SPACES

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New art. Not old, used art.

Day Three: The Event

Brush High School students Chealsia Smedley and Shayna Mell report on the opening night environment …

Artist Kristin Bly poses for participants during the opening.

This is the day we’ve all been working towards; the opening. During the day, SPACES is bustling with constant activity. There was an excess of things to prepare, but in due time, with a touch of magic, everything was ready to go.

A line forms outside of Josh Parker’s installation: “Sometimes an entrance is actually an exit.”

The event: 7:00 p.m. Things were at a good pace. The food was nearly gone, there was a long line outside of the tunnel, and Kristin Bly’s room of viewer portraits was being created right before our eyes. One viewer, on his way to Bly’s room expressed,” I feel like it’s all potential,” which it certainly was.

Ben Kinsley and his mom- also the auction winner- discuss plans  for their future project. At 7:30 p.m. Arzu Ozkal came waltzing in, fully equipped with hooks and ropes. She included the audience, in a pulling performance leading her into her empty space. “SPACES has been doing a lot of creative things. It’s not passive, I love it,” said involved audience member, Elaine Hcilinen.

Every artist was pushed far beyond their comfort areas. “I’m entrusting people with myself, and I’m hoping that they don’t take advantage of me,” said artist Ben Kinsley who auctioned himself off. Ben, who usually directs people to surprise others, now had to allow himself to be surprised and directed.

Arzu Ozkal and her color commentator Eleanor Lebeau prepare to enter SPACES for their live performance.

Even though I knew art and creativity would be utilized and challenged; it was still surprising to actually witness it myself. Witness the artist’s showing of their challenges, and witness the public’s reaction to that challenge. The experience was cultivating, inspiring, and something that I would never take back.

By: Chealsia Smedley and Shayna Mell

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Filed under: Artists, As the World inTerns, Beyond Thunderdome, Cleveland, Guest Bloggers, Interviews, , , , , , ,

Day Two: The space

SPACES worker helps T.R. Ericsson apply his idea onto the wall High School Seniors Chealsia Smedley and Shayna Mell rethink space …

A space is usually filled or occupied. A space is used for gatherings of people and storage of things. But today I learned about SPACES and how they break the bounds of a space.

When coming back to SPACES there’s an overwhelming feeling of new and fresh energy. It’s amazing how much things have changed, from the black vinyl letters being put on the wall, the torn down lights, and the fully separating black curtain in the back. A room that was completely empty yesterday is now filled with little paper notes and lines of black tape marking off areas. The funny thing is that we don’t know if these are requests for the things written or if they are part of the display.  Any avenue can be explored.

Notes written by artist Kristin Bly

Lights sit after they've been taken down

Seeing these changes and looking at booklets from other displays gives me a clue that this isn’t going to be a traditional art show. The jelly splashed walls and usage of popcorn bowls from prior shows mixed with the interactive tunnel of this show means that anything can happen by tomorrow night.

By: Chealsia Smedley and Shayna Mell

Filed under: As the World inTerns, Cleveland, Guest Bloggers, SPACES, , ,

Day One: Lasting Impressions

View from Ben Kinsley's "Art Auction" stand

We are proud to present the fine writing and documentation of Brush High School students Chealsia Smedley and Shayna Mell. As part of their senior project, the students chose to shadow SPACES staff over the course of a few weeks. We are very grateful to have them on our team, even if it is for a short time. We are all so happy to have them work right by our sides as we push through exhibition openings and events. They continuously provide valuable insights into the process along the way.

I walked up to the tiny door, without research and without knowing. The only information that I previously obtained was that SPACES was an art gallery and that I was helping with an opening- that would commence in two days. I know that being unprepared is usually a disadvantage, but in this case I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I walked through the entrance I was awestruck by this space of endless possibilities awaiting me.

View from inside Josh Parker's installation "Sometimes an entrance is actually an exit"

The first thing that caught my eye was the bulging green wall decorated with a scarcity of scattered flowers. While at first it appeared merely an interesting wall, it revealed a room containing a multitude of boxes which would later make up a tunnel. Everyone was in a line to enter a room, with an imitation “doggy door” to gain access. The room looked like something taken directly from a horror film. The trap door and dripping water went hand in hand to create a foreboding room. It was difficult to imagine that this separate entity would become an inviting final step at the end of a tunnel adventure Friday night.

Paints used to decorate Josh Parker's installation

This interactive art piece and the mission of SPACES were both inspiring, and original. The idea of taking something that is already creative and original and challenging it can be described as beyond cool. The fact that the staff at SPACES kept a movement alive and challenged art itself made them artists in that way. They encouraged me to be an artist among them by giving me the freedom to think and carve my own ideas. When my first day concluded, I realized that I would be coming back tomorrow, and I couldn’t wait!

Written by: Chealsia Smedley
Photos by: Shayna Mell

Filed under: As the World inTerns, Cleveland, Guest Bloggers, SPACES, , , ,

Build your confidence!

Space Invaders: Foil hats not required

Going to a museum and trying to discuss what you are viewing can induce librarian-like stares from patrons around you. I don’t know about you, but experiencing art in complete silence does not make my experience more meaningful nor more enlightened. It helps to look at a piece of art and turn to my companion to hash out what our different thoughts are on execution, meaning and success. Most times our opinions on various points totally differ but my appreciation for a piece of art or an installation is much richer after voicing my thoughts and hearing those of others.

Space Invaders 2010, a program continued from last year due to popular demand, was created to help viewers gain a better understanding of the work they’ll see in the region. We’ll engage in group discussions at local institutions as we work to conquer our fears and confusion about contemporary art. Everyone will leave the program with tools with which to use on their own.

This year we’ll visit the same local institutions as last year (SPACES, The Sculpture Center, MOCA and The Cleveland Museum of Art) but we’ve added an invasion to the Akron Art Museum and a field trip to The Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus. If you want to participate again or want to give it a shot for the first time just click here and sign up!

If you have any thoughts about last year’s experience please share them below or let me know if you have any questions about what to expect.

Filed under: Cleveland, Miscellaneous Debris, SPACES, , , , ,

DISTRIBUTE, DISCUSS, EXHIBIT

Art Work at SPACES
Art Work: A National Conversation About Art, Labor, and Economics; Photography by Jerry Mann

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED IN THE NATIONAL CONVERSATION ABOUT ART, LABOR, AND ECONOMICS

We are all coping as best we can with the aftermath of the tremendous global economic collapse, the depths of which seem to still be unknown, the criminals who created it still not held accountable. This prolonged economic crisis has already had a transformative effect on the arts. It is disastrous for those who in recent years benefited handsomely from the way things operated. There are a large number of us, however, that did not, and the crisis has caused an even greater reduction in the few resources that were once dependable.

We think that there are some really good things that can come out of this crisis. The established ways of doing things and the treatment of artists and arts professionals were not working well for the majority of people. We think it is an opportune moment to critically reassess the status quo and to push for more equitable working, labor, and economic conditions for artists and arts professionals. It is a chance to insist on an opening up of the infrastructures built for the dissemination of art far beyond commercial market interests and the domination of art discourse by commercial gallery centers and their university training grounds.

We would like to invite you to join us in shifting the discussion and opening things back up. In a collaborative effort, Temporary Services (a Chicago-based art collective) and SPACES (yours truly) produced and distributed Art Work: A National Conversation About Art, Labor, and Economics, a one-off newspaper that features regional reports, historical analysis, projects past and present that address economic issues within art, and more. After distributing nearly all of the existing newspapers we have in print, we urge your to visit and share the corresponding website where you can find the pdf of the newspaper (high and low res!).

The paper was designed by Temporary Services so that it can easily be taken apart and transformed into an exhibition. We hope to find people who will set up an exhibition of the paper and hold discussions in their cities around the topics within. We also hope that others will see the paper as a challenge and start producing their own publications and start working for a healthy resilient treatment of artists in our society.

The paper continues to be distributed in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. We have been mailing copies to artist run spaces, art collectives, individuals, artist networks and unions, all major art institutions, art media, and universities with art programs.

In addition to the printed paper, artandwork.us presents the contents of the paper and a calendar of exhibitions and discussions around the U.S. A PDF in various formats for use in classes, reprints, electronic dissemination, and other purposes is found here.

Here is how you can get involved:
– Distribute the paper in your city.
– Host an exhibition of the paper.
– Hold a discussion about the economic concerns your community has
– All of the above

If you and/or your venue can host an exhibition, an event, and/or distribute copies of this newspaper, please contact us as soon as possible. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions for the newspaper, related events, and/or the website at any time.

Here is a list of events that have taken place so far …

Thank you and we look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Temporary Services and SPACES
temporaryservices.org
SPACESgallery.org

Filed under: Artists, Arts Advocacy, call to artists, Cleveland, SPACES, , , , , , , , , , ,

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