Matchmaking: Gray Haus Studios Introduces Local Art to Tri-C
There’s more to life as a fine art consultant than finding the right piece for a client. Christy Gray, founder of Gray Haus Studios, knows this first hand.
Each day, she bridges the gap between art collectors and those who create art.
“I’m here to ensure my client trusts that the schematics and maquettes will become the final art they envision,” she says. “I stay in touch with the artists we commission to check in on progress, answer questions, and serve as the connection between them and the client.”
Gray even has been known to roll up her sleeves and get involved with the physical side of larger installations. Twenty years of project management, planning, sales and marketing have helped Gray further hone her skills on the art world’s frontlines. No day on the job is typical. She likes it that way.
Since late 2017, Gray has curated her largest solo project to date—three projects involving multiple commissions for Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). The college recently completed three major construction initiatives—a Metro Campus Center in downtown Cleveland, a new Western Campus STEM Center in Parma, and a new Westshore Campus STEM building in Westlake.
University officials knew they wanted all three projects to include original art; Gray knew she wanted to expand her reach into the higher-ed sector. She dove into the request for proposal process. Each project had a separate RFP, and Gray won each of them.
Each project also had a theme. The Metro Campus project art would focus on area history, education, and the surrounding community. The Western STEM space’s artwork would show the connectivity between science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Meanwhile the Westshore Campus project is surrounded by wetlands and would have art focused on nature to reflect this.
Gray then set out to find just the right mix of Cuyahoga County artists who would have the ability to create commissioned pieces that represent these themes.
“The selection process was intentional. I wanted art for a county educational institution from people who live in the county,” she says, adding that she also looked at candidates’ previous work, their availability and, finally, approved maquettes based on a walk-through of the new spaces.
Ultimately, Gray commissioned twelve artists for the Metro Campus, five for Western and five for the Westshore expansion. In total, she oversaw the development and installation of 34 unique local artworks, ranging from painting and murals to photography to 3D creations. The massive endeavor was a group effort. Gray points out that “It all came to life by sharing ideas, connecting people who need to meet each other and finding new opportunities for clients and artists.”
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