The day we knew that schools would close, the first thing we started talking about was how to keep arts-learning going, and what were other ways that Art House could continue to be a resource for the community. As a result, artists and staff have begun to create video art lessons and to reconnect with students and workshop participants. We are working on ways to expand this strategy. We spent a day creating well over 100 art supply packs for families. Parents and children who have come to get them have expressed their gratitude. Our partner schoolteachers are thrilled that we want to finish interrupted programs once classes resume in the fall. We are excited about the program projections we have developed for the 2020-21 school year. Late in March, I “Zoom-met” with a CWRU architecture class whose second project for the semester will be Art House’s campus expansion plans. Recently, Open Doors Academy notified us that they are moving forward and have accepted our proposal for a summer camp. I am in fairly regular contact with our Creative Fusion artists. These are exciting prospects that promise new horizons.
And then, there is the day-to-day. Because Art House has a small staff and many of our programs occur in other locations, it is not so unusual to be holding down the fort solo for a while. Depending on the day and the time, other staff might be off-site, working elsewhere, visiting a school, attending a meeting or seminar. But it is strange, now, to be at Art House alone, working. There is a closed-in feeling, a dampened sense of sound and energy as if the Quonset hut is holding its breath. No creative seeds are blossoming here. No school groups come to Art House. There are no programs happening at any of our partner schools in contiguous neighborhoods. No work with other agencies. No in-progress images are being shared. No getting ready for the next event. The excitement, anticipation, the healthy nervousness of wanting all to go well—these reactions have vanished without a trace. Left is a stash of unfinished artwork; a scattering of chairs; a lovely array of bowls, fresh out of the kiln, now gathering dust; the preparations for the ABC Chili Cook-Off, our main benefit, suspended in a freeze-frame moment. And the precursor steps to prepare for the annual Urban Bright Exhibition? They are dust in the wind.
Instead, like so many other organizations, we have landed in uncharted territory, searching for the path towards survival. Awarded funds, meant for projects that have been postponed, are being deferred. Revenue streams have evaporated. Consequently, soon enough, we will be staring at a budget gap, so we are scrambling for the same government dollars as everyone else. Staff hours have temporarily been reduced. Siloed, working from home, staff is emailing back and forth like never before. Phone conversations and Zoom meetings help. It warms the heart to see and hear each other’s faces and voices. We continue our work on the Now and the Future, but the routes to getting there were whisked away in the COVID-19 storm. The new map is still being formed.
COMMUNITY CULTURE NIGHT WITH MICHELANGELO LOVELACE | 7-8:30PM THURSDAY, JUNE 25
THE ART HUT COOK-OUT | 1-4PM SATURDAY, JULY 25
COMMUNITY CULTURE NIGHT WITH LUIGI BOB DRAKE & CHRISTOPHER AUERBACH-BROWN | 7-8:30PM THURSDAY, AUGUST 20
FAMILY OPEN STUDIO | 1-3PM SATURDAYS, JUNE 20, JULY 18 & AUGUST 15
FAMILY CLAY DAY | 10-12PM SATURDAYS, JUNE 27 & AUGUST 22
ART HOUSE, INC.
3119 Denison Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44109