History in the Making: The 30th ArtCraft Studio Show
Since 1987, numerous Cleveland artists have shared an expansive co-operative studio on the 6th floor of the ArtCraft Building at 2570 Superior Avenue and ever since have hosted the annual ArtCraft Studio Show. This December marks the 30th anniversary of this well-attended and much-anticipated Cleveland art show!
The roots of today’s annual show can be traced back to 1981 to the “Bohemian Department Store” held in shared artist space within the yet-to-be-renovated Tower Press Building. From this event, the idea for the Eat at Art’s exhibit at SPACES sprouted in 1982. When the original artists eventually moved their studios to the ArtCraft Building in 1987, the annual event moved with them and has been held on the first weekend of December as the ArtCraft Studio Show every year since.
The ArtCraft Building 6th Floor Artists’ Studio Co-Op was created in 1987 by founders Angelica Pozo, Dan Postotnik, George Bowes, Andrea Serafino, Susan Weir and Paula Dubaniewicz. They were a collection of Cleveland Institute of Art graduates and like-minded artists who wanted high ceilings, big windows and great light, in addition to a community. In the 30 years since its founding, over 80 artists have called the 6th floor their studio. One can say that this co-op is to the Cleveland art community and its loyal supporters what (Six Degrees of) Kevin Bacon is to Hollywood and movie fans.
The co-op is currently shared by an eclectic group of professional artists and educators. While not a live/work space in the contemporary sense, it is open to resident artists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Lit-up windows on the 6th floor might be a common sight for night-time drivers on I-90, as the ArtCraft Building looms directly over the highway just west of Deadman’s Curve at the Superior Avenue overpass.
The co-op fiercely operates as a collaborative, deftly improvising to create a healthy and abundant creative energy in the studio. Networking electronically and in-person is an integral part of their studio experience. They share artists’ exhibit prospects, grant requests, teaching and job leads and other professional opportunities as well as studio materials, mentoring and other intellectual resources with one another.
It is with this commitment and nurturing spirit that the 6th Floor Artists’ Studio Co-Op curates and coordinates guest artists as well as neighboring resident artists in the building who are participating in the annual event. Co-op members curate the show with their patrons in mind, seeking out emerging and established artists who are creating fine crafts and art with accomplished techniques and uniquely personal styles or narratives within their work.
The ArtCraft Studio Show truly is a cooperative effort! Guest artists are asked to help stamp the 7000 or more promotional postcards we mail out to patrons to announce the show. Participating artists also distribute an additional 15000 postcards to key venues around Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Columbus. The guest artists’ modest booth fees for each year’s show are calculated to cover the expenses of each year’s event and do not ever profit the co-op. In the 30 years of designing promotional materials and day-of-event-signage, guest-artists’ creations have evolved from bright hand-painted signs and humble flyers to the Instagram video pieces and compelling Facebook posts of the present day. It’s no wonder that this annual Cleveland artists’ production draws in visitors from all over the United States.
Current ArtCraft Building 6th Floor Artists’ Co-Op artists:
Alan Mintz is an abstract painter who joined the co-op within a few years of its founding. Alan is an art teacher in the Cleveland school system at Bard High School Early College.
Barbara Chira is a professor in the Foundations Department at Cleveland Institute of Art. Her concentration is on installation scale drawing and conceptual art.
Randy Maxin is an abstract painter known for compositions of bold silhouettes in old wallpapers against spare, minimalist landscapes. Randy is also the manager of River Gallery in Rocky River. He collaborates with his husband Rick Roscoe, a City of Cleveland manager, to create their line of fine handmade greeting cards.
Jamie Ausperk, ceramics artist and recent CIA graduate, is a former student of Mark Yasenchack. She is currently focusing on designs for her line of hand-sewn bags, embroidered patches and accessories.
Claire Raack is a ceramics artist who creates functional artworks inspired by natural and organic forms. Claire teaches ceramics and design at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin High School.
A mother and daughter share a studio overlooking Cleveland’s Eastside. Janet Luken is a retired high school art teacher and a metaphoric and expressionist painter. Nancy Luken is a graphic designer and found-object artist known for her modern lamps and sculpture.
Ikuko Miklowski is a ceramics artist, throwing beautiful and diminutive functional stoneware vessels, bowls and other serving pieces.
The artists of Images in Bloom are a dynamic husband-and-wife duo. Steve Bloom is the mad scientist creator of their line of handcrafted soaps and scents; Barb Bloom is a silk painter and jewelry designer and maker. Both Blooms host and teach frequent workshops in their studio.
Irwin Weinberger, another arts educator in the studio, is a painter and mixed-media artist who creates wonderful three-dimensional paintings as well as sculpture. Irwin was selected as a fellow in the 2017 Cleveland Jewish Arts and Culture Lab exhibit, Outside Inside: Exploring Boundaries.
Mark Yasenchack is a teaching artist with ArtHouse and Center for Arts-Inspired Learning. He concentrates on his well-known ceramic and mosaic art.
Christine Ries, the co-op’s newest member, is a painter, curator and arts advocate whose work was featured in a solo exhibit this summer, The Shape of Things, at Harris Stanton Gallery.
Artists’ co-ops are common—although affordable, practical and safe spaces for them are increasingly hard to find. Fortunately for the 6th Floor Artists’ Co-Op, ArtCraft Building owners Global X and building management Hanna Commercial are incredibly supportive of the artists who occupy studios in their building.
ARTCRAFT STUDIO SHOW | DECEMBER 2 & 3
2570 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44114