Cleveland Institute of Art continues series with exhibitions, symposium, panel talks on socially engaged art


The conversation continues at Cleveland Institute of Art, where students, faculty and visiting artists from four continents have been exploring what it means for an artist or designer to be socially engaged.


Christi Birchfield

Christi Birchfield

The college is in the midst of a yearlong series titled Community Works: Artist as Social Agent. From Thanksgiving through mid-March the series includes the following opportunities for community members to join this far-reaching conversation.


Fall exhibition, through Dec. 20

Community Works: Artist as Social Agent is the name of CIA’s yearlong series of events, and also the title of its fall 2014 exhibition. The show, which opened in early November, “explores multi-layered narratives of identity, exile, and displacement through works of photography, video, installation, and other media,” according to Bruce Checefsky, director of CIA’s Reinberger Galleries.


Hildur Asgeirsdottir Jonsson

Hildur Asgeirsdottir Jonsson

Community Works presents an international take on socially engaged art with installations by Maj Hasager (Denmark), Dor Guez (Israel), José Carlos Teixeira (Portugal), Chi-Yu Liao (Taiwan), Caroline Woolard and Susan Jahoda (USA).


Liao will be an artist in residence at CIA through Nov. 30, thanks to a Creative Fusion grant from the Cleveland Foundation. Administered by CIA alumna Kathleen Cerveny ’69, the foundation’s Creative Fusion artist residency program partners international artists with local arts organizations with a goal of maximizing the cultural exchange between the artists and the community.


Most of the work is on view in the Reinberger Galleries of CIA’s Gund Building, 11141 East Boulevard. Liao’s installations are on view in CIA’s Joseph McCullough Center for the Visual Arts, 11610 Euclid Avenue.


Lauren Yeager

Lauren Yeager

Teens + college students

Community Works yields CIA’s Reinberger Galleries in January and February to young artists. Cuyahoga County teens who win awards in the annual Scholastic competition at CIA will fill the gallery with their artwork (and hope for the future) from Jan. 20-30, 2015.


SIE, the college’s annual Student Independent Exhibition, will be on view from Feb. 13 through March 14. Now in its 69th year, SIE is an honored tradition that’s never conventional. Organized entirely by students, who choose the jurors and mount the exhibition, SIE offers fresh, sometimes surprising approaches to contemporary art.


Spring exhibitions March 31-May 2

Returning to the themes of Community Works, CIA’s spring exhibitions will include an exhibition titled Women to Watch – Ohio, and an opportunity to see socially engaged art created by CIA students over the course of the year. Also planned is First, a regional symposium for art educators.


Women to Watch – Ohio, on view March 31-May 2, will be one of the final shows in the Reinberger Galleries before CIA vacates its Gund Building on East Boulevard. Two Cleveland curators – Reto Thüring of the Cleveland Museum of Art and Rose Bouthillier of MOCA Cleveland – chose the following artists to participate: CIA graduates Christi Birchfield (Class of 2006) and Lauren Yeager (Class of 2009), and Hildur Jonsson, Mimi Kato, and Eva Kwong. Checefsky selected the work to be shown. The theme is women’s relationships with nature and art.


We’re organizing this exhibition because women have been under recognized in exhibitions in this region and nationally, and this is an attempt to show the significance of their contributions,” Checefsky said. “These particular women artists represent the very best and the finest craftsmen and artists in the region and have reputations that extend nationally and globally.”


Women to Watch – Ohio opens to the public with a reception in Reinberger Galleries on Thursday, April 2, from 6-8 pm. The featured artists will participate in a public panel discussion on women in the arts on Friday, April 10, 2015, at 12:15 pm in Aitken Auditorium in the Gund Building.


All of the women artists included in Women to Watch – Ohio are under consideration for inclusion in the international Women to Watch 2015 exhibition that will be on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. from June 5 through Sept. 15, 2015.


Art and research findings by CIA students enrolled in the three new, field-based courses associated with Community Works will be on display in the McCullough building in the spring. The three new courses are:


Socially Engaged Art for Change I: Drawn to Care = Portraiture + Medicine, in which students have been drawing and painting portraits of patients and their caregivers;

 Socially Engaged Art for Change I: projectFIND = People + Shelter + Food + Mapping, in which students have been working with 17 organizations that assist Cleveland’s homeless by creating a guide that maps resources available to them;

 Environment, Art and Engaged Practice, in which students have been in the Cleveland Metroparks exploring natural systems, learning about environmental issues, and making art using natural materials.


CIA’s daylong FIRST symposium, set for March 28, will provide art teachers and others who work with children and teens with opportunities to learn about art and design careers, develop new content for their classes, and network with arts organizations and one another. Breakout sessions are titled Art in the Field: Nature and Science Centers; History Museums; Art in the Gallery; Designers Designing; Contemporary Craft; and Cleveland’s Art History. Learn more at


Supporting the mission

Community Works is made possible by support from The George Gund Foundation, Cleveland Foundation through its Creative Fusion program, The Murphy Family Foundation, and The Danish Arts Council. Teixeira is currently the Champney Family Visiting Professor at CIA and the CWRU Art History Department. Other visiting artists are funded by CIA’s George P. Bickford Visiting Artist Fund and its Louis D. Kacalieff Visiting Artists + Scholars Endowment. CIA is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.


For details, go to




Cleveland Institute of Art

Gund Building

(home of Reinberger Galleries, Aitken Auditorium)

11141 East Boulevard


McCullough Building

11610 Euclid Avenue




Fall exhibition: Community Works: Artist as Social Agent, through Dec. 20, Gund Building

FIRST symposium, March 28, 2015.

Women to Watch – Ohio public opening reception, April 2, 6-8pm; panel discussion, April 10, 12:15; exhibition March 31-May 2, all in the Gund Building