If You Only Knew Jimmy Scott

Submitted by Susan Miller on Mon, 07/03/2006 - 20:22.

Sometimes here in Cleveland we just don't appreciate what we have, Then we bitch and moan about not having this and that and the great stuff unsupported just drifts away. How often have I heard artists say, "no one buys my work here, so I have to market in location X"? and "I do great there..."

Regarding said issue: Have you ever heard of Jimmy Scott? Well, they can't get enough of him in Tokyo. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio. thas right...

Who hangs out with Jimmy? David Lynch and Lou Reed.

Check out the video of him singing Motherless Child and read about Jimmy here http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/jimmyscott/songs.html#
download it here http://www.emusic.com/album/10598/10598988.html?fref=800008

How is it everyone else knows what we have overlooked.
Jimmy Scott will be recognized for his contribution by the Cleveland Arts Prize, July 7. Come on down for the free event right before the Cleveland Orchestra plays on Public Square. Jimmy's 81, but it won't be too late for him...

Please write up the Cleveland Arts Prize Ceremony!

Thank you for promoting Jimmy Scott. I hope you are planning to write up the Cleveland Arts Prize ceremony b/c I will be out of town and unable to attend.

Cleveland Arts Prize event a smash hit

Cleveland Arts Prize event a smash hit

Submitted by Susan Miller on July 10, 2006 - 1:11pm.

Friday evening at a ticketed event, luminaries of Cleveland’s art world gathered in the English Oak Room in Tower City to see and hear the 2006 Arts Prizes awarded. In attendance were many of the people whose names can be spotted in the upper sections of donor rosters for our venerable arts institutions; also in attendance were the top staff of those institutions and organizations. The crowd also included paparazzi, the artist’s families and well wishers from all areas of the arts.

The evening began with George Pope Professor of Flute, University of Akron and Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music presenting the Emerging Artist Award to Cleveland Composer Ryan Lott. About the 26 year old composer here: http://www.connectparty.com/aboutryan.html and hear a sample of this wild music here: http://www.connectparty.com/sample.mp3 Ryan’s work will be onstage at Ingenuity 11pm, May Company Building "performance corridor" Friday, July 14.

Next up was Jeffrey Strean, Director of Design and Architecture, Cleveland Museum of Art presenting Mid-Career Artist Awards to Cleveland area Industrial designers, John Nottingham and John Spirk. Nottingham and Spirk are poster boys for success, said David Deming, President of the Cleveland Institute of Art. Their most recognized inventions include the spin brush which they sold to Proctor & Gamble and the redesign of the paint can from round to square which they sold to Sherwin-Williams. Their innovation programs have produced dramatic results for Fortune 500 clients as well as fast growth entrepreneurial firms. They have successfully created over 400 commercialized patents. More about Nottingham and Spirk here: http://www.ns-design.com/

Then Mark Cole, Curator of American Art and Sculpture, Cleveland Museum of Art presented a Mid-Career Award to Akron photographer Andrew Borowiec. From 1999 to 2003, he made a series of images of some of the most polluted landscapes in the country: the Gulf Coast in East Texas and Louisiana. In those images he conveys “the dizzying, yet meticulously ordered spaces, the underlying sense of danger, and the strange beauty of those carefully crafted, man-made environments” of chemical plants, oil refineries, power plants, and ports. Those images are forthcoming in a book published by the Center for American Places.

Of interest are his photographs of Cleveland’s industrial landscape, created in 2002 for the George Gund Foundation’s annual report: ice formations on Stones Levee with the Terminal Tower in the background, or the curving pipes of ISG’s east side steel operation. In all of these works, Borowiec suggests the uneasy relationship we humans have with often monstrous constructions that serve our overwhelming need for consumption. Borowiec’s formal and humane images, in combination with our contemporary compulsion to push past the past, make his work especially appealing. They have been exhibited widely and are in the collections of the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, among others.

The Gund commission photos can be viewed here: http://www.gundfdn.org/news_and_publications/annual_reports/photographs/photographs_2002.asp

David Shimotakahara, Artistic Director of Groundworks presented a Lifetime of Achievement Award to choreographer Dianne McIntyre. Born and raised in Cleveland, she began her training here at Karamu House and followed with a degree in Dance at The Ohio State University. Since 1972, she has collaborated with legendary musicians such as Olu Dara, Butch Morris, Lester Bowie, Max Roach, Hannibal, Don Pullen, Cecil Taylor and countless others.  She has choreographed for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and has taught at American Dance Festival and Jacobs Pillow. More about Diane here: http://www.diannemcintyre.com/  Shimotakahara’s guest for the evening was Marjorie Talalay co-founder of the New Gallery, later the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art and now MOCA. Talalay is on the board of Groundworks.

Ron Antonucci, recently promoted to Director of Literature at Cleveland Public Library presented a Lifetime of Achievement Award to Harvey Pekar. Best known for his autobiographical slice of life comic book series “American Splendor,” a first-person account of his downtrodden life, he began as a prolific music and book critic, with reviews in the Boston Herald, Jazz Times, Urban Dialect and Down Beat. His work on radio earned him first place in the PRNDI (Public Radio News Directors Incorporated) in the commentary/essay section in 2000 for his piece “What’s in a name?” and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Writing in 2001 for his piece “Father’s Day.”  More about Pekar here: http://www.harveypekar.com/

As I made myself comfortable on the train headed downtown from Shaker Heights, who should board, but Ron Antonucci with Cleveland Arts Prize Winner 2000 and author, Sarah Willis. Ron was taking his first of many rides on the RTA. He will travel that route daily now in his new role which will have him working at the main branch of the CPL.

But the evening was only half over! More awards were to come!

The Martha Joseph Prize was presented by Professor of Music and Art Department Chair, Howie Smith to the legendary Jimmy Scott. Now 81 years old, Scott is a survivor and a phenom, and his roller-coaster life is evidenced in his voice. To hear Jimmy Scott sing is to undergo an experience unparalleled in music. His voice is at once angelic and earthbound; his unique phrasing is intuitive and emotional, giving the song lyrics extra potency and passion. As one critic said, “He can carry a vowel into forever.” Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, and Marvin Gaye are among the many more famous singers who have praised Scott.

Born third in a family of ten children in Cleveland in 1925, Scott’s mother was a seamstress and his father was an asphalt worker. Early on he sang with his siblings, and knew he wanted to be a singer who could tell a story, modeling himself after Paul Robeson. But the heartbreaks began early for Scott with the death of his mother when he was 13, and the onset of Kallman’s Syndrome, a hormone deficiency that stopped his body from going through puberty, keeping his voice a haunting high alto.

Although he tasted fame in the 1950s singing with the Lionel Hampton band, and had several R&B hits, including “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool,” Scott spent the next four and half decades gigging in small clubs. He has probably cleared as many dishes in his stints as a busboy as he has sung songs. He’s also worked as an elevator operator, and in shipping and receiving at the former Sheraton Hotel in Cleveland.

His early success failed to launch his career until the 1980s, when he moved to New York, signed with a major record label, released several critically acclaimed albums, and performed with Michael Stipe and Lou Reed. He became a star in Europe, is a phenomenon in Japan, and made appearances in films and TV shows, including David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks,” where he sang “Sycamore Trees” in an eerie star turn. According to the New York Times Magazine, Scott is “perhaps the most unjustly ignored American singer of the 20th century.” More on Jimmy Scott here: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/jimmyscott/

Another Martha Joseph prize was awarded to the Idea Center by The Idea Center at Playhouse Square is a breakthrough concept conceived out of unprecedented collaboration between Art Falco, Jerry Wareham and Kit Jensen to serve and inspire the public.  Much more than a building, the Idea Center is a home for creative thinking and learning, one-of-a-kind cooperation and self discovery.  The architect, Paul Westlake of Westlake Reed Leskosky (http://www.vwrl.com/) was one of the sponsors of the evening’s activities. He and his wife Suzanne (who was the backbone of Young Audiences of Greater Cleveland for many years) were in attendance. Also in the room, architect, Christopher Diehl of URS Corporation (more about this brilliant and personable young architect here: http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/inside/dev_alumni/Alumni%20News/Diehl,%20Christopher.htm) whose offices are in the Idea Center building at 1375 Euclid Avenue in the heart of the theater district. Since its first wing was built in 1912, the building has housed offices of Stouffer's Foods, a public library, a furniture store and the radio station, WJW, where deejay Alan Freed first uttered the phrase "rock and roll" on the air.

And the evening continued with another Martha Joseph Prize awarded to Bill Blair and Bill Joseph. That’s right, Bill Joseph is the son of the Arts Prize co-founder Martha Joseph. More about this legacy here: http://www.clevelandartsprize.org/speccit_1967.htm

Were it not for the gargantuan efforts of Bill and Bill, there would be scant arts in Ohio. Known affectionately as “The Bills,” Bill Joseph and Bill Blair have worked ardently for 30 years to push Ohio’s arts and culture into the hearts and minds of legislators. By founding the statewide advocacy organization Ohio Citizens for the Arts (OCA) in 1976, and working tirelessly with the Ohio State Legislature, they have also secured millions of dollars for State Capital Improvements grants for Northeast Ohio cultural institutions. Through its history, OCA has served as a model for the country and a catalyst for the creation of other statewide arts advocacy organizations. A resident of Shaker Heights, Joseph is a partner in the law firm Weston, Hurd, Fallon, Paisley & Howley since 1989. He received his B.A. in 1968 and his J.D. in 1972 from Columbia University. Today, he specializes in nonprofit corporate and tax law and advocacy regarding cultural, educational, and social service organizations and health care providers. Blair, a resident of Canton and Columbus, received his B.A. in History and Government, his M.A. in Public Administration, and his J.D. from the College of Law at The Ohio State University. When he served as Executive Counsel to the Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, he drafted and helped pass many bills benefiting Ohio’s natural resources and environment, including the creation of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

But the evening did not end. Marcie Bergman, widow of the late great Robert P. Bergman came to the microphone to present the Bergman Award to Greg L. Reese. Reese is Executive Director of the East Cleveland Public Library, for which he has raised nearly $4 million from 40 foundations, corporations, and individuals to create a new wing and a state-of-the-art performance facility.

“My library is the most important institution in my community,” he said. To wit, the library does everything from tax preparation to hosting national jazz acts, from teaching computer skills in its labs to providing a new space for the Black Heritage Collection, a collection of print and non-print materials created by African Americans, including artifacts and literature collected by Icabod Flewellen, founder of Cleveland’s African-American Museum.

“Ever resourceful,” says longtime resident and community activist Mae E. Stewart about Reese. “In place of [a] levy, Greg called upon others outside and within our community to privately fund a capital campaign that would bring us the innovative library expansion that has enhanced our community beyond anything that we could have imagined.”

Designed by architect Richard Fleischman (also in the audience and a longtime board member of CAP), the library’s addition was named the Debra Ann November Learning Center, after the daughter of benefactor Mort November (also in the audience), who says, “His vision for the library was also a vision for the people of East Cleveland, and his commitment to this project was the reason it succeeded.” Iris and Mort November contributed a considerable sum toward Reese’s vision.

Also in attendance were other library luminaries, Andrew Venable of Cleveland Public Library and Madeleine Brookshire of the Cuyahoga County Library. Jazz great Vanessa Rubin will perform at the East Cleveland Library July 16 4-6 pm.

Director of the Cleveland Music School Settlement and CAP board member, Daniel Windham closed the evening presenting scholarship awards to students in three areas. Christine Aprile received the John Paul Miller Award in the visual arts at CIA. (John Paul Miller was on hand to hear about the award. John Paul is one of the first winners of the CAP in 1961. Read about John Paul here: http://www.clevelandartsprize.org/visart_1961.htm He will be sizing the ring he designed for the Bergman Prize winners for Reese later this week. Nottingham and Spirk had earlier praised John Paul for his guidance during their years as students at CIA. No doubt their greatest influence was another Arts Prize winner Viktor Schreckengost http://www.clevelandartsprize.org/visart_1973.htm ) .

The newly launched Kathryn Karipides Scholarships went to Sheetal Gandhi and Robin Anderson for summer study in dance. Anderson is using her scholarship currently for study in Vienna and Gandhi for study in Bali.

The winner of the Cleveland Arts Prize Scholarship administered via Cleveland Scholarships Programs, Inc. is Joseph Veasey, a student of architecture at Miami University. Veasey was in attendance and had the opportunity to meet such well known architects as Fleischman, Bucchieri, Diehl and Westlake.

After the awards were finished in the Oak Room, participants headed out to Public Square to watch a video presentation about the 2006 winners produced by WVIZ’s Dennis Knowles. The evening wrapped up with a performance by the Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of James Gaffigan with soprano Measha Brueggergosman. The city was alive with the arts. In the crowd were spotted city councilmen, county commissioners, Convention and Visitors Bureau VPs, Thomas Mulready of CoolCleveland and James Levin and kids taking a last sit down before Ingenuity ramps up to full steam. Halim El-Dabh (1990 winner of the Cleveland Arts Prize) had just completed a performance of 1000 drums as one of the Ingenuity Fest’s kick-off events. He and Ryan Lott conversed stage side as the orchestra members filed onstage.

The event was an ocean of love for the arts. We have much to be thankful for here in Northeast Ohio when it comes to the arts. If you’re wondering about that just visit www.clevelandartsprize.org and take a look at the long list of luminaries that have been awarded over the past 45 years. Posts of the new winners will be up soon. To the visionary and hard working board, staff and juries of the Cleveland Arts Prize (full disclosure – I am their secretary/bookkeeper) we owe our thanks for bringing recognition to these outstanding artists and arts leaders in our midst. I encourage you to consider joining us for next year’s event. Where else can you be surrounded by such a broad array of talent and support for the arts!? I have attended for years and have considered it money well spent. Where else would I have met such luminaries?


Susan thank you for filling

Susan thank you for filling everyone in. It sounds like it was a spectacular night and an important event to document as a history of all the greats in the Cleveland arts scene! The links make it especially interesting.

more news on Jimmy Scott

Looks like we beat the Kennedy Center only by a few months... Jeanie Scott's posting of the letter Jimmy received from Kennedy Center I’ll keep you posted as the news unfolds.

PS Jimmy will be singing at the Carl and Louis Stokes benefit at the Western Reserve Historical Society November 17.