Flash Forward

When I first started this blog, one of my goals was to highlight creativity in the international, national, and local spotlight. I realize I have been a little lax in the last area.

I hope this post makes up for that. On Friday, I attended the opening of Flash Forward at SPACES here in Cleveland. Well, me and about several hundred other also people attended. This is the first time I’ve been to an opening here that was so crowded I could barely enjoy the art.

However, I did have a chance to check out works by two up and coming artists, each who use traditional materials in very non-traditional and creative ways.

The first is Jon Nathaniel Cotterman, a local artist working in glass. What is so interesting about his work lies in the way he deconstructs glass goblets. Cotterman reuses the pieces to create box-like sculptures transforming their original decorative and utilitarian purpose into art.

The other artist is Yumiko Goto. She works in ceramics and her work is based on nature. One of her most stunning pieces is an installation of many ceramic containers nestled together to create a new larger piece of art that you can move around and admire.

  • What could you create out of ordinary materials?

Creative Capital Announces 2008 Artists

I first heard about Creative Capital during an Arts Policy class in grad school. Back then, they were just another fledgling arts organization. Today, they are one of the nation’s premier organizations supporting artists.

They recently announced their 2008 grant recipients. With an initial award of $10,000, 41 projects from 52 artists in film/video and the visual arts were awarded grants.

Starting next year, they will be accepting applications for innovative projects in literature and performing arts.

  • See the complete list of grant recipients here.

Akron Recap

I finally made the short trek down to Akron to check out the new art museum. Although I was eagerly anticipating seeing the building, I left with a sense of indifference about the architecture and visitor accessibility. From the exterior, the structure reminded me of a combination of the Wexner Center in Columbus, where I was a tour guide and graduate intern and the Peter B. Lewis building in Cleveland. But unlike those buildings, I don’t think it makes a grand statement, possibly because of it’s tonal appearance. There’s an over abundance of metal and glass.

That leads me to the interior, which comes across as stark and difficult to navigate. The design is meant to foster community spirit but for me it came off as cold and impersonal. It further frustrated me that there was a lack of signage for locating the actual gallery space. Once inside the galleries, there were signs next to nearly every painting discouraging touching the works and explaining why. As someone, who worked in museums, specifically managing visitor services, I felt they were condescending, considering museums with much better collections don’t even have to reinforce this at every turn.

My final grievance with visitor services was their overzealous staff. I had never been followed so aggressively in an art museum, even at the National Gallery of Art, where I’ve wandered through gallery after gallery without being followed like a shoplifter.

On a much lighter note, my visit to Stan Hywet was delightful. Some of my favorite highlights were the scarecrows (see above image). Unlike traditional scarecrows, these were colorful and whimsical often incorporating architectural and decorative arts elements. It was an interesting contrast between the old and the new and very refreshing.

  • What can you create that is a new take on something old?

Image KAR


Earlier this week I had the opportunity to check out the latest exhibition at the Heights Arts Gallery. Layers features 11 artists who work in collage and exploit this medium in interesting ways.

Some of my favorite pieces in the show were created by Karin Bartimole. Her collaged books are like mini sculptures. Don’t you agree?

Images Heights Arts and Karin Bartimole

Art Bar

What do you get when you combine two of my favorite things: art and chocolate? Art Bars. Created by Ithaca Fine Chocolates, Art Bars contain fair-trade certified organic chocolate and a collectible card featuring an art reproduction. Plus a portion of the profits support art education. Brilliant!

Image Ithaca Fine Chocolates

Slightly Askew in Cleveland

Because I am an advocate for using the skills you learn developing personal creativity to improve your community, I was excited to learn about Slightly Askew coming to Cleveland.

Slightly Askew is an experimental group from NYC, with a local connection, that combines art, education, performance and culture.

They have landed in Birdtown, a part of Lakewood that I have family ties to. While in the neighborhood, they are working with local residents and teens to create a video project documenting the history of this unique neighborhood. In exchange, the teens are learning skills and gaining knowledge about other cultures and history.

  • How can you use your creativity to build community connections?

Image Slightly Askew

Summer Season Opens at MOCA

MOCA Cleveland opens their summer season with 3 widely diverse exhibitions:

OPEN: New Designs for Public Space and Expanding the Circle / Uptown Launch Pad explores innovative architecture and planning for the 21st century, including the ideas for MOCA’s expansion and the newly branded Uptown District in University Circle.

I’d already seen OPEN at the National Building Museum, when it was there a couple of years ago. Although I am big fan of reinventing contemporary public space, the exhibition reads like a textbook slapped up on a wall. If you have the patience and time, it’s really a worthwhile exhibition though.

Olga Ziemska: Mirror Matter promises a feast for the eyes. Her installation combines little pieces to create large intallations that echo one another while trying to make what is unseen seen in an inter-connected world. Truly a treat!

Anthony Caro: Wending Back is another installation by the Cleveland Museum of Art, as a way to keep their presence in the community, while construction on their building continues.

Why I Love Art-o-Mat

I admit I am a bit of an art junkie. That’s why I think art-o-mat is so fabulous. For only a few dollars, you can own a mini-masterpiece and become an instant collector. It’s truly an innovative way to sell and purchase art.

I can’t remember where I first heard of it, but soon after, I tracked one down in Arlington, VA – which is no longer there. Excitedly, I bought 2 tokens at the Ellipse Art Center and after a decidedly long and deliberate process, I chose my new pieces of art. They stayed on my kitchen counter for years till I moved.

  • I’ve also made trips to art-o-mats here in Cleveland and Los Angeles. Why don’t you make your own pilgrimage for art and start a collection?

Have An Inspired Stay

Looking for a creative place to stay the next time you are in Louisville, KY?

  • Check out this new hotel that features contemporary art and even has a museum shop.

To Docent or Not To Docent

I swore off working in museums 6 months ago, but I soon realized I couldn’t let go completely. So, I took stock of what I liked about art and museums and realized that my heart lay in contemporary art and giving tours. This prompted me to sign up to be a docent at Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art, because it fit into both of my passions.

Well, I just completed my first day of Docent Education, which is funny, because I am so old school that I actually still call it Docent Training. It brought me back to my grad school days of studying art and theory. All I could think when I left was wow, this is what I have been craving – intellectual stimulation, which only contemporary art can give you. Theories layered and displayed in visual form; is there anything that brings you closer to creativity than art?

  • To get yourself closer to creativity and to get a behind the scenes view of the art world, volunteer at your favorite cultural organization.