New art. Not old, used art.

Barry happy to be meet you

Photo by Laura Barry

Laura Barry on working with the artist-in-residence, Jiri Suruvka.

The 12th of August was an exciting day at SPACES. On that Wednesday afternoon we welcomed our 27th artist-in-residence, Jiří Surůvka. Suruvka, performance artist extraordinaire, hails from the Czech Republic where he teaches new media at Ostrava University. But to me this day was more than just the welcoming of Jiří, it also marked the turning point in my “career” at the gallery—graduating from gallery volunteer to assistant to the manager of the SPACES World Artist Program! Don’t let that fancy title confuse you; my job can basically be summed up in two words: Jiří’s assistant. That’s right, I had the awesome job of hanging out with the visiting artist and taking him shopping.

On a typical day, Jiří and I could be found tooling around town in my Toyota Camry, shopping for the best deals on photo frames, 2×4’s, heat guns and the like (or unlike, as the case may be). Along the way, I also got the chance to learn all about the Czech Republic and see Cleveland, for the first time, though the eyes of a tourist.

During one of the first days I spent with Jiří, we stopped at a grocery store so he could buy cigarettes. Anyone in America can tell you that we keep cigarettes under pretty heavy security in this country. It was no surprise to me when the cashier had to go to the back room to get the master key for the heavy-duty lock and chains on the doors of the cigarette case. To Jiří, this set of actions was absurd! “They barricade cigarettes like they are guns,” he remarked and started laughing. This was just one of the many times Jiří forced me to see America with fresh eyes. After all, routine events seem new and exotic when you’re with someone who has never seen them before.

It’s been an eye-opening four weeks traveling around and getting to know our current SWAP artist and I look forward to meeting the next one. I’ll keep you posted!. If you missed the opening, don’t forget to stop in and see Jiří’s work on display at SPACES until October 23rd.


Filed under: Artists, Cleveland, Guest Bloggers, SPACES, SWAP Stories, , , , , , , ,

Um, excuse me, but is your wordle showing?


Sometimes I am surprised about what Cleveland art lovers don’t know about SPACES.

For example, I’ve had conversations with people who attend every SPACES opening, but were not aware of our amazing artist-in-residence program, the SPACES World Artists Program (SWAP), which (to date) has brought 27 artists from around the world to live and make art in our city.

“Oh, that’s so cool! I didn’t know about it,” I’ve heard more than one exhibition attendee say, once they have the full scoop on SWAP.

It makes me wonder sometimes exactly what we’re conveying in our messages … emails … conversations … about SPACES. Sometimes as a fundraiser, it’s really, really hard to know how to tell my organization’s story effectively. What words resonate? How much text is too much? Are we staying on-message?

Today, though, I learned about Wordle, and never again will I have to wonder what we’re conveying on our homepage. According to the website, Wordle is “a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.”

Here’s our Wordle. It might not tell you everything about SPACES … but it’s kind of pretty.

— Posted by Sarah “Give us Money” Hoyt

Filed under: SPACES, SPACES Funders & Donors, SPACES staff, SWAP Stories, , , ,



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