Our Mission: SPACES is the resource and public forum for artists who explore and experiment.
SPACES is a presenting contemporary art venue dedicated to artists who explore and experiment. Located on the west side of downtown Cleveland, SPACES currently operates three programs to feature the excellent works of our curated artists: R&D (Research & Development), SWAP (SPACES World Artists Program), and The Vault.
The R&D program invites artists, curators and other cultural producers to articulate their research and development of ideas and objects through a supported exhibition or project. These exhibitions and projects may be group, solo, or collaborative endeavors. R&D is a continuation of SPACES' original programming.
Artists, curators and cultural producers may apply to R&D through our open call-for-entries. Details can be found under the Artist link in the menu bar above. If the deadline isn't current, it is recommended to sign up for SPACES' email list or "like" us on Facebook to be alerted when new deadlines and guidelines are posted.
The SPACES World Artists Program (SWAP) is a residency program for international, U.S. and local artists, founded in 2002 to foster cultural exchange between audiences in Northeast Ohio and artists from around the world. SWAP residencies are intensive opportunities for experimental artists to produce and present new work. SWAP supports artists-in-residence in the creation, presentation and discussion of new work, while facilitating opportunities for them to collaborate with area artists and audiences. Residencies range in length, depending on the scope of an artist's project.
Local artists who reside full-time in one of the 17 counties of Northeast Ohio, and who are not enrolled in a degree-seeking program may apply to be a SWAP artist-in-residence. Guidelines and deadlines are posted under the Artists link in the menu bar above. If the deadline isn't current, it is recommended to sign up for SPACES' email list or "like" us on Facebook to be alerted when new deadlines and guidelines are posted. International and U.S. artists who reside outside of Northeast Ohio may only participate in SWAP if nominated by one of our partners throughout the world. Unsolicited applications, or applications from non-local artists through the local artist application process, will not be considered. For more information about SWAP, please download the SWAP Brief.
The Vault functions as a media flat file—a converted walk-in safe where audiences can experience a variety of video and audio art. Work is added to the The Vault on a rolling basis, remains on view for approximately six months and then rotates out. Viewers have the remote control in their hands to select the work they would like to experience. The Vault has been operating since 2010.
Applications for The Vault are not accepted. Selections are made by a curatorial committee, not by a call-for-entries.
In the spring of 1978, a number of Cleveland artists received an invitation. Though pecked out on a typewriter, with staggered lines creating slight visual interest, and on unremarkable paper it is still an extraordinary document. Simple, direct, sincere, and modestly ambitious, it asked artists to walk into a new arts organization and immediately become participants in its programming process. There was a careful word choice—these were not meetings they were called gatherings. This choice presumes the reality of a community of artists and it also presumes a benefit from that community's assembling and discussing issues and ideas of common interest. If one needs to pinpoint a single birth moment for SPACES, the best argument could be made for that casual event, on May 25, 1978. Perhaps 35 people attended.
Since then, SPACES has presented the work of over 9000 artists from its three headquarters: Playhouse Square (1978 – 1981), the Warehouse District (1981 – 1990), and its current home on the Superior Viaduct (1990 – present).
For more of SPACES' history, please visit SPACES' blog for the exceptionally long version.
Invitation to First Gathering, 1978.