Submitted by Susan Miller on Sun, 07/16/2006 - 23:01.

Jack on Cleveland Arts Prize...

About Arts Prize...

My take...

What would Aggie Gund, Peter Lewis, Marjorie Talalay say about Jack's take on the artist talent pool here in Northeast Ohio? Should we vote in a sin tax to support such a small pool of talent as she indicates is here?

In dismissing the arts prize she disrespects not only those who won this year, but this long list of past winners:

Here's more in depth news coverage from the PD on Cleveland's arts activities:
The Ingenuity Fest was a stunning display of Cleveland talent and innovation. Can somebody explain the knowledge economy/innovation/creative class to this writer?

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Strange review - The Arts Prize vs. the Pulitzer?!?!

I read that review by Carolyn Jack and thought it was very strange - especially:

But winning the respect and interest of the world outside Cleveland's circle of high-art aficionados - becoming the Pulitzer or even just the Pushcart prizes of the region, let alone the nation - remains elusive.

What the hell is she talking about. Sometimes I think NEO reporters just do things like that so they can call some big shot like the head of the Pulitzer... but I'm not a high-art aficionado so I missed the arts prize and can't offer an opinion, other than it is nice to see it back in action, and I know we can never run out of great candidates for this from NEO in the future.

I do have a suggestion for how to ratchet things up a bit with the arts rize, though - about two years ago I discovered that the names "May Show" and "Cleveland School" were in the public domain so I registered them with the Secretary of State, to keep them from falling into the wrong hands (like the Cleveland Museum of Art again). I'd like to see some artists and supporters take a crack at doing something exciting with them, and that could combine nicely with The Arts Prize. Bounce that around with your high-art aficionados... perhaps get Carolyn Jack's opinion as well... and let me know if you come up with any cool ideas.

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high low

I am so fed up with the high art/low art BS. What happened to art and wannabe art or trying to be art. Who defines art anyway? What spreads outward from this is the issue of class and a divisiveness that permeates our culture like a sickness. Let's face it. Who can afford to pay for art/pay high commissions/big ticket prices? Those with money can support art. But then art is not just a two or three dimensional object that you can own. Art can be a way of life. Art is vision and interpretation/communication of that vision. It comes in all forms like people. Certainly Harvey Pekar doesn't consider himself some snobbish upper crust artist. I don't disrespect him because he worked at the VA anymore than I respect an architect who can make large sums for outrageous buildings like the PBL. I do respect their vision and their hard work to bring that vision to a larger public. Art makes us think; it expands our vision. It can reflect beauty and horror. It is attention and innovative voice given to a subject or to an aspect of our world. For years when I worked in the art world, I heard people say I don't know anything about art, but they just didn't realize how art touched them at every level. Art was in the design of their neighborhoods, their eating implements, etc., in their visual and aural consumption daily.

You don't have to be a high art aficionado to attend the Arts Prize Ceremony. It is a ticketed event and asks for a sum that helps the organization to award cash prizes to artists, but the event continued outside for the public for free. That is elitist or for high-art aficionados?


However, my point is this: screw the high low caste system construct. Support art if you want to and in anyway you want to do so, but please don’t claim that you didn’t go because of class issues. We can’t all attend everything – enough said. Notices were posted, the public was welcomed and invited to attend. I was there, and I can say with certainty, that everyone who was there puts on their pants one leg at a time when standing.


If you are a reporter you might refrain from writing an op-ed piece. Since when did the PD find the money to send writers to parties to review them?


Norm -- with your connections to people like Peter B. Lewis and Agnes Gund and Marjorie Talalay (all great patrons of the arts), as the son of a former dean of the Cleveland Institute of Art, I would think that you might be more supportive of the concept of celebrating the talent in our midst. As someone who launches an idea to gather great patrons of the arts in our region to discuss the impending ballot issue that would support the arts (whether you smoke or simply contribute tax deductible sums), as someone who lives with an art historian, I am surprised at your "high-art aficionado" comment.


What can we do to bridge the digital, the economic, the class, the art, the environmental divide here in Cleveland? Many years ago I spoke with someone who has extensive knowledge of and respect for the art of astrology (I must say this is an area where I have little knowledge). She said that cities and regions, like people, have astrological aspects and that their behaviors are colored by these astrological interactions. Cleveland’s fall back place, the aspect of Cleveland’s being that it will always struggle with is divisiveness characterized by the river that divides east and west -- that historically this divide has been a greater and more prominent casualty for American and regional history than the continental divide. These words spoken to me many years ago still resonate as I struggle to find methods of knitting together the disparate ideas and issues that we face as a region in a global family. I find schism and divisiveness everywhere here. Divided we fall. Will that be our fate? Please say no. Please say that we will struggle together to bridge this/these/the divide(s).

I was being sarcastic about high brow - I'm norm

No doubt art and class are not connected and the only art I have is what I can afford, which means less than a few Franklins and rarely that - but I have a great collection of young artists I love. My biggest purchase lately saw a huge painting from the CIA student show this year... in fact, here's the write-up and the work below... the dog has faux-fur... very cool:

Go Out With A Bang - Nathan Margoni - Oil Painting with Mixed Medium. 7'x5'
"Prism - The Artists Supply Store Painting Award"

Now, about making the arts more known and loved here... I actually started working on REALNEO v0.1 as an effort to get all the arts in NEO together on one portal. I met with lots of artists, who were receptive but not into technology (this was three years ago so has changed), and I met with galleries, which were less receptive and not into technology (1300 was the exception, and Briget Ginley is excellent as well), and I met with many leaders of the great arts institutions like MoCA and the CIA, which were not receptive and remain truly pathetic with technology... CMA wasn't even accessable. What the larger galleries and institutions were not willing to do was collaborate, especially in sharing databases, because they want to own their donors. So they would all rather each fail alone than build an economy for the arts. Add to that they make "art their work" and we get to the root of the problem - art is institutionalized here and big business for lots of non-profits, who ultimately fail to make art big business for artists. Another problem is a few large arts institutions suck so much money out of the economy there is a void for all others - ahead we have $300 million for CMA, $30 million each for CIA and MoCA, and the never ending budget needs of the Orchestra, Opera, etc, etc... without one dollar going to visual "artists".

Where does all this put us... take Ingenuity - 100,000 people came, they say, so what arts are they being encouraged to see today? Were the people who support Parade at the Circle well integrated with Ingenuity? What about the Tunick photo shoot organized by MoCA a few years ago, which was well enough organized that I got a print in the mail months later for participating... did they promote Ingenuity? CIA has 1,000s of students and alumni all over the world, and lots of CIA folks were in Ingenuity - how well did the institution sell that to their global community, so that community could push work another degree of separation away, world-wide - are they woven into our regional arts scene and economy? Try to explain the problem to any of these institutional types and they become defensive and even hostile, because they are paid big bucks to know everything. Worse, they have such scarcity mentailities they truly don't want to risk losing one $ to another arts institution.

But what about the artists - each in competition with each other!?!? I don't know about painters, sculptors, dancers and such, but I brought together the film folks and they couldn't agree on anything they could work together on, and the instituional folks were hostile to seeing anything change on their turf... heven forbid they need to write their grant aps a bit differently this year. Then there is CPAC, now part of COSE, being Greater Cleveland Partnership, pushing arts regionalism... my god what a mess.

So, we are divided by more than a river and bad karma (which are problems here). You are active with Heights Art - how well does that collaborate with Tremont, or 1300? When I lived in New Orleans the 1st Friday of each month was a massive art opening night all over town, from Tulane and Uptown all the way down Magazine to the Warehouse District and even Fauburg... 1,000s of poeple out for art... lots of sales and awareness that was followed up throughout the month. We also had a culture of pride to own local art, which I transfered to NEO when I moved here... and we have great artists here!!!. But galleries in NEO made sure they were in the arts districts, rather than wherever was near home, or near where they thought the money lived (no art in Metairie, Gentily, Covington there... no art in Chagrin Falls, Rocky River, Westlake here!).

Pleanty of best practices out there in the big beautiful world, but as is the case with so much about NEO we have leadership issues at many key points... I could go on and on. Instead, let's see if we can pull together new, organic leadership and collaboration and build some community around May Show. You in?

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i'm in

I do want to continue to pursue other issues, but if I can be a part of encouraging artists and the institutions who educate them, show their work and recognize them together then I will.

I am unclear about your ideas for May Show, but I feel that a push to get the realneo operation out to more people would be a good thing. I like the fact that arts and culture and social and economic and environmental issues are discussed here. It encourages cross fertilization of ideas. I prefer that art be a part of and not apart from the discussion of the whole. realneo represents a coming together and convergence of issues and ideas. Can you tell us how many people use the site and can we send links to some of the discussions out to leaders in the area so that they know that they and their issues are being discussed here? I sent links about Cleveland Play House to Michael Bloom and Tony Brown a while back. Maybe we should do an email campaign to arts (as a place to begin) orgs to let them know that some "regular folk" are concerned about their well being -- you know, market realneo.

BTW I just visited Greg Reese at the East Cleveland Public Library and had a tour of that fab facility. Have you seen the computer labs they have there? the auditorium? This guy is great! He garnered almost 4 million in the past few years to build the addition and renovate the historic 1916 building. No wonder he won the Bergman Prize! I had the honor of taking him the ring designed for Bergman prize winners by CIA prof emeritus and 1961 Arts Prize winner John Paul Miller, who is still working in Brecksville. Read about this amazing guy here talk about art and technology!!! This guy rediscovered the process of gold granulation which had been lost since the time of the Roman Empire! "The original American granulation artist .." Right here in Cleveland! What's more, you couldn't hope to meet a sweeter, more gracious individual! More than ever we need to celebrate the amazing folks in our midst.

Big Greg Reese supporter... my mom too

See the write-up and photos of the East Cleveland library here:

I'm friends with Mort November, who provided key funding for the library renovation, so I am extra supportive. I'm helping Mort plan out a community garden and park to go by the library - the road next to it is now named Debra Ann Place for his daughter... library learing center was funded in her honor as well... he could use some ideas for the park, although I think there are still site selection issues.

BTW, my mom is an advisor to the African American museum and worked with Greg to set up their exhibit of African art, and many of the works there are on loan from my parents' collection. Small world.

As for the May Show - we need to give it to the arts community and see who wants  to share in making that special to the region again. We can get CIA involved - we'll see about the new CMA director - 1300 is always cool - Bridget Ginley - filmmakers - let's start by "mapping the network"... start making a list of who we should brainstorm with and we'll figure out the structure. One thing I can guarantee is excellent technology, a few versions beyond what we are doing with REALNEO... and that I don't want to own or control anything about May Show, except for excellent art and good experiences I find there and in a more vibrant arts community here. I'll give the names, URLs, my time, what ideas I have, and core technology, and I'll reach out to everyone I know to help as well.

I'll be working on my list... let's have a first cut at that together in the next few days.

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responses to Jack's article

Today in the PD are published letters in response to the July 15, 2006 offbase article by Carolyn Jack.

   Way to fight back arts interested locals!

I am looking at the online version. Does anyone know if the print edition gave any ink to the winners?

I saw the arts community response was strong

That was very good to see - I expected there to be a letter from you as well. The site is so poor it is impossible to find anything so I have no idea if they ever linked anything off site - they don't think there is anything else on the web but their site... I did like this dig about their coverage of the Arts Prize...

Isn't it ironic? In your July 15, 2006, article entitled "Cleve land art prizes need higher profile," the winners of the 2006 Cleveland Arts Prize were so low profile that they were hard to find. While the article began on the front page of the Arts & Life section, the winners' names were buried inside on page E5 in the 12th of your 15-pargraph story, and they were not even in bold-face type.

Margaret Simon, Shaker Heights

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