my favorite event of the Josh Usmani   03.28.14

Monster Drawing Rally is my favorite event of the year in Cleveland.

I was first invited to participate in 2012 by Dante Rodriguez. I'd never been to the MDR before, and had no idea what to expect, but I knew it would be special as soon as I heard the concept: 100+ artists drawing live in a gallery for one-night-only to benefit SPACES.

This will be my third year participating. I look forward to it more and more every year. This year, I had the honor of designing the official promotional image for the event. Also, I'm honored to be one of this year's guest curators – charged with selecting some of the participants.

Typically, artists do their craft in the solitude of their studios. The work appears completed in galleries like magic. Some artists (like performance artists) create their work in front of their audience, but most visual artists never "perform" in front of their audience unless they're sketching at a coffee shop or something.

The energy in the room is palpable. It's not often that 100+ artists gather in one place to create. This collective creativity creates an atmosphere that radiates with positive energy. You're sure to feel it the second you walk through the door.

All the work is sold for $65. With all the work priced equally, the artists are competing, not just for your attention, but your patronage. However, sales are not guaranteed, so artists are forced into competition to stand out amongst such a diverse, talented field. In this way, SPACES simultaneously creates an event that is both cooperative and competitive. Similarly, patrons must compete with each other to purchase their favorite works. If more than one person wishes to purchase a work, they must draw cards. If you aren't paying attention, your favorite piece may be gone before you notice. It's this healthy competition that keeps raising the bar at each annual event.

For one-night-only, SPACES allows these talented artists the opportunity to perform like "rock stars" in front of thousands of viewers. It also gives the audience a rare glimpse into more than a hundred creative processes. In one night, viewers can see dozens of techniques and styles.

The best part for the audience is the ability to purchase work that was created in front of their eyes. Any work bought at the MDR is a guaranteed conversation starter. Not only do you get a new, one-of-a-kind work of art; you get a story to go along with it.

SPACES' Monster Drawing Rally is a mutually beneficial experience for the artists, the audience and SPACES. Don't miss this special evening at SPACES Saturday, April 12th 6-10pm.

Josh Usmani

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

SPACES' Monster Drawing Rally 2014 created by Josh Usmani
SPACES' Monster Drawing Rally 2014 created by Josh Usmani

Keywords: cleveland, intractive, live drawingevent, monster drawing rally, ohio
Author: Marilyn Ladd-Simmons, Gallery Manager
Category: Events

Curious What Pulling an 8-ton Truck Looks Like?   06.06.13

Have you been wondering what pulling an 8-ton truck looks like? We did a test run, and you can see, it's not as hard as you might think.

Keywords: cleveland, performance art, pull!, william pope.l
Author: Marilyn Ladd-Simmons, Gallery Manager
Category: Events

Podcast: Interview with Jef Scharf   09.11.12

SPACES Executive Director Christopher Lynn sat down to talk to Jef Scharf about 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:

Interview with Jef Scharf 09.11.12 / Download »

Keywords: capitalism, christopher lynn, cleveland, euclid square mall, installation art, interview, jef scharf, podcast, swap, video
Author: Christopher Lynn, Executive Director
Category: Artists

Sing a song about Cleveland: Mike Tyson   06.15.12

For the past few months I have been thinking about Cleveland, which probably has to do with the fact that we have turned SPACES into the unofficial visitor center for the city. You can read more about that project here: Here's a blurb from our website: "This project seeks to engage the idea of tourism through the lens of a city that is not a traditional tourist destination. Participating artists engage Cleveland as a subject and medium in both critical and laudatory ways."

So if you stop by SPACES you will see we have the participating artists' works, tour books, postcards, maps (including a memory map), and information all about Cleveland. We even sponsored an anthem contest, so you can hear tons of different kinds of songs about the city.

In this entry (and maybe a few more) I want to focus on people singing about Cleveland. OK OK, so some people might say this is a song about Lebron and not Cleveland, but I think it's funny. How many times will you see Mike Tyson sing the words "Cleveland, Ohio?" ooowha, oowha ooow.

by Marilyn Simmons, SPACES Gallery Oracle

Keywords: cleveland, mike tyson, the cleveland convention and visitors bureau, tourism
Author: Marilyn Ladd-Simmons, Gallery Manager
Category: General

Bike Tour This Saturday   06.01.12

In honor of this Saturday's "Ohio City Bike Co-Op Social Ride to Cleveland-Area Crime Scenes," taking place from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. (meet at the Co-Op at 1840 Columbus Rd), we have a collection of fun facts about bicycles and crime scenes. YAY BICYCLES!


  • Before the bicycle, a German baron named Karl von Drais invented a contraption called the "draisine," which had two wheels. It looked a lot like a bike, but it didn't have pedals, so to operate it you had to push your legs off of the ground. It's an important predecessor to the bicycle. But aren't you glad that bicycles have handbrakes and pedals now? I sure am!

  • As you probably know, the Wright brothers owned a bike repair shop in Dayton, Ohio. They used it to build their airplane in 1903.

  • Every year, 100 million bicycles are manufactured! That's 273,973 bikes a day!

  • The longest tandem bicycle ever made could seat 35 people. While not especially practical with a length of 67 feet, it certainly was a sight to see!

BONUS UNICYCLE FACT: Emerson Elementary School in Lakewood has a unicycle club. They make an annual appearance in the Fourth of July Parade. It's one of the most popular activities at the school.


  • In 1924, the Cleveland Police Department founded the Women's Bureau of the Cleveland Police Dept. This was the only opportunity for women to serve as police officers. There was a law restricting the number of women in the force to 50 until 1973, when the ruke was repealed.

  • My personal favorite Cleveland area crime is the Daniel Kaber murder of 1919. He was stabbed 24 times. During the autopsy, they found a ridiculous amount of arsenic in his body. But that's not the interesting part. When police interrogated his wife, she said that she hired men to dress up as ghosts to drive the evil spirits out of his body. Four women were tried in this case. During the trial, his step-daughter cried when asked to testify against her mother. This girl, Marian McArdle, was in the company of a touring musical called "Pretty Baby" but was forced to leave in order to deal with all the business surrounding the murder trial.








By Kevin Ritter, SPACES Intern

Keywords: bicycles, bikes, cle, cleveland, crime, events
Category: Events

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