; the 13th annual Crocker Park Fine Art Fair with Craft Marketplace, June 9-10 at Crocker Park in Westlake; and the third annual Flats Festival of the Arts, Aug. 18-19 at the Flats East Bank in downtown Cleveland. The festivals, all of which are free and open to the public, will feature between 100 to 300 artists, both from across the country and from Northeast Ohio. One such local artist, Paul Fletcher of Westlake, plans to exhibit his work at all three shows. Fletcher is an encaustic painter, using beeswax, pigment and some natural tree sap called damar resin. The wax stays hot on heated palettes and
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he then brushes the wax onto wood panels. He typically paints landscapes, wildlife and birds of the region, and he says he exhibits at the festivals because the shows “attract art-seeking people from the Cleveland area.” “(The shows give a) boost in profile and sales,” he says. “They give you exposure with people you might not have come into contact with otherwise.” The shows are a great way to learn who’s buying his art, Fletcher says, since Howard Alan Events requires artists be present at the shows to answer customer questions or describe their process. Fletcher recommends attendees take the time to speak to the artists and says such interaction is mutually beneficial. “It’s great to get to know the people (and) see where your artwork goes,” he says. Howard Alan Events has hosted art festivals around the country for years, and in Northeast Ohio specifically, since 1990. That year, Alan’s inaugural area show was held on the shores of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, a spot the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame now calls home. Since then, Alan’s presence has grown. The Legacy Village and Crocker Park shows are well-established and remain successful, he says, crediting in part the wide range of art at each show as well as the varying price points make items affordable to art enthusiasts at any level.
Above: “Riverwalk” by Paul Fletcher; original encaustic painting on custom-made wood panel, 32 x 48 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Below and previous page: Howard Alan Events festivals typically bring shoppers for art to areas that may not otherwise attract them.
The Flats Festival of the Arts is newer, however, even for Howard Alan Events, which took over that show just last year. One issue Alan had with The Flats show prior to taking over was that the previous operators had an entrance gate and charged an admission fee – major no-nos in Alan’s book. He says none of his art festivals charge an entry fee. The festival is staged along the walkways and roads that weave between places like Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Alley Cat Oyster Bar and Punch Bowl Social, among other establishments. Though that mix of restaurants and bars that result in an influx of people, Alan says his art festival brings people to the district during the day. “Most people stop buying art at a certain hour and the mode turns to drinking and dining and entertainment,” he says. “But (our show) brings a lot of people to The Flats that otherwise might not have come.” Alan is bullish on the event’s future. “The Flats (show) could be one of the top shows in the country if it’s put together properly,” he says. “The Flats is a very special place and it needs a good art show. We’re working with the management at The Flats and they’ve been incredible to work with.”
HOWARD ALAN EVENTS • Art in the Village with Craft Marketplace will take place June 2-3 at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst • Crocker Park Fine Art Fair with Craft Marketplace will take place June 9-10 at Crocker Park in Westlake • Flats Festival of the Arts will take place Aug. 18-19 at the Flats East Bank in downtown Cleveland Howard Alan Events
For more, visit artfestival.com.
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CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
AKRON ART MUSEUM 1 S. High St., Akron P: 330-376-9185 W: akronartmuseum.org
ALLEN MEMORIAL ART MUSEUM 87 N. Main St., Oberlin P: 440-775-8665 W: oberlin.edu/amam
ARTISTS ARCHIVES OF THE WESTERN RESERVE 1834 E. 123rd St., Cleveland P: 216-721-9020 W: artistsarchives.org FB: facebook.com/ ArtistsArchivesoftheWesternReserve
“Blue Belle,” ceramic sculpture by Denise Buckley.
The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve is a regional museum that preserves representative bodies of work created by Ohio visual artists. Through ongoing research, exhibition and educational programs, it documents and promotes this cultural heritage for the benefit of the public. Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.
THE BUTLER INSTITUTE OF AMERICAN ART 524 Wick Ave., Youngstown P: 330-743-1107 W: butlerart.com
The Butler is known worldwide as “America’s Museum.” Founded in 1919 by Joseph G. Butler Jr., it is America’s first museum devoted entirely to American art. The original structure is considered an architectural masterpiece and is listed as a landmark on the National Registry of Historic Places. Admission is free.
1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland P: 216-231-4600 W: cmnh.org
CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART 11150 East Blvd., Cleveland P: 216-421-7340 W: clevelandart.org
CRAWFORD AUTO AVIATION COLLECTION The History Center in University Circle 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland P: 216-721-5722 W: wrhs.org
GREAT LAKES SCIENCE CENTER 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland P: 216-694-2000 W: greatscience.com
LAKE VIEW CEMETERY 12316 Euclid Ave., Cleveland P: 216-421-2665 W: lakeviewcemetery.com
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY MUSEUM Rockwell Hall, 515 Hilltop Drive, Kent P: 330-672-3450 W: kent.edu/museum
MALTZ MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE 2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood P: 216-593-0575 W: maltzmuseum.org
1001 Market Ave. N, Canton P: 330-453-7666 W: cantonart.org
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.
CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF CLEVELAND
CANTON MUSEUM OF ART
3813 Euclid Ave., Cleveland P: 216-791-7114 W: cmcleveland.org
CLEVELAND BOTANICAL GARDEN 11030 East Blvd., Cleveland P: 216-721-1600 W: cbgarden.org
CLEVELAND CULTURAL GARDENS East Boulevard & Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Cleveland W: culturalgardens.org
121 Lincoln Way East, Massillon P: 330-833-4061 W: massillonmuseum.org FB: facebook.com/MassillonMuseum
Energizing cultural excitement in Northeast Ohio, the Massillon Museum is expanding to feature the Paul Brown A folk art tradition Museum and additional galleries, event rooted in railroad space and classrooms – opening this fall! culture. MassMu, where art and history come together, includes a unique shop and café. Annual Island Party: July 20. Relics & Refabs Roadshow: Aug. 25. Free admission!
CLEVELAND HISTORY CENTER
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART CLEVELAND
The History Center in University Circle 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland P: 216-721-5722 W: wrhs.org
11400 Euclid Ave., Cleveland P: 216-421-8671 W: mocacleveland.org
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June 1 - June 24
June 8 - June 23
July 20 - August 12
July 27 - August 11
A summer of Broadway Entertainment right in your neighborhood! for more information, call
216.771.5862 or visit www.mercurytheatrecompany.org
WOLFS Fine Paintings & Sculpture
Edwin Mieczkowski (American, 1929–2017) • Color Wall, 1972 Acrylic on paper • Signed, dated and titled bottom center • 22 5/ 8 X 28 5/ 8 inches
1 3 0 1 0 L A R C H M E R E B LV D CLEVELAND, OH 44120 ( 2 1 6 ) 7 2 1 . 6 9 4 5 i n f o @ w o l f s g a l l e r y. c o m w w w. w o l f s g a l l e r y. c o m
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LISTINGS THE ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME
1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., Cleveland P: 216-781-ROCK W: rockhall.com
14 Bell St., Chagrin Falls P: 844-234-4387 W: begallery.com FB: facebook.com/begallery1
THE SHAKER HISTORICAL MUSEUM 16740 South Park Blvd., Shaker Heights P: 216-921-1201 W: shakerhistoricalsociety.org
The Shaker Historical Society tells the story of Shaker Heights’ past, present and future, from the North Union Shakers to the Van Sweringens. While learning about Shaker Heights history, take a look at the Lissauer Art Gallery, where local artists are featured. A short walk from RTA Green Line’s Lee Road station.
GALLERIES THE ART GALLERY 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 and special gift items. We have abundant glassware, which makes great giftware.
Located in the heart of Chagrin Falls, be.gallery is a unique collection of exquisite American artisan-created pieces that inspire the soul. With more than 50 artists and in all mediums, fine handcrafted art and gifts with meaning are our specialty. Find that perfect unique gift at be.gallery! THE BONFOEY GALLERY 1710 Euclid Ave., Cleveland P: 216-621-0178 W: bonfoey.com
Northeast Ohio’s leading contemporary art gallery featuring works by the finest regional contemporary artists in a two-floor gallery space. Additional services include framing, gilding, hand carving and finishing, installation, art appraisal, art consultation, art and frame restoration, and fine art shipping. CONTESSA GALLERY Legacy Village 24667 Cedar Road, Lyndhurst P: 216-382-7800 247 Worth Ave., Palm Beach, Fla. P: 561-530-4507 W: contessagallery.com
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
Hand-painted and quilted acrylic on vinyl handbag by Roxanna Ahlborn.
20100 Chagrin Blvd Shaker Heights, OH 44122 jumagallery.com | 216-295-1717
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.
FLUX METAL ARTS 8827 Mentor Ave., Mentor P: 440-205-1770 W: fluxmetalarts.com
���� ������� 13015 Larchmere Blvd Shaker Heights, OH 44120 www.loganberrybooks.com email@example.com 216.795.9800
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Our gallery features an inspiring mix of unique handcrafted artisan jewelry and decorative metalwork created by 25 local emerging and established artists. Flux Metal Arts is also a small teaching studio dedicated to offering an engaging variety of jewelry and metalsmithing classes, open studio bench rental and is your source for specialty jewelry tools and supplies.
Creativity Takes Center Stage at Hawken Creativity Takes Center Stage at Hawken Advertisement
Given that Hawken School has always been a haven for creative minds, it’s no surprise that opportunities for students to participate in Given Hawken School has always beenare a haven fortocreative the artsthat abound. While many other schools forced cut funding minds, it’s no surpriseprogramming that opportunities for students to and participate for the arts, Hawken’s continues to grow thrive, in the arts abound. While many other schools are forced to cut funding enabling students to participate at various levels no matter what for the arts, Hawken’s programming continues to grow and thrive, their age or experience. 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 A designated arts wing on Hawken’s Lower and Middle School and performance represents a physical manifestation of Hawken’s campus featuring four classrooms designed for exploration, creation commitment to the arts. Beginning in early childhood, music and performance represents a physical manifestation of Hawken’s educators work with students to reinforce a love of music and to commitment to the arts. Beginning in early childhood, music provide a basis for the development of musical concepts and skills. educators work with students to reinforce a love of music and to Inprovide third grade, are introduced the soprano recorder; in a basisstudents for the development of to musical concepts and skills. fourth and fifthstudents grade, students select ato string, woodwind, brass,inor In third grade, are introduced the soprano recorder; percussion for musical study; and from third through fourth andinstrument fifth grade, students select a string, woodwind, brass, orfifth grade, students can opt to participate in Lower School Choir, which percussion instrument for musical study; and from third through fifth presents an annual production.inInLower the Middle chorus, grade, students canmusical opt to participate SchoolSchool, Choir, which strings andanband aremusical offeredproduction. as part of the curriculum. Students also presents annual In the Middle School, chorus, have the opportunity to be part of the Jr. Hawken Players’ Society strings and band are offered as part of the curriculum. Students also through annual musical eitherPlayers’ on stage, behindhave theparticipation opportunity in tothe be part of the Jr. Hawken Society the-scenes, or in the pitinorchestra. through participation the annual musical either on stage, behindthe-scenes, or in the pit orchestra.
At Hawken’s Upper School, students can select from a wide variety Hawken’s Upper can select Acting from a wide variety ofAtmusic, dance andSchool, theaterstudents courses including Fundamentals, of music, dance and theater courses including Acting Fundamentals, Advanced Acting, Chorale, Concert Band, Creative Movement, Jazz Advanced Acting, Chorale, Concert Band, Creative Movement, Jazz Band, Stage Craft and String Ensemble. Outside of the academic day, Band, Stage Craft and String Ensemble. Outside of the academic day, small performing groups like Rockapella and Mariachi Band provide small performing groups like Rockapella and Mariachi Band provide additional opportunities for students interested in musical performance. additional opportunities for students interested in musical performance. One of the most popular clubs at Hawken is The Hawken Players’ One of the most popular clubs at Hawken is The Hawken Players’ Society (HPS), which produces at least one play and one musical Society (HPS), which produces at least one play and one musical each year. Open to all students regardless of prior experience, HPS each year. Open to all students regardless of prior experience, HPS productions the guidance guidanceof ofadult adult productionsare arelargely largelystudent-driven. student-driven. Under Under the mentors, students are given the latitude, tools and responsibility to mentors, students are given the latitude, tools and responsibility to take full ownership of their role as an artist, whether in set design 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. and construction; props, costumes or makeup; Working local professionals also serve as guestmarketing teachingand artists to graphic design; build acting,and singing, and even assistant directing. hone dancing; their skills. Last year, the HPS cast and help students Working local professionals also serve as guest teaching artists to their crew brought home two Playhouse Square Dazzle Awards for students build and hone their skills. Last year, the HPS cast help production of Les Miserables: Best Musical and Best Supportingand Actress. crew brought home two Playhouse Square Dazzle Awards for their production of Les Miserables: Best Musical and Best Supporting Actress.
Hawken School also places great value on the visual arts, often in collaboration performing artsondepartment. Anoften annual Hawken Schoolwith also the places great value the visual arts, in Early Childhood Art Show, a Visiting Artists Program, theAn annual Evening collaboration with the performing arts department. annual Early of Art and Music, the creation artwork to accompany theEvening fourth and Childhood Art Show, a VisitingofArtists Program, the annual of fifth grade musical, middleofschool settodesign, and the Art and Music, the creation artwork accompany theBiomimicry fourth and fifth musical, middle school design, and themany Biomimicry Art grade and Science Forum mark justset a number of the highlights of Art andarts Science Forum mark a number of the many highlights of visual programming onjust Hawken’s Lyndhurst campus. visual arts programming on Hawken’s Lyndhurst campus. Visual Arts offerings for Upper School students include Art Visual Arts offerings School students include Art Drawing Fundamentals, Art for andUpper Design Principles, Graphic Design, Fundamentals, Art and of Design Principles, Graphic Design, Drawing and Painting, History Western Art, Photography, Sculpture, and Painting, Western Art, Photography, Sculpture, Ceramics, APHistory StudioofArt, Animation, as well as several advanced Ceramics, Studio Art, Animation, as well as several advanced courses inAPthese subjects. courses in these subjects. Last year’s opening of Stirn Hall, with its new dance studio, a Media Last opening of Stirn its new dance studio, a Media andyear’s Communications LabHall, andwith a Fabrication Lab, has opened and Labofand a Fabrication Lab, has opened up aCommunications whole new world creative, interdisciplinary possibilities. up a whole new world of creative, interdisciplinary possibilities. The Creative Movement class worked with Groundworks Dance The Creative Movement class worked with Groundworks Dance Company on a collaborative project, which took students to Company on a collaborative project, which took students to Playhouse Square to perform. In addition, numerous classes Playhouse Square to perform. In addition, numerous classes including the Design and Engineering and Comedy classes have including the Design and Engineering and Comedy classes have utilized the new spaces for creative, hands-on projects. Plans utilized the new spaces for creative, hands-on projects. Plans are currently in progress for an Innovation Lab on the Lyndhurst are currently in progress for an Innovation Lab on the Lyndhurst campus, where even our youngest students will be able to immerse campus, where even our youngest students will be able to immerse themselves in the art of creative design. themselves in the art of creative design. Visithawken.edu hawken.edutotolearn learnmore more about the menu options Visit about the fullfull menu of of artsarts options available at Hawken. To learn more about visiting our campus, available at Hawken. To learn more about visiting our campus, gogo to to hawken.edu/admission or call 440-423-2955. hawken.edu/admission or call 440-423-2955.
LISTINGS GALLERY W One American Blvd., Westlake W: gallerywcrocker.com IG: @gallerywcrocker Upcoming: “Jenniffer Omaitz + Corrie Slawson,”May 24 – July 13; “Western Reserve Historical Society + Christi Birchfield,” July 19 – Aug. 30; “American Greetings Fine Art Show,” Sept. 14 – Nov. 9. Gallery hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed on Sunday. JUMA GALLERY 20100 Chagrin Blvd., Shaker Heights P: 216-295-1717 W: jumagallery.com FB: facebook.com/jumagallery
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. LEE HEINEN STUDIO 12402 Mayfield Road, Cleveland P: 216-921-4088, 216-469-3288 W: leeheinen.com FB: facebook.com/leeheinen
We are fine art painters working in oil or acrylic on canvas, and recently, on mirrored steel. Our subjects range from figurative to “Aten’s Tide,” abstract. This is a working studio in Little Italy, 44 x 50 inches, oil so it’s best to call before visiting to be sure on canvas. Artwork we’re there. Lee Heinen was awarded an by Lee Heinen. Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award FY 2017. LOGANBERRY 13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights P: 216-795-9800 W: loganberrybooks.com
Loganberry Books Annex Gallery features a monthly rotation of local artist exhibitions, with an opening reception on the first Wednesday evening of the month. M.GENTILE STUDIOS 1588 E. 40th St., 1A, Cleveland P: 216-881-2818 W: mgentilestudios.com
A personalized art resource for individuals, collectors and businesses. We offer assistance in the selection and preservation of artwork in many media. Our archival custom framing services are complemented by our skill in the installation of two- and three-dimensional artwork in a variety of residential and corporate settings.
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Cleveland Institute of Art, a leader in craft education, kicks off a yearlong celebration of the importance of craft practice in the 21st century with a three-day symposium, September 20–22, 2018. cia.edu/thinkcraft Cleveland Institute of Art 11610 Euclid Avenue cia.edu/thinkcraft
Connect with Don’t miss a chance to be included in an upcoming issue of Canvas! In 2018, we’ll again highlight the region’s dynamic visual arts and performing arts scenes and provide readers across Northeast Ohio with all they need to know to get the most out of what the region’s arts institutions have to offer.
Stay connected with frequent updates about museum exhibitions, gallery receptions, stage performances, events and show reviews, by subscribing to the free biweekly Canvas e-newsletter!
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NORTHEAST OHIO | arts | music | performance
NORTHEAST OHIO | arts | music | performance
Emerging artists in Northeast Ohio
the familiar Lane Cooper distorts everyday imagery,
transforming the ubiquitous into the experiential
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LISTINGS PENNELLO GALLERY
12407 Mayfield Road, Cleveland P: 216-707-9390 W: pennellogallery.com
13010 Larchmere Blvd., Cleveland P: 216-721-6945 W:Finewolfsgallery.com Paintings & Sculpture
Pennello Gallery in Little Italy specializes in contemporary American, Canadian and ISRAELI fine art and craft. You will always find a sophisticated selection, including many one-of-a-kind studio glass, ceramics, jewelry, wood, metal, sculpture, unique Judaica and paintings in all media. You may call for an appointment to meet with our bridal registry specialists. Find and like us on Facebook!
A pillar of Cleveland’s art community for more than 35 years, WOLFS specializes in fine paintings, sculpture and decorative arts from the 17th century to present day. We are proud to feature a large and diverse selection of works by Cleveland School artists.
Edwin Mieczkowski (American, 1929–2017) • Color Wall, 1972 Acrylic on paper • Signed, dated and titled bottom center • 22 5/ 8 X 28 5/ 8 inches
TRICIA KAMAN STUDIO/GALLERY
1 3 0 1 0 L A R C H M E R E B LV D CLEVELAND, OH 44120 ( 2 1 6 ) 7 2 1 . 6 9 4 5 i n f o @ w o l f s g a l l e r y. c o m w w w. w o l f s g a l l e r y. c o m
School House Galleries Little Italy 2026 Murray Hill Road, Unit 202, Cleveland P: 216-559-6478 W: triciakaman.com FB: facebook.com/tricia.kaman
Tricia’s studio/gallery is housed in the Historic Little Italy Schoolhouse building. Visits are welcome by “Floral Gift,” appointment. The studio features Tricia’s original oil 20 x 16 inches, paintings, Giclee and canvas prints. She also oil. Artwork by offers custom-cut silhouettes, which make for a Tricia Kaman. special and unique gift.
MUSIC & PERFORMING ARTS DOBAMA THEATRE 2340 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights P: 216-932-3396 W: dobama.org
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. PORTHOUSE THEATRE 3143 O’Neil Road, Cuyahoga Falls P: 330-672-3884 W: porthousetheatre.com FB: facebook.com/porthousetheatre
P h o t o : C l e ve l a n d M u s e u m o f A r t
by cuyahoga arts & culture
FIND FUN IN YOUR
Porthouse Theatre, Kent State’s summer professional theater, celebrates its 50th Anniversary Season in 2018. Our outdoor, covered theater and extensive grounds provide for a wonderful summer theater experience. Join us this summer for “Anything Goes” (June 14-30), “Next to Normal” (July 5-21) and “Oklahoma!” (July 26 – Aug. 12).
FOOD & DRINK CANAL TAVERN OF ZOAR 8806 Towpath Road NE, Bolivar P: 330-874-4444 W: canaltavernofzoar.com FB: facebook.com/CanalTavernOfZoar
Fine casual dining in Zoar’s original tavern and inn. Located on the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath and the Ohio and Erie Scenic Byway, the Canal Tavern of Zoar offers “travelers” on the Canalway and visitors to Zoar excellent food and beverages and our traditional Zoar hospitality.
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y d a e R t e G
. y l t n e r e f if d l o o h c t o do s
ounded in 1915, Hawken School is a coeducational private day school enrolling 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 $8.4 million in tuition assistance, the school is profoundly committed to the development of character and intellect. With its nationally recognized programming and stunning facilities, Hawken offers non-traditional schedules to support immersive learning and innovative teaching, real-world partnerships that connect students to their local and global communities, and inspirational learning spaces that support and stimulate learning by doing. Hawken’s tradition of academic excellence instills in members of its diverse and unified student body the skills needed to thrive in a complex world. Hawken Gates Mills Campus 12465 County Line Road, Gates Mills, Ohio 44040
Coed Preschool - Grade 12
The best way to get to know Hawken is to spend time on our campuses. For more information or to plan your visit go to hawken.edu/admission or call 440.423.2955.
Birchwood School of Hawken 4400 West 140th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44135
Hawken Lyndhurst Campus 5000 Clubside Road, Lyndhurst, Ohio 44124
arts | music | performance covering Northeast Ohio