Address: 2220 Superior Viaduct, Cleveland, OH 44113
Open Hours: Tu – Su: 12 – 5 p.m.
Th: Open until 8 p.m. Closed Monday
How is the project operated?
How long has it been in existence?
SPACES began May 25th of 1978.
What was your motivation?
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.
The impetus for SPACES has always been to provide opportunities for artists to experiment.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
We currently have 4 full-time staff and 1 part-time staff member. As for the origins, the numbers for the first organizers are very hazy. The two key players initially were Robert Mihaly and James Rosenberger. There was a nebulous group of artists who flowed in and out of the organization as it was being formulated.
How are programs funded?
We receive corporate, individual, state, federal, and foundation dollars in support of our work. Our county also has a unique cigarette tax that goes directly to the arts, providing millions of dollars each year just to cultural organizations and artists of Cuyahoga County.
Who is responsible for the programming?
Programming is decided by the executive director, staff, and a rotating group of community members who serve on our selections committees.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
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.
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.
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.
We have 4 presenting slots each year. In those slots we feature at least one R&D and one SWAP project resulting in approximately 10 public projects each year. The content of The Vault rotates without respect to our traditional openings and closings.
What kind of events are usually organized?
We present a variety of artist-generated projects (outlined above) in addition to SPACES-generated events. Each year we present Monster Drawing Rally, a live drawing and fundraising event modeled after a program at Southern Exposure (San Francisco); The Artwood Derby, a pinewood derby race for cards created by artists of all ages to celebrate SPACES’ birthday each year; and our annual benefit and art auction with an ever-changing theme.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
We accept submissions for our R&D program from artists anywhere in the world. The deadline for that changes from year to year. In 2012, the deadline is November 30th. The SPACES World Artists Program only takes unsolicited submissions for its program from artists in Northeast Ohio. Artists who live outside of Northeast Ohio must be nominated to apply to the program. The Vault has no formal application process and the contents are curated by SPACES’ staff. Details can be found at:
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
We are always looking for artists who are already working experimentally, or who show distinct interest in deviating from their current practice to try something markedly different. We try to keep the projects we feature varied and autonomous.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
We want to inject experimentation into everyone’s lives—from nurses to educators to artists and factory workers and business people and students.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
Our next artists’ projects.
Images courtesy of SPACES unless otherwise noted.