It’s finally official. SPACES has announced plans to relocate thanks to a purchase agreement through Fred and Laura Bidwell, local arts advocates and founders of Transformer Station. In a press release today, SPACES announced plans to move just steps away from Transformer Station, and just blocks from its current location. SPACES will move into the former Van Rooy coffee rosters building, at 2900 Detroit Ave., which the Bidwells purchased last year.
The design of the interior and exterior of the building will be overseen by John Williams, principal of the award-winning architecture and design firm Process Creative Studios. SPACES will occupy the ground floor’s 9,300 sq. feet. The new space will allow the organization to increase its programming spaces, art production areas and educational facilities, including a dedicated classroom space for engaging the community. The space will also include artist workshop and studio areas, three galleries with 13 ft. ceilings and rooftop access with an inspiring view of Lake Erie. SPACES plans to program performances, film screenings and social gatherings with this new rooftop access.
To support the relocation, the Bidwells made a $150,000 donation toward the cost of the facility and are financing the mortgage at a below-market rate. “Laura and I are thrilled to have SPACES in the neighborhood as an artistic resource and a catalyst for growth and innovation," Fred Bidwell said in the press release. "We believe that the arrival of SPACES to Hingetown will complete the transformation of the neighborhood into a national model for successful creative place-making.”
Christina Vassallo, SPACES’ Executive Director added, “The accessibility of this iconic building enables SPACES to continue bringing Cleveland the level of experimental artistic activity that a city of this size and sophistication deserves. It’s a dream space to showcase contemporary art. The building’s design—as a community resource and home for artists from around the world—is consistent with our aim to present stellar programming in an inviting environment.”
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.”
In the nearly 40 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.
“This move is an essential evolution of SPACES as we continue to engage the community in the creation of new work,” said Thomas Starinsky, President of SPACES’ Board of Directors. “I am proud of the effort the board and staff have put forth in search of our new location. We are all very excited to move to a new facility that will improve our ability to support artists and enhance how we involve the public.”
SPACES has embarked on a capital campaign with a goal of nearly $2.5 million for “acquisition, construction, furnishings and equipment, and program-related expenses.” An additional goal of $1.025 million has been added for the SPACES Future Fund, including a cash reserve and endowment, which would secure the organization’s future beyond the move.
As stated in the press release, “To date, SPACES has raised over $1.4 million, including a $500,000 lead gift from The George Gund Foundation, which has supported SPACES’ cutting-edge programs and operations since 1997. $200,000 of the Gund Foundation gift is in the form of a challenge grant, encouraging SPACES to re-energize existing donors and attract new supporters. SPACES board and staff have pledged a 100% commitment to the capital campaign.”
SPACES will close its doors at its current location at 2220 Superior Viaduct in November of this year, three years after it sold its 3-story warehouse building that it had owned since 1990. A target grand opening is set for January of 2017, and construction could begin as early as May.
On April 16, SPACES hosts its Monster Drawing Rally, where 100+ artists will be drawing live in the gallery of its current location, and all works will be sold for $75.
(SPACES) 2220 Superior Viaduct, 216-621-2314, spacesgallery.org