Within the next few minutes, I'll be walking out of SPACES for the last time as its executive director. I leave SPACES to try something new—trying something new is a basic tenet of SPACES. The past five years have been a whirlwind of activity upon which I often don't pause to reflect.
Since 1978, the founders of SPACES, longtime directors like Susan Channing, and board and staff members built up a monument to life*. As nice as it would be to have a stoic, static monument, I'm glad SPACES is a living, breathing, changing organism that is continually asking, "What if...?"
What if we challenge Clevelanders to pull an 8-ton truck across the city? What if we ask people if capitalism works for them via a large light-up sign? What if we string colored ribbon across a snow-covered vacant lot during a Cleveland winter? What if we challenge traditional exhibition formats by offering an 8-week school instead that invited participants to classes on frosting graffiti, circuit bending and vandalism tourism?
Wendell Berry said, "The mind that is not baffled is not employed." SPACES baffles. SPACES reminds us that we are alive, thinking, smart, astute and aware without being pretentious or condescending.
I love the staff at SPACES—Martha, Marilyn, Kate and Michelle are fantastic and deserve five encores of applause and a hug from everyone they meet. They will carry SPACES well (since they do most of the heavy lifting, anyway). The board at SPACES has been fantastic at finding the balance between giving us enormous freedom while keeping us accountable and responsible. I will value the friends I have made through my association with SPACES, and I will hold close the artists and their projects that happened under my watch. I thank all the people who gave their time, talents and resources to make our bizarre ideas come to life. And I look forward to making a new friend—whoever the new executive director will be. They will be great and they will have a great organization to steer.
You should support whoever that is, and support SPACES. There aren't many organizations like it in the world, and we're lucky enough to have it in Cleveland.
I'll see you all at the next opening, but as a patron.
*If SPACES were a traditional monument, I like to think it would be a giant sculpture of a thumbs up or a high five that mere mortals could approach and slip it some skin.
Image: Steve Lambert, "Capitalism Works for Me! True/False," 2011. Photo courtesy of the artist.
SPACES Executive Director Christopher Lynn sat down to talk to Jef Scharf about The Euclid Square Mall Project (http://www.spacesgallery.org/project/the-euclid-square-mall-project) —Scharf's combination installation and non-narrative experimental video document. This interview is a second take, since the first time the audio sounded horrible. It's too bad, because there were some gems in that first conversation. That being said, the second take is chock full of goodness as well. Take a listen:
Youth & Violence Edition
Some of us take safety for granted, some have their safety threatened everyday, and still some feel they are safe until those feelings are shattered by an unanticipated act of violence. While... More...
Join Feminists Coming Together for a discussion about making the world safer for women, especially marginalized women. Female-identified individuals only, please.
To RVSP please email Meghan Donovan at email@example.com. More...
QUESTIONS OF SAFETY ANSWERED BY CHILDREN OF COLOR
This project asks: What represents safety for children of color in our community? Kids give responses by drawing "what makes them feel safe." Artist Megan Young and collaborators... More...