Cleveland Arts Prize Celebrates Greatness in the Garden

Poppy Inkwell attributed to Clara Wolcott Driscoll, Tiffany Studios. (The Cleveland Museum of Art, Bequest of Charles Maurer 2018.289)

Cleveland Arts Prize celebrated its sixtieth anniversary in 2020 with a new project—Past Masters: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants. On June 24, an outdoor garden party will kick off year-long programming designed to honor sixty legendary, and in some cases under-recognized, Cleveland artists of national and international stature, who made remarkable contributions in their arts disciplines years before CAP was founded (1960).

The Past Masters project was originally conceived over a year ago by Emeritus Trustee and 1986 CAP winner Dennis Dooley, who continues to spearhead the extensive research for each individual and serves as the project’s co-lead along with Dennis Barrie, a member of CAP’s Leadership Council and a 2012 CAP recipient. According to CAP’s interim executive director, Aseelah Shareef, “These Cleveland artists are the giants upon whose shoulders our sixty years of CAP prize winners stand. The Past Masters project allows CAP to deliver meaningful community programming that will educate and inspire our future generations while deepening community connections.”

A few of these native sons and daughters to be celebrated at the party in June are painter Roy Lichtenstein, the seminal genius of pop art; Langston Hughes, an African American poet, novelist, fiction writer and playwright who played an integral role in the Harlem Renaissance; beloved actors Dorothy Dandridge, the first African American film star to be nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award, and Margaret Hamilton, best known for her role as the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz; Oscar-, Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning actor and director Paul Newman; actor and original king of stand-up Bob Hope; Howard Swanson, an African American composer who graduated from Cleveland Institute of Music, best known for his art songs based on the poetry of Langston Hughes; architect Frank Walker, whose majestic architecture includes Hope Memorial Bridge and Stone Guardians of Transportation, Cleveland Public Library, Federal Reserve Bank, Public Auditorium, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Municipal Stadium; Cleveland Institute of Art alumna and designer Clara Wolcott Driscoll, who was head of the Tiffany Studios Women’s Glass Cutting Department and responsible for many of the highly-coveted Tiffany lamp designs, as well as the magnificent stained glass windows in Wade Chapel at Lakeview Cemetery.

The June garden party—also to be streamed in virtual format—will be, in effect, a “sneak preview” of the year-long celebration and will feature several performances honoring these Past Masters. The full list of honorees and their accomplishments is available at, a dedicated website launched on May 1.

Sponsorship and ticket information can be found on our website. CAP plans to continue its Past Masters programming throughout 2022 to coincide with the 225th anniversary celebration of Cleveland’s founding, which is taking place next year due to the pandemic.

“The Cleveland Arts Prize,” according to CAP Board Chair Howard J. Freedman, “has an important role to play going forward in time, building the profile of our community as a preeminent center of arts activity nationally and worldwide. By publicly honoring the artists and arts community leaders of Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Arts Prize will continue to grow awareness of the importance of Cleveland to the Arts and to reward and incentivize activity that makes Cleveland ever more important as an arts capital. The recognition of the city’s—and region’s—glorious past, we believe, will add to that luster, and remind us all of the important contributions of the city’s proud ethnic communities to our rich cultural life and reputation.”

About Cleveland Arts Prize

The Cleveland Arts Prize (CAP), founded by the Women’s City Club of Cleveland in 1960, is the oldest award of its kind in the United States. The Prize is a testament to the standard of excellence and quality of artists in Northeast Ohio. In addition to artists, the Cleveland Arts Prize honors individuals and organizations that have expanded the role of the arts in the community. Since its inception, CAP has honored over 350 artists and arts leaders.

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