This Saturday (Nov. 1 from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m.), SPACES celebrates the beginning of the end — at least as far as its current location on the Superior Viaduct goes. Optical Delusions: Last Days on the Viaduct is both a celebration of and a goodbye to SPACES’ home for nearly 25 years of its 36 year history. The evening features artwork by more than 75 artists, a fresh farm-to-table presentation by Chef Douglas Katz of Fire Food & Drink, music by violinist Ariel Clayton in the VIP lounge and Secret Soul Club spinning vinyl at 8 p.m., light hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar and more. Even better, you’re encouraged to dress up for this day-after-Halloween costume party (see SPACES’ website for photos from last year’s event).
Although SPACES recently announced a falling out between the organization and its potential new landlord in Ohio City, the organization promised a positive, long-term outcome in a statement to Scene shortly following the announcement. “We learned a lot during this process and we're in an even stronger position now to negotiate terms on our new location with the long-term sustainability of SPACES in mind,” said SPACES Executive Director Christina Vassallo.
While the organization’s future location remains a mystery, there is no doubt that SPACES is continuing to grow in a positive direction. The group recently announced a call for submissions for their upcoming R&D and SWAP programs. This weekend’s event is an opportunity for the community to support one of its iconic cultural institutions during a landmark transitional moment in its history.
“As with anything SPACES-related, you’re guaranteed a rollicking good time,” promises Vassallo. “Just by showing up, you’ll help ensure that experimental art will have a vibrant home in Cleveland.”
The highlight of the evening is, of course, the art. This year’s silent auction features dozens and dozens of works by some of the region’s most accomplished artists. Participating artists include Christi Birchfield, John W. Carlson, Amy Casey, Jeffry Chiplis, Kristen Cliffel, Dana Depew, Michael Dickas, Laurence Channing, Bruce Edwards, Elizabeth Emery, Mallorie Freeman, Michael Gill, Nina Vivian Huryn, Brandon Juhasz, Mimi Kato, Kasumi, Lori Kella, George Kocar, Qian Li, Michael Loderstedt, Christopher Lynn, Liz Maugans, Valerie Mayen, Jason K. Milburn, Charles Mintz, Dana Oldfather, Xan Palay, Deborah Pinter, Angelica Pozo, Bellamy Printz, Arnold Tunstall, Douglas Max Utter, Laila Voss, Mark Yasenchack and many more.
"With over 80 different art pieces/packages — including the opportunity to own parts of the very installation currently atop SPACES by Columbus artist Xan Palay — this particular benefit will be like none other,” explains this year’s “Celebrity Seller” and co-owner of The Maria Neil Art Project, Adam Tully. “Also, being an avid art collector myself, I'm surprised and excited to see something new and different from many of Northeast Ohio's artists. I've been perusing the online gallery for the past week."
SPACES began very humbly with a rather plain-looking notice created on an average typewriter by Ohio native James Rosenberger. The document invited members of the arts community to a “gathering” on May 25, 1978 at 1375 Euclid Avenue. The letter read, “A space is an interdisciplinary arena for the visual and performing arts with an interest in creating and presenting new art including individual and collaborative works. The purpose of this first gathering is to introduce a space to area artists, and to discuss with them outlets for their creative energies during this first year.”
The evening will honor local artists Jeffry Chiplis and Sam Hubish for their efforts during SPACES’ early days on the Viaduct.
In the 36 years since that initial gathering, SPACES has presented the work of more than 9,000 artists in its three venues – Playhouse Square (’78-’81), Warehouse District (’81-’90) and Superior Viaduct (’90-present). During its time on the Viaduct, SPACES has established itself as a sanctuary and laboratory for contemporary artists seeking safe places to experiment with new ideas and media. Their unique programming brings artists to Cleveland from throughout the US and around the world, and still allows local and regional artists an opportunity to showcase their talents as well.
It can be difficult to articulate the role of SPACES, because it’s designed to form around ideas – the organization and exhibition space are meant to be as flexible as possible in order to support a wide range of possibilities within its walls. With this kind of malleability, SPACES is designed to change and grow with whatever comes next.
7 p.m. General Admission tickets are $50, 8 p.m. Dance Party tickets are $10, VIP tickets are $100 and VIP Preview tickets are $150. If you buy a Dance Party ticket, and you want to bid on art, you’ll need to buy a bid number for $10.