So… are you ready for this?!? OUR WALLS ARE GOING UP!!
How exciting is that? We’re thrilled to see such progress so quickly, and we couldn’t have done that without your generosity. We are still seeking donations to help us cover the cost of additional construction like doors and electrical, but we do anticipate walls will be completed by the end of February, and we’re looking to host our Grand Opening in early March (our anniversary month).
We have chosen to go with a new and exciting material that is a recycled plastic composite that allows for easy clean up, reduced labor costs, and flexibility if we need to remove or simply move a wall. The material is a bright, reflective white and will help bounce light throughout the studios. We will pair this with sections of hemasote or similar materials for easy hanging of materials.
Our space includes 18 artist studios ranging in size from 90 sf to 315 sf. We are currently going over budget requirements and will be establishing final rental prices in the next couple of weeks. We will also be finalizing the process for leasing a studio!
We’re moving right along and can’t wait to update you over the next few weeks. Please peruse the photos above and take a look at the updated drawing. As soon as we are able to take leasing applications we will post details and email our list of interested artists. So please be sure to fill out our Interested Artist Form if you have not done so already to be included on our email list.
On a personal note, I’d just like to take a moment to thank all who have donated monetarily, or encouraged us along the way with moral support and to those who have volunteered their time. I am so grateful to live in an area like ours, where we are so fortunate to have several communities bordering each other that are wonderfully diverse, and such huge supporters of the arts. The arts are an integral part of our society, and a way in which we tell our story, and shape our story. As individuals, as groups, as communities. We look forward to being part of the arts community and hope to be an important part of the fabric that encourages free thought, creativity, and diversity. As we get ARTFUL off the ground, we will be looking for thoughtful, fun ways to engage our community members so that we can all share in the art experience, no matter your skill level.
So… keep checking back for updates, as we will be announcing our Grand Opening very soon! We continue to welcome donations as we complete construction and look to fill our studios.
Sarah Curry was born and raised in Cleveland. She received her B.F.A. from Kansas City Art Institute with a major in Illustration. Soon after graduating, she returned to Cleveland and is currently living in Cleveland Heights. Her love of teaching both children and adults at The Cleveland Museum of Art inspired her to attain her Master’s degree in Art Education from Case Western Reserve University. She has since been teaching art to high school students for sixteen years.
Sarah works in a wide variety of styles ranging from realism to abstraction. Among many endeavors, she has established herself as a portrait artist as well as a freelance illustrator and muralist. She has spearheaded several public art installations in the Cleveland area collaborating with local artists, students and community members. Her personal work narrative revolves around storytelling that addresses women’s roles in society. This series of work revisits old stories and reinterprets the themes,imagery, and lessons through the contemporary eyes of friends and family. Each piece refers to a story from the past and is also biographical to the subjects depicted. She sees these works to be collaborative storytelling.
Her most recent work will be on display this summer: “Face Value” Opening July 15th from 5-9pm at The HEDGE Gallery, 1300 W 78th Street, suite 200, Cleveland, Ohio 44102.
Her work can also be seen on her website: www.pinchofcurry.com.
What is your favorite thing about your studio? Do I have to choose just one?! Maybe it’s the fact that I can throw paint around and destroy the floor with no apologizes! And the homasote walls that allow me to tack up images and work directly on the walls. The view is pretty awesome as well. Its on the second floor of my house with tall windows that allow me to see the yard and the cats running around outside.
Is your studio a place to relax, get down to business, find inspiration, or something else altogether? I think your studio must be a place for all of the above. Devoting your time to working in your studio is imperative so it must feel like a second home. We can all get down to business, find inspiration and relax in our homes so the studio must be an extension of your house.
If you could describe your studio in ten words or less, how would you describe it? Filthy, but organized, crowded but plenty of room to make more messes.
How or why did you decide to pursue your art? I don’t think I had another option. It’s the only thing in my life that held my attention and became a tool to work out and explore my passions. I began teaching art soon after graduating from art school because I wanted to share all the secrets I learned. Teaching
art makes you a stronger artist because you learn how to break down information it its simplest language. This forces you to investigate your own practices and hone your approach to art making.
Currently, what medium are you working in? I’m a bit all over the place right now. I’m really enjoying the immediacy of working on paper with charcoal. My default button will always be thick, gooey oil paint on panels. The work in my series right now is figurative but incorporating symbolism and various aspects of storytelling. I’d love to do a residency at Zygote Press and experiment with inking up objects, running them through a press and then work back into the image incorporating figures. Maybe next summer…
What is your process? All my processes begin with an idea. The idea will usually tell me where it wants to go or at least hint at the media I need to use. If not, I have to coax the idea out with sketches before it dies on the vine. Sometimes that’s OK as well. Maybe it didn’t need to come to fruition, maybe it will lead me to another place eventually. Working on art is never a waste of time. Even if you make crappy work, it’s important to put in the time and pay your dues because there is ALWAYS a pay off.
How do you find inspiration? Or what resources do you take advantage of to assist you in the creation of your art? I am honestly most inspired by the people in my life. I’m a pretty social creature and surround myself with amazing people. I love to listen to stories and explore imagery inspired by the stories and those telling them. When I saw Saul Williams speak a few months back I wept through his spoken word poetry because I knew I would never be able to paint anything as beautiful as the images he described. Traveling and going to countless galleries and museums also play a big role in my work. Seeing the work of both young artists as well as the old masters keeps my “well” full so I can dip in for some fresh water when I need it.
What is your greatest challenge when it comes to your art? Time is my ultimate challenge. Making art requires so much time. It truly is a job. It is not relaxing or a hobby. It is hard work and requires time to fail and grow. All that being said,
I really suck at throwing pots and despite the fact that I am a painter I am most
challenged by clay!
If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring artists, what would that be? Make mistakes! Make as many as you can by experimenting and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Play with new, unfamiliar materials and techniques because that’s when the leaning happens. If it comes easy, you don’t learn as much. When you destroy things or make mistakes, you remember that experience much more.
Do you feel your community is supportive of the arts and/or how can your community better support the arts? Living in Cleveland Heights is pretty dreamy. Not just for artists but for all open-minded people. We all love seeing art everywhere. I don’t know anyone adverse to art. The best way to support the arts is to BUY ART!!! It’s an addiction but it is never an expendable cost. Living with art pays off everyday, both spiritually and emotionally. Who cares if the artist is well known, do you love it? Then buy it. You wont regret it. I am fortunate enough to be represented by Hilary Gent of HEDGE Gallery in the W. 78th Street Studios so she personally supports me by doing the legwork involved in displaying, selling and promoting my work.
Mallorie Freeman was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Her mother was a pop singer in the 1960’s, owner of a modeling agency, television producer, and a makeup artist. The prominence of femininity, creativity, and entrepreneurship greatly influenced Mallorie from a young age.
Mallorie attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Cleveland Institute of Art. She has participated in a number of regional and national exhibitions, and residencies.
On May 21st and 22nd Mallorie will participate in Rooms To Let, which seeks to re-envision one of Cleveland’s most diverse and authentic neighborhoods, as it illuminates a passionate community in the midst of recovery. Dozens of artists and makers will create works in vacant homes– some of which are slated for demolition as well as in those that will be rehabilitated. The event is free and open to the public.
What is your favorite thing about your studio? The lighting is probably my favorite thing about my studio. One of the walls has large north-facing windows and the light is pretty consistent throughout the day. The view of nearby rooftops and train tracks is also one of my favorite things.
Is your studio a place to relax, get down to business, find inspiration, or something else altogether? My studio is also my home and is a combination of relaxation, getting down to business, inspiration, and many other things. For some projects I use chocolate as the medium. It is helpful to have a stove to melt the chocolate and a refrigerator to cool the molds. There are downsides to having a studio in my home. On more than one occasion, I have burnt dinner due to cooking and painting at the same time.
If you could describe your studio in ten words or less, how would you describe it? Peaceful, city, loft, art, fortress, with kitty and passing trains.
How or why did you decide to pursue your art? I don’t think there was ever a time I wanted to pursue something else. I decided to apply for art school after receiving a number of awards for shows and competitions in high school. I received a scholarship from the Solon FIne Arts Council and attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago upon graduation.
Currently, what medium are you working in? I am currently working on a project called “Rooms to Let”. Artists were invited to create installations inside of abandoned/foreclosed homes in the Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland. I am using colored chocolate and paint as the medium to transform an upstairs landing/hallway/sink/vanity. This is the second year I have participated in “Rooms to Let” and I love the challenge of creating site specific work in a unique environment. The house I am working in is set to be demolished after the event. The project is bitter-sweet and I think chocolate is a perfect medium.
What is your process? I work in various media and approach each project in different ways. For the “Rooms to Let” installation, I started by measuring all the surfaces to be covered in chocolate. I hand-cast the chocolate pieces from molds in my studio. The cast pieces were laid out to fit the exact sizes of the surfaces and photographed for reference. The walls, floors and surfaces were painted in similar colors as the chocolate. The cast pieces were then transported and adhered to the walls and surfaces with melted chocolate using a hot plate and double boiler.
How do you find inspiration? Or what resources do you take advantage of to assist you in the creation of your art? I find inspiration everywhere: travelling, watching movies, vintage magazines, walks in the park, candy wrappers, county fairs, conversations with friends, thrift stores, etc. For a past printing project, I found inspiration in my neighborhood while riding my bicycle. I discovered hair weaves on the side of the road, in alleys, and on sidewalks. I took them to Zygote Press, rolled ink on the hair and ran them through the press to create impressions on paper.
What is your greatest challenge when it comes to your art? The business aspect to making art can be a challenge for me at times. Artists have to wear many hats. Not only do we create the work, we have to promote, network, and market it as well. Speaking and writing about my art in a clear and concise manner is something I continue to work on over the years.
If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring artists, what would that be? Make mistakes, challenge yourself, practice discipline, and step outside your comfort zone. I have made some of my best work when I was not really sure that I could accomplish it.
Do you feel your community is supportive of the arts and/or how can your community better support the arts? Moving art outside of a gallery setting makes art more tangible for the community. As we were working on our pieces for “Rooms to Let”, we invited the neighbors in to the house to look around. Most might never go to a gallery, but because an art event is happening in their neighborhood, it raises curiosity. A couple of the neighbors we met were/are artists and were excited to see the houses come alive with colorful exteriors and lots of activity. The art community is relatively small in Cleveland. Events and projects that make art more accessible allow those who are outside of the art community to become more supportive.
David King is a retired art teacher. He taught for 30 years, recently retiring as head of the Art Department at Chagrin Falls High School. He currently serves on the Board of ARTFUL, and sat down with us to answer a few questions about his work, his studio and the process he uses to create his ARTwork.
What is your favorite thing about your studio? I like that my studio is in my home – it has everything I need with inspiration everywhere. Finally, a studio that is ground level with natural light!
Is your studio a place to relax, get down to business, find inspiration, or something else altogether? My studio is all of those things and more. It is also a music studio. When I get stuck on a painting, I can escape through music and when I come back to painting, I have a fresh eye and hopefully will be able to resolve things. Most importantly, it’s my space to clutter or clean.
If you could describe your studio in ten words or less, how would you describe it? Stimulating, warm, inspirational, full, eclectic.
How or why did you decide to pursue your art? I had no choice. I got a lot of attention for my drawings when I was younger and I liked it, so I kept doing it. Eventually it grew into becoming an inseparable part of my life. Combine art with my love for show and tell and I was destined to become an art teacher. I think most serious artists have to make something. If I’m not making something, I get crabby.
Currently, what medium are you working in? I work in oil paint mostly but I also use oil stick, chalk pastel and acrylic. It just depends on what I am doing. I have been playing with printing on canvas and collaging paper scraps, I have been finding objects on the ground and collaging them on old wood scraps. I’ve been frottaging objects and painting on the results. I wish I didn’t have to sleep, that way I could get more done.
What is your process? My current body of work has me gleaning images from family movies (transferred to DVD’s) and re-configuring them to create images to paint.
How do you find inspiration? Or what resources do you take advantage of to assist you in the creation of your art? As stated previously, my current process is using old family movies to find images that evoke some wonder for me. I use the computer to help me freeze the movies and capture screenshots for references. Inspiration can come from anywhere, other artists’ work, museums, found objects, everyday surroundings.
What is your greatest challenge when it comes to your art? The greatest challenge is to be a “contemporary” artist. I try to push myself to be uncomfortable. Remain consistent and grow. I want to utilize time efficiently. To keep reminding myself that it’s about the process.
If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring artists, what would that be? Find a good doctor so you can be cloned. That way, you can have more than one life and do all the things you want. If that doesn’t work out, make art everyday. Go to as many shows/museums as possible. Read about art. Write about art. Talk to artists. You don’t make it to the Olympics by doing one push up.
Do you feel your community is supportive of the arts and/or how can your community better support the arts? Yes, Cleveland Heights is “Home to the Arts” but we can always use more support. The Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the finest museums in the world. I’ve been to quite a few museums all over the globe. I’m proud of Cleveland. The art scene is happening here. We have a very strong art family and it’s growing. It’s an exciting time to be an artist in Cleveland.
Sorry it’s been so long since we posted a progress update, but I assure you that we have been busy behind the scenes. We have been exploring a number of options in regard to buildings, developing a series of classes, organizing our fundraising plan, among other things!
Let’s start with where we are in our search for a building to house ARTFUL. We have toured a few sites, all of which have their own pros and cons. We know that each site brings its own characteristics to our project and we will have to adapt accordingly. But each of them also fits our main objectives – a welcoming space that will allow us to rent affordable studio spaces to local artists, space in which we can host classes and events for the community at large, and all located in spaces/areas where we can take advantage of the support of area non-profits and businesses, as well as lend our support to them. We encourage you to provide us with your thoughts and feedback regarding any of these spaces.
We continue to have open discussions with the owners of the Medusa building. Earlier last month Shannon, Dave and our architect, John Williams, sat down with the owners to discuss the potential of a lease. We all have the love affair going on with this spot, but it is in dire need of some pretty major repairs and for it to work we will need to come to a lease agreement that makes sense in terms of length and cost. We are currently running some numbers back and forth and look forward to further exploring the possibility of this site. But we also feel we need to explore other options available within our community.
We recently found out that Grace Lutheran has sold to a commercial venture. From what we hear, this is great news but I do not know the details. So we have had to scratch that from our list of potential sites. But we are very enthusiastic about a space we toured at the old Coventry Elementary School.
Coventry School Building
This space has several advantages – affordability being a huge plus. Utilities, maintenance, internet, and taxes are included in our rent price which, so far, is unique to this space. John Williams accompanied us on our third walk-through and encouraged us to explore this possibility further. We feel the space is large enough for us to meet our objectives and could be a perfect space for us to start out in and grow over the next several years. While there is nothing set in stone, we are also aware of the CHUH school districts potential plans over the next number of years regarding their school buildings, and see that there is at least some potential for us to grow into a larger space over time. The space already includes several sinks and built in storage units (almost like dressers with wide flat drawers – perfect for art supplies), and wonderfully high ceilings. We are moving forward with discussions regarding rent/lease details and will keep you posted.
The Old Rite Aid Building The other space that we toured was the old Rite Aid building by Zagara’s on Lee Rd. This was also a great space – very raw and utilitarian, larger than the Coventry School space, but smaller than Medusa. We truly feel that we could adapt this building to fit our needs, as well. We like the location and the ample parking – both big plusses. The con to this one is the price. No utilities, taxes or maintenance are included in the lease price. But we are keeping this on our list of potential sites.
Another site that we have been encouraged to take a look at is the Center-Mayfield building (the old movie theater). We have yet to tour this site and we are aware that is currently under contract for sale. But we hope to still be able to get in to see it.
If anyone has any other leads on spaces in our area that may be worth exploring, please let us know. Another one we’d love to find out more about is 2150 Lee Rd. (the old Abrash store). If anyone knows if this space is available, please let us know. We are also wondering if the old Lemon Grass building is moving forward as a new restaurant, or what the status is with that space? We are going to have our Realtor, Judy Jeavons, look into these spaces further, but if anyone has any direct knowledge, please feel free to let us know.
OK – on to other business…
Classes!! Several members of our team are working on developing some great classes for you to take advantage of. As we move forward with this, we will provide you with more details, but the idea is to create art classes which will be hosted at local businesses and venues. Each class will later be featured in beautiful instruction book we will create and use to help raise funds for ARTFUL. We will also be featuring some videos on our website.
We are also very excited about a couple new projects we will be featuring on our blog. The first is a series we are calling “meaningFUL People”. This will be a video spotlight where the youth in our community interview their art teachers, or someone who influences their creativity. We want the world to know that our arts are important to the overall education and development of our youth, and hope that these videos will inspire and entertain you. If you have a child who would be interested in conducting an interview, or know of an art educator who deserves to be features, please let us know.
The other feature we are starting is appropriately named “ARTworks”. This is a photo feature of someone who has chosen to create art as a regular part of their lives at work in their “studio”. We hope this will help introduce our community to the wealth of talented people we are surrounded by. Again, if you are an artist/creator, or know of a deserving person who wouldn’t mind being featured in “ARTworks”, then please email us.
And lastly… March marks our 1 year anniversary since we formally organized ARTFUL, so it’s time to celebrate! We’re looking into hosting a 1 Year Anniversary Happy Hour at Colony in a couple of weeks. We’d like this to be an opportunity for you to come out and celebrate with us, but to also take some time to answer any questions you may have about or venture, or for you to share your thoughts and ideas. So we will be posting details about this as we work them out over the next few days.
As always, thanks for your continued encouragement and support!