Arts » Arts Lead

Spaces' Monster Drawing Rally Revs Up Artistic Action This Weekend



Now in its seventh year, Spaces' Monster Drawing Rally is one of the city's most highly anticipated annual art events. For one night only, more than 100 artists from throughout Northeast Ohio will create original artwork inside Spaces' new home in Hingetown. Drawing takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, and the event continues until 10 p.m.

It is not often that 100 artists gather under one roof to create. Typically, artists do their craft in the solitude of their studios, and the completed work appears in galleries like magic. Spaces offers these talented artists the opportunity to perform like tightrope walkers without a net in front of hundreds of viewers. It also gives the audience a rare glimpse into more than a hundred creative processes. In one night, viewers can observe dozens of techniques and styles.

"Everything we do this year in our new home is taking on a different, yet familiar, tone," says Spaces' executive director Christina Vassallo. "This year's Monster Drawing Rally will include all the fun things that only Spaces can pull off, like organizing over 100 Cleveland-based artists to create new artwork on the spot, and having space for kids and teens to make their own masterpieces with materials that we provide. It's fascinating to see the range of approaches that so many different kinds of artists take to their work, up close in such a frenetic environment."

Beginning at 6 p.m., approximately 35 artists will begin drawing. The word "drawing" has always been used loosely, with artists frequently printing, photographing, sculpting, etc. During the hour, some artists create one work, while others produce several. At the top of each hour, a new group begins, and this continues for three, hour-long rounds.

All works are sold for $75 each to support the nonprofit organization and its programming. Artwork cannot be purchased while it is being created. Guests can only purchase a work once it is hung on the wall. A cash-and-carry event, guests take purchases home at the end of the evening. For the audience, the best part may be the ability to purchase work that was created in front of your eyes. Not only do you get a new, one-of-a-kind work of art; you get a story to go along with it.

Young artists are encouraged to join in by creating and displaying their art in the Lil' Monster and Teen Wolf drawing sections in the Spaces Mistake Lab.

Admission includes a spin on the Blick Art Materials Prize Wheel, non-stop dance party and cash bar. Several food trucks will be parked outside the gallery. Unsold work will remain on view from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 23.

Monster Drawing Rally admission is $5, and free for Spaces season pass holders and children age 17 and under.

The First 100+ Days, Yoko Inoue and Home Again.

Less than two weeks later, Spaces debuts its latest exhibitions: The First 100+ Days, Yoko Inoue and Home Again. Opening with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 5, all three exhibitions remain on view through June 30.

Curated by Spaces executive director Christina Vassallo, with assistance from Spaces R&D coordinator Karl Anderson, The First 100+ Days is a group exhibition of Ohio-based artists' initial responses to the first phase of Trump's presidential term, specifically his immigration policy.

"Through this exhibition and our calendar of related events, we can glean something about how Ohioans are processing the social, economic and political implications of the shifting policies," says Vassallo. "At the opening reception, visitors can expect to see newly created artworks by nine Ohio-based artists, experience a performance by choreographer and dancer Gregory King, and engage with members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association of Cleveland through the 'Meet a Muslim' campaign."

Based in Brooklyn, New York, Yoko Inoue is Spaces' current SWAP Artist in Residence. During her time here, Inoue is researching the Cleveland Museum of Art's Japanese Art Collection, particularly pertaining to former director Sherman Emory Lee and his role as a "Monuments Man" in Japan during post-WWII occupation.

Inoue's exhibition, Tea Taste Democracy and Upside Down Objects, juxtaposes Lee's understanding of Japanese cultural identity with the widely circulated kitsch figurines that were stamped "made in occupied Japan" and sold to America's middle class as home decor. As part of the exhibition, Inoue is working with the Cleveland Institute of Art's ceramics department to create a series of figurines that question these objects' contemporary value and relevance.

Curated by Cigdem Slankard, Home Again is a series of videos on view in Spaces' Vault. Home Again explores the meaning of "home" in a contemporary context, as both a physical place and an abstract emotion.


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