The folks at Forum ArtSpace have taken the missionary approach to building an audience: Share food with people and they'll be your friends. Or at the very least they'll stick around to hear your message. The Forum ArtSpace message is contemporary art — especially work by young folks. It's run by recent Cleveland Institute of Art graduates Michael Abarca, Karl Anderson, Nicholas Gulan, and current University of Akron student Paul Woznicki. Their show, Bazaarbecue: Creatively Close, includes paintings, drawings, ceramics, photography, and yes, "adorable plush creatures" by 33 artists. Abarca says that, with so many artists, it will be hung in that kneecap-to-ceiling "salon" style. It opens Friday and continues through September 17, with regular hours 3-8 p.m. on Mondays. Forum ArtSpace is in the West 78th Street Studios (1300 W. 78th St., forumartspace.blogspot.com). Contact them through Facebook. — Michael Gill
On view now at area galleries and museums:
Akron Art Museum: Andrew Moore: Detroit Disassembled: Moore has put together a collection of photos that capture the decline of this once-great industrial giant, showing the vast empty space that used to be populated. After the Akron debut, Moore's exhibit will tour nationally. Through October 10. Also: Isaac Julien-True North: Julien, a British artist and filmmaker, presents a sound and video installation that details the first expedition to the North Pole. The film shows on three screens over almost 40 feet of space and combines "mysterious and haunting sounds" with voices and music. Through October 3 at One South High Street in Akron. Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday. Call 330-376-9185 or visit akronartmuseum.org.
Arts Collinwood: The Art of Character: Chris Seaman began his career shortly after graduating from the Columbus College of Art and Design with a plum job: illustrating the Harry Potter collectible card game. However they look when printed on glossy cards, Seaman's originals are meticulous oil paintings. Since he's been at this for nearly a decade, it's remarkable that it took until now for the first major solo show of his work. Through September 10 at 15605 Waterloo Rd. Hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Call 216-692-9500 or go to artscollinwood.org.
Lunar Paraphrase: The Terrain of Intimacy
: For more than two decades, painter Douglas Max Utter's work has been pulled in several directions. This career retrospective includes 18 mostly large paintings. Through September 19 at 5591 Liberty Ave., Vermilion. Open from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Call 440-963-0611 or visit theartseengallery.com.
Cleveland Museum of Art:
Midwest Modern: The Color Woodcuts of Mabel Hewit: Cleveland artist Mabel Hewit uses her woodcuts to show scenes of remote areas of the United States, such as views of Provincetown, Massachusetts, as well as Saugatuck, Mich. Through October 24. Also: Andrew Borowiec: Cleveland Photographs: The Akron native documents the Flats through black-and-white photography. Through October 17 at 11150 East Boulevard. Open Tuesday-Sunday at 10 a.m. Closes at 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday, and at 5 p.m. all other days. Call 216-421-7350 or visit clevelandart.org.
Contessa Gallery: Nguyen Tuan-Transformations and Balance: This internationally known artist's sculptures incorporate balance — between light and dark, rough and smooth — to represent extremes. Through September 19 at 24667 Cedar Road. Open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Call 216-382-7800 or visit contessagallery.com.
Doubting Thomas Gallery: Poetography Tremont: This collection of works created by teams of photographers and poets is inspired by collaboration between the two groups. Area photographers and poets worked together to create responsive works celebrating the complexities of their respective media. Through August 31 at 856 Jefferson Ave. in Tremont. Open 6-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and by appointment. Call 330-958-4911 or visit myspace.com/doubtingthomasgallery.
Kokoon Arts Gallery: Summer Inventory Sale: This gallery, which places an emphasis on offering both traditional art and works created with digital and electronic media, is offering discounts on original works Friday afternoons. Through September 3 at 1305 W. 80th St. Open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays. Call 216-832-8212 or visit kokoonarts.com.
Legation, a Gallery: Dott Schneider: The Burrows: An expression of Schneider's "connection to and observation of the desert," these mixed-media paintings and large-scale installation represent the impact desert life left on her. Open by appointment and for a closing reception 5:30-11 p.m. September 17. Through September 17 at 1300 D West 78th St. Call 216-650-4201 or visit legationagallery.com.
Local Girl Gallery: Dimitra Pasalis-Glamour Girl: Pasalis uses "Glamour Girl," a character honoring Louise Brooks, along with linoleum to express everyday life in a semi-abstract form. Her recent work also pays homage to various other artists, including Edvard Munch. Through September 17 at 16106 Detroit Ave. Call 216-228-1802 or visit localgirlgallery.com.
1point618 Gallery: What Remains: Painter Michael Benjamin seems to view painting as a meditative retreat from his day job and other worldly concerns. "I have almost entirely abandoned preliminary sketches, approaching each canvas trying to clear my mind of any and all goals — to not think," he says. The Cleveland architect has painted throughout his life, but hasn't shown his work much. Through September 24 at 6421 Detroit Ave. Open by appointment; call 216-281-1618 or go to 1point618gallery.com.
Proximity Gallery: Threshold: Paintings and drawings by local artists Aaron Koehn and Katherine Widen emphasize the contrast between interior and exterior spaces. The exhibition aims to encourage "a conversation between the world you are within and the world without you." Proximity opened in July, and Threshold is its second exhibition. The show opens with a reception from 6-10 pm. Friday, August 27. Through September 10 at 1667 E. 40th St. Hours by appointment. Call 216-262-8903 or visit proximitycleveland.com.
Studio 2091: Mark Mothersbaugh: OH Hi O 2010: Akron native Mothersbaugh discovered a passion for art after learning he was legally blind as a child and receiving his first pair of glasses. His specialties today range from postcard-sized illustrations and large canvas paintings to nylon rugs and jewelry. At 2091 Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls. Call 330-962-4292 or visit studio2091.webs.com.
Wall Eye Gallery: Clear Signs: Six of Cleveland's "most innovative and provocative artists" were given only the prompt "clear signs," and the work they created in response debuted August 20. Pieces range from paintings and prints to neon sculpture. Through September 10 at 5304 Detroit Ave. Open by appointment. Call 216-640-7769 or visit walleyegallery.com.