Be a walking SPACES billboard   12.04.14

Show your love of exploration and experimentation with the new SPACES tote. Your friends will be impressed by the cultural cache you gain by publicly announcing your affiliation with such a cool alternative art space.

Our very own Executive Director and Residency Coordinator hand-pulled each tote and sealed them with a kiss, just in time for the holiday season. They're great for packing full of locally-made art. The natural cotton totes measure 15" x 16" and include a royal purple version of the SPACES logo. Limited edition of 35, $12 each.

Buy it NOW

Super SPACES intern Bree with her fancy new tote!
Super SPACES intern Bree with her fancy new tote!

Keywords: , spaces, tote
Author: Christina Vassallo, Executive Director
Category: General

Alliance for Artist Communities 2014 Conference   10.24.14

I attended the Alliance for Artist Communities annual conference in Charleston, SC this week. This was my first time at the event; I had been invited previously to present a Flux Death Match-style panel discussion but chose not to go when I found out that travel and accommodations for presenters isn't covered, nor do they receive free entry to the entire conference (only the day on which they present). Things might be different this year, but three years ago it seemed important to take a stand against what I dramatically refer to as the "exploitation of content providers," especially during a conference that is tailored to support and educate advocates of creative communities.

So, I was especially grateful to have received a generous travel grant from Ohio Arts Council this year to attend. It's really important to get out of the bubble of the Cleveland art scene and enter a bubble of another kind for at least one week out of the year--the bubble of arts administrators who run residency programs, and our allies. There were keynote speeches, tours to a taxidermy studio and galleries, pop up performances, talks about experimental and process-oriented residencies, and roundtable discussions of all sorts that might somehow influence SPACES work at some point.

With so many different kinds of niche residency programs, it's hard to please all of the people all of the time, but the field is so expansive that the Alliance (or some other organization) might consider investigating a different tip of the artist communities iceberg. The needs of writers, visual artists, artisans, dancers, process-oriented artists, social practice artists, filmmakers, etc are vastly different and there is no one-size-fits-all method for this field. And, like many other conferences, the manufactured importance lies in the attendees' belief that there are so many things they don't know and they really need this conference to tell them how it's done, rather than enter into an environment that celebrates the numerous creative approaches to residency programs and develops ways to keep them relevant.

Maybe it's time for a new kind of conference about residencies. Who's in?

Inside a taxidermist's studio
Inside a taxidermist's studio

Author: Christina Vassallo, Executive Director
Category: General

Art Historical Selfies at CMA with Douglas Paulson   10.22.14

The SPACES annual benefit + art auction + costume party, Optical Delusions: Last Days on the Viaduct, is just 10 days way! Here is an excerpt from a conversation with NYC-based artist Douglas Paulson, who is a frequent Cleveland visitor and contributor to this year's benefit.

Bruce Edwards (SPACES Residency Coordinator): Hello Doug, I was told that you were doing an experiential piece for the Benefit here at SPACES. I want to know more about it. Can you give me some details?

Douglas Paulson (Cultural Instigator): WELL, I'm trying to figure out an appropriate image to send you all re: Art Historical Selfies. I'm imagining spending the day at the museum with whoever buys the experience, and developing 12 images together that deal with the works of the museum and the architecture by conflating the high art tradition of portraiture and the low culture phenomenon of selfies. I think selfies naturally lend themselves to institutional critique, which I'd like to exploit.

Bruce: What will the person who wins the bid take home, after your selfie experience? 

Doug: 12 selfies!  - which could be posted to social media or printed.

Bruce: Of course! Duh. 

Doug: Bruce -- I'm not sure how you all are planning on presenting the idea. Would it be helpful for me to design something to represent it?

Bruce: Yes. I think if you give us something that we can place on the wall, and on the mobile bidding website, that should work great.

Doug: I'm on the case!

Author: Bruce Edwards, swap coordiantor
Category: General

St. Malachi Center Summer Program at SPACES   08.11.14

My name is Michelle Epps and many of you know me as the Office Administrator here at SPACES, but recently I've been feeling more like a camp counselor. If you've been following us on Facebook you may have noticed we have had a lot of kid visitors this summer. In honor of our most recent project, TAG with Jason Eppink and Thu Tran, we've been doing crafts, having snacks, and discussing collaboration! Each week in the month of July the kids of St. Malachi Center would join us here at SPACES for a fun afternoon with a different craft and snack each week. The kids ranged in age from 7-11 and are a part of St. Malachi Center's 6-week summer camp which focuses on literacy and swimming skills. St. Malachi Center serves the most vulnerable residents of Cleveland's near West Side - the homeless, low-income families and their children, with a variety of programs.

In the tradition of teaching kids how to share, we wanted to stress the importance of collaboration and how it can be used in the creative process. On a personal level, one of the greatest joys of doing this program was sharing in the experiences of the kids and seeing the wonder and excitement in their eyes as we did each day's activities. One week I told the kids we were going to be feeding them dirt pudding and I was met with a mixture of skepticism and disgust with exclamations of "you can't make me eat that!" and "I just WON'T eat it!" And, even after most of the kids had gotten over their fears and started snacking, a few were still not sure and watched in anticipation as the rest of the kids had their first bites. Then, during the last week of our program I observed one of the kids admiring Michael Loderstedt Quarter Art piece, Aviary Station, which if you haven't seen it is a beautiful display of paper engineering. When I asked him what he thought of it he inquired as to who the artist was and when I told him he said, with a big smile on his face, "I want to be just like him when I get older!"

Like all good things though, this program came to an end, but not after a lot of good memories for myself and hopefully the kids to keep with them forever. As Pablo Picasso has been attributed with once saying, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

To see the kids creations during their time with us check out the slide show. For context, see below for our lesson plan from each week. For the safety of the children participating in this program we will not be publicizing pictures of the actual children.

July 2: Introduction to TAG- Talk about the meaning of the word "Collaboration" (this will be the basis of the four week program). Watch Thu and Jason's video and discuss what they saw in the video. Play a game of "Art Tag" (played like tag, but once you get tagged you add to a drawing) followed by snack time with "Campfire Free" S'mores (made with graham crackers, Marshmallow Fluff, and Nutella).

July 9: Finding a SPACE(S)- Create bugs/pendants out of wooden pieces. The kids will then search for a blank spot on the wall big enough for them to put their bug. The bugs will then be adhered to the wall. Snack time: "Collaborate" to make dirt pudding with gummy worms (made with oreo cookies, chocolate pudding, and cool whip).

July 16: Leave Behind- The kids will create pinwheels out of marbled paper to mount onto the wall. Each group will create a batch of marbled paper which they will leave to dry for the next group to turn into pinwheels (the first group will use pre-made marbled paper for their pinwheels). Snack time: "Collaborate" to make fruit salad on a stick (made with watermelon, grapes, strawberries, blueberries).

July 23: Fuzzball Aliens- Kids will create mini-aliens to take home to award them for how well they collaborated with each other. Snack time: After all that sharing and collaborating it's time to end the program with a purely selfish recipe; make your own taco salad...but you'll still have to share the Tortilla Chips!

FuzzBall June 23, 2014
FuzzBall June 23, 2014

Keywords: art, camp, collaboration, fun, kids, lesson, spaces, tag
Author: Michelle Epps, Community Engagement Manager
Category: General

SPACES ad inspires kids to make art!   08.04.14

SPACES Board Member Tom Starinsky recently sent us this drawing, made by his 2 year old daughter Matilda. It was inspired by an article about SPACES Executive Director Christina Vassallo (and Executive Dog Truman) in the Spring 2014 CAN Journal. We're pleased to have entered the artistic oeuvre of a talented 2 year old.

Author: Christina Vassallo, Executive Director
Category: General

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