Huddled Around our Electronic Hearths, With an Ache to Touch

Michael Loderstedt, Corner Car, color photograph, 2020.

We huddle around our electronic hearths, looking at each other through the flames, with an ache to touch. When we rise, we look around at walls that enclose, finding safety in contemplative ways, uneasily worshipping these melancholy days.

There is an important question that the William Busta Gallery and its projects have asked over and over and over: As artists and curators living in 2020 in the region that many of us call Cleveland, is there some way that we can comment upon the human condition that contributes in any significant way to the conversation of ideas that circles the globe and informs the future of humanity?

Years ago, one of the directors of the Cleveland Museum of Art questioned the importance of the early modernist Cleveland painter and sage, William Sommer—wanting to know, in particular, who he influenced, who were his followers, and what school or movement he founded. At the time, there was not a ready answer, but later scholarship found a flow of color and light that passed through generations, even to Edwin Mieczkowski and Richard Anuskiewicz. Still, the question was solid. A significant measure of the importance of an artist extends beyond and beside any lauds of individual genius—it has to do with how their work changed a community of artists and how that community of artists changed the larger community in which they lived, and how that community had an impact on the world.

Having worked in retrospective for any number of artists, I always want to know which artists, active here, have been an influence; which artists, active here, were their best students and whose work they admire. More often than not, the artists who I talked to had nothing to say.

To whom do our artists listen? To whom do they speak?

My best wish is for our artists to talk to each other, to challenge each other, to be critical of each other, to lift each other, and to embrace each other.

I don’t have a date when William Busta Projects will open in Waterloo. There’s a good chance that it will be when this issue hits the streets. As I write, renovations continue. As I wrote earlier, this will be an office with some space to exhibit art—not a gallery. Hours, during exhibitions, will be Thursday through Saturday, noon to 5:00pm.



15515 Waterloo Road

Cleveland, Ohio 44110