The Archives: Past, Present and Future

Samuel Butnik, Configuration, Rose 2, 49 X 68 inches, 1972. Collection of AAWR.

Change is difficult. It can also be exciting, invigorating, revealing and necessary. And it’s in the air here in Cleveland, and The Archives—like a lot of arts organizations at this moment in time—is changing.

In 1999, through the generosity of David and Bernice Davis, a building was erected on the David E. Davis Art Foundation (DAF) Campus, which until now had housed both The Sculpture Center and The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve (AAWR). An artist in his own right, Davis founded both of these successful nonprofits to support artists at both the beginning and the end of their careers.

For 24 years, the two organizations shared this building, until The Sculpture Center’s recent move afforded the AAWR the opportunity to become its sole occupant, thereby expanding exhibition and office space. The historic and more visible DAF buildings on Euclid Avenue are the new home of The Sculpture Center.

With the addition of two new exhibition galleries, we are better able to fulfill David Davis’s vision for the archives. Davis was aware of the need for artists to take control of their estates in anticipation of their passing—hence the formation of the AAWR, which fulfills that need and preserves the legacies of our visual artists for the future.

Ruth Bercaw, Surprise, Chip No 4, oil on 3d canvas, 47 X 54 X 4 inches, 2017. Collection of AAWR.

While our original 1100-square-foot gallery made it difficult to mount more than two solo shows of works by our newly-archived artists each year, we can now double or triple that offering, showcasing more work from our collection.

In 2024 we will hold inaugural exhibitions for Archived Artists Arabella Proffer, Jean Kondo Weigl, Baila Litton, Dexter Davis, Jon Barlow Hudson, and George Kocar.

There is still some construction work to be done. We anticipate the completing this work when we close for our winter break at the end of December, and we will reveal the new galleries at a Grand Reopening on Friday, March 1, 2024, as part of the reception for our 2024 Annual Members Exhibition. This show, which has grown exponentially each year, will have room to breathe.

In 2024 we also begin a campaign to address funding the necessary upgrades to our collection storage system. This is a project we have been working on for eight years. When it’s completed, we will have greater efficiency and a more flexible workspace for collections staff, and be better able to care for our collection overall. We greatly appreciate the generosity of the DAF for accommodating our growth, as well as that of The Sculpture Center. We also appreciate the support we have received over the years from The George Gund Foundation, The William Bingham Foundation, the Zufall Health Foundation, and our Archived Artists as well as all our individual donors and members, to clean our data base and re-catalog our entire collection.

Change is good.

1834 East 123rd StreetCleveland, Ohio 44106artistsarchives.org216.721.9020


Honoring the Land: Lawrence Baker, Joseph O’ Sickey & Brinsley Tyrrell, on view through December 4 at Bostwick Design Partnership, 2729 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland

Liquid Stripes in Harmony: Mona Kolesar & William Ward, on view through December 31 at Judson Manor, 1890 East 107th Street, Cleveland

Tangents: Abstract and Geometric Art in Northeast Ohio, through December 16 at the AAWR home gallery

A Hard Line: Geometric Abstraction from the AAWR collection, through December 16 at the AAWR home gallery

Closed for renovations, December 16–March 1, 2024

Grand Reopening! & Annual Members Exhibition 2024, March 1–May 3, 2024. Opening reception 5:30-8pm Friday, March 1. Closing Party & Annual Member Meeting 5-8pm Friday, May 3

Leave a Reply