After five years of hard work, the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve (AAWR) is finally ready to debut its most comprehensive publication of local and regional art to date. The Archives Speak: Insights and Images of Ohio Artists features portraits, biographical and career information and examples of the artwork of more than 60 archived artists.
This Saturday, AAWR hosts a launch party and book signing. The patron’s opening begins at 6 p.m., with a public reception following at 7 p.m. A number of the featured artists will be on hand this Saturday to sign copies of the book, and an exhibition of selected works from the book will be on view in the gallery through Monday, Dec. 15.
“For the past five years, Roger Welchans and Rota Sackerlotzky have been working diligently on the definitive guide to the archived artists in our permanent collection,” explains Herbert Ascherman, Jr., President of the AAWR’s board and archived artist. “These artists represent the finest that Cleveland has produced in the last 50 years. The archives’ mission is to share these artists in the present and preserve them for future generations, preserve the work of these creators for future generations and to share them with present generations. The archive is extremely proud of this publication as it will introduce the variety of artists that we archive to the general public it is our gift to the Ohio constituency that we have served since 1996.”
“The reason why AAWR undertook this project is a promise to all archived artists to keep their memory alive and make it easier for future art historians to do research on Ohio artists,” explains one of the authors of the book and AAWR board member Rota Sackerlotzky. “The book offers a glance into the private lives and work of AAWR's archived artists.”
Through firsthand insight from the artists themselves, The Archives Speak offers context to academia, emerging local and regional artists and art patrons. Through this historical context, the AAWR hopes to more clearly define the role and narrative of local and regional art.
“We wanted all living artists to write down a personal story about an important event in their life that helped in their decision to become an artist or provoked changes in their art,” adds Sackerlotzky. “We tried to avoid the usual artist's statement. These artists made their own choices for their artwork, their portraits and what to include in their short chronologies. For the deceased artists, the editors did the necessary research and made the decision.”
The AAWR is a unique asset to our community. The organization was founded in 1996 by a collective of nine prominent local artists. Both an exhibition space and an archival facility, the organization preserves, exhibits, documents and promotes the work of Ohio’s visual artists through exhibitions, educational programs and ongoing research.
"This organization has already accomplished much of what it set out to do, and for those concerned about future generations, it will provide a fuller, more accurate record of the true nature and diversity of the artistic production in this area," proclaims William H. Robinson, Curator of Modern European Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, in a statement from The Archives Speak.
The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve is located at 1834 E. 123rd St. in University Circle. Free parking is available in the lot in front of the building and all along E. 123rd St. Saturday’s public reception at 7 p.m. is free and open to the public. For more information, call (216) 721-9020.