Preview of Hodge School Arts Open House: Friday and Saturday, 12/2 & 12/3

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Thu, 12/01/2005 - 01:03.

Hodge School is a former elementary school, a turn-of-the-century brick building with wide, tall halls and many wide-open rectangular rooms still with the original blackboards and children’s coat closets. The building is currently being used as an artist live-work space. But it is not just the building that is conducive to art; an artists’ community is thriving there.

At a gathering last weekend to discuss their work, that included seven of the artists hosting an open house this weekend,  it was apparent that they each have very different talents to contribute, but they are all interested in being successful in Cleveland.

Pamela Dodds is from Boston. Of the group, she is the newest to Cleveland. She has only been here about a year. The Hodge satisfies her need for a live/work space. Dodds considers herself primarily a painter but she has recently embarked on a highly creative and successful foray into the realm of printmaking. She had a one person show at Pilgrim Church in Tremont a few weeks ago. Her prints are infused with emotion, and a rhythm that seems to originate from the act of carving the block. Two large-scale recent paintings are hanging in the second floor common area at the Hodge. Dodds’ paintings and prints are about human relationships, though they are not autobiographical and the narratives are elusive. What the viewer brings to the work is important to her.

Charmaine Spencer is from Michigan. She is a recent graduate of the CIA. Her works are about the act of building, but they seem to reference something much broader than human architectural endeavors. Wood bound by rope and twine, her pieces take practical, utilitarian, techniques to the level of obsession. Her massive BFA piece dominates her studio like a lovingly cultivated house plant grown out of control,

Catherine Stackpole is a fiber art student at CIA. She is not originally from Cleveland but she says that she loves it here. Having a studio at the Hodge gives her work a broader perspective. Stackpole’s works are about the experience of viewing. Her current work involves collecting and creating a film based on her collections. She collects things like scraps of fabric, jewelry, fishing lures and figurines and stores them in shoeboxes. She does not alter the objects she collects, she treats each little object like a tiny treasure in her videos. She also works in glass and more traditional fiber art materials.

Brian Nicholls is a CIA alumnus. He is a former medical illustrator, and currently an abstract painter. Works from several periods of his career on display in his studio show his interest in line and color. His studio is also a lesson in Renaissance art. For example, appropriated images from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, Caravaggio’s Crucifixion of St. Andrew –the masterpiece at the CMA – appear in his paintings. Now Nicholls’ work is all about texture. A large completely abstract painting still in progress on an easel has an all over impasto.

Kimberley Venable is a photographer and recent graduate of CIA. Her BFA project was a beautifully bound book with prints of her work. She is currently doing work for the Plain Dealer and she started her own business with a friend

Rafala Green has returned to Cleveland after years of working in other cities. She is a teacher and public art advocate, and the instigator and initiator of the group at the Hodge. Her “labyrinths” in pastel with her unique hand made frames hang in the second floor common area. Their bright colors and spiritual quality are captivating but it is her labyrinth in the yard outside the building that has really drawn in and captivated the community. Her outdoor labyrinth, made of brick boarders and plantings is an ambitious project that requires the help of all the artists in the Hodge and the people in the neighborhood – people who once felt alienated by the artists, but have now become part of the community.

Miguel Brown Jr. is the youngest artist at the Hodge. Still in high school, he lives with his parents Yoyo and Miguel Brown Sr. His parents are very proud of him and supportive of his career choice. Aerosol art and digital music production are his preferred media. Miguel’s mother Yoyo Brown is also a talented artist. She is a culinary artist – the only one at the Hodge. Hopefully her delicious Asian style creations will be included in this weekend’s open studio.

Visiting the Hodge Artists’ Community is much more than just another gallery opening. The opportunity to see an artist’s live/work space offers a rare glimpse of the artistic process that is always missing in a gallery setting. This weekend come meet and support the Hodge artists, see some great art and experience the successful reuse of one of Cleveland’s fine old buildings. For more about this event, visit



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I highly recommend this

I've had many friends at the Hodge school and it is a very special place bringing together remarkable people - be part of this and stop by for their open house Friday or Saturday.

Excellent open house

Stopped by the Hodge School open house on Saturday - very friendly and inspiring experience. Besides seeing the great art produced, I was able to talk with the artists showing and living there and see their studios. All was good - I hope they make this a regular event!