Doubting Thomas Gallery: Seeing Is Believing
Doubting Thomases are skeptics. They won’t believe without proof. The first Doubting Thomas was an apostle who wouldn’t accept the resurrected Jesus until he felt the latter’s wounds.
In Tremont, doubting thomas is an art gallery. A venue one must see to believe. All-local artists? Commission-free? Raw and utterly non-commercial? Believe it.
What’s more, doubting thomas is among Tremont’s most-long-lived art spaces. It was formed in 2000 by Dr. Theresa Boyd, Ann Cantillon, Robert Ritchie and Mark Hopkins, whose goal was an egalitarian setting for art, poetry and performance. Seventeen years later the gallery is still going strong.
But don’t show up believing you’ll find cookie-cutter art, leg lamps or junk jewelry. Instead, a dozen or so times a year (usually coinciding with Walkabout Tremont), you’ll encounter an all-new show featuring stuff that can’t be found elsewhere. Some events feature one artist; others have themes inspired by groups of artists.
Consider one such theme: In 2001, doubting thomas staged Walk Across America: Out-of-town friends, vacationers and galleries were asked to send handfuls of earth. Dirt samples from all 50 states were combined; an outline of the country was created in the middle of the gallery floor and filled with the dirt mélange. Shazaam: gallery visitors could Walk Across America!
Another highlight was three DayGlo Shows staged over the last decade. The mission was to bring modern sensibilities to a phenomenon most of us believe expired in the late 1960s. Using donated materials from Cleveland’s DayGlo Color Corporation, artists created an experience well-removed from vibrating peace signs, op art and floating pirate ships.
In April 2017, doubting thomas staged The Snake is Awake. After all, what genre offers more shapes, colors and artistic interpretations? Symbols of beauty, fear, fertility, predation . . . Reptiles rule!
More recently still was a one-man show by Tremont’s legendary Sign Guy. If you’ve walked around Tremont and spotted creative tags, poster art, and (particularly) idiosyncratic bird and cat images, you’ve seen the Sign Guy’s work.
So what’s ahead for doubting thomas? For Dr. Theresa, the answer is enigmatic but simple: Doubting thomas will go where it goes. Tremont is changing fast, which makes it tough for populist, non-commercial spaces to survive. But doubters have been wrong before. Ask the apostle.
Tremont Summer Happenings:
Walkabout Tremont – second Friday of every month
Art, fashion, music, food and drink, street performers; 6 to 10 p.m. throughout the year. Visit WalkaboutTremont.com for more details. Summer 2017 dates: June 9, July 14, August 11
Taste of Tremont – July 16
Arts in August – weekends in Lincoln Park throughout August
Tremont Arts & Cultural Festival – September 16 & 17
c/o Tremont West Development
2406 Professor Ave.,
Cleveland OH, 44113
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