Art + Poetry at the Valley Art Center

Poet Raymond McNiece performs at Heights Arts, and brings the Ekphrastasy program to Valley Art Center during the Juried Art Exhibition, on view through December 14.

Valley Art Center will combine poetry and visual arts for the 51st Annual Juried Art Exhibition, on display through December 14. Artists within a 250-mile radius of Chagrin Falls submitted artwork for consideration to this prestigious annual exhibition, juried this year by Casey Monda of Casey Monda Art Advisory, Arnold Tunstall, director of galleries at The University of Akron, and Mark Yasenchack of Mark Yasenchack Studio.

There is a notable new addition to the over $2,750 in community-sponsored awards. “In honor of our beloved long-time instructor and friend, the Darlene Jackson Watercolor Award of $250 cash will be given annually to a jury-selected painting in the medium of watercolor,” says Executive Director Rebecca (Bec) Gruss. “This award will be given for decades to come as we continue to celebrate and honor Darlene, an incredible artist and teacher.”

In connection with the exhibition, Valley Art Center will host Ekphrastacy – Artists Talk + Poets Respond at 6 pm on Thursday, December 1, in partnership with Heights Arts. The series, modeled after the Greek term ekphrasis, or a poem that is a vivid description of a work of art, is a celebration of both visual and spoken word artistry.

Says Heights Arts Executive Director Rachel Bernstein, “We are excited to once again share this signature program with Valley Art Center. Hearing artists talk about their work and then poets contributing similar or perhaps completely different interpretations, provides all who attend—artists, poets, and audience members alike, a much deeper appreciation of the works themselves, the process of creating them, and their impact on those that view them.”

The program will be led by current Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate, Ray McNiece, along with Cleveland poet Siaara Freeman, and former Cleveland Heights Poets Laureate Christine Howey and Mary Weems. These poets will compose and read poems directly inspired by exhibited artworks. The Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate is conferred by Heights Arts and is the longest-running poet laureate program in the state. In early 2023, the 11th Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate will be chosen for a 2023—2025 term.

Valley Art Center is also thrilled to announce Julie Polsinelli as assistant director and gallery manager. A lifelong creative, Julie is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Myers School of Art. Julie’s passion for art history drives her devotion to advocating for the voices of community artists and connecting them to new audiences.

Valley Art Center Gallery Manager and Assistant Director Jill Polsinelli. Image courtesy of Valley Art Center.

155 Bell StreetChagrin Falls, Ohio 44022valleyartcenter.org440.247.7507


51st Annual Juried Art Exhibition, through Wednesday, December 14

Ekphrastacy – Artists Talk + Poets Respond, 6pm Thursday, December 1

Art by the Falls Call for Artists open until February 15

Annual Student Faculty Show opening reception, 6pm Friday, January 27

Gift Gallery Shop, November 1

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