2018 4Q People’s Choice Artist Showdown at Gallery+

Jo Ann Rencz, Stone of Help, Purple Expression

To me, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s statement “for the benefit of all the people forever” goes beyond meaning art should be accessible to everyone. I believe it speaks to the nature of art itself. The operative word is “benefit.” One of art’s most important purposes is to help the viewer make sense of or deal with situations in a world that can be very difficult and cruel. It can make you see things in a new light, see the beauty around you, or simply make you feel like you’re not alone. It can make you smile or cry or think or simply take your mind off of things. But there’s always a benefit.

Therefore, art appreciation is a very personal experience. Individuals don’t need to be told which benefit is best or which art they should like. It’s OK to admit you like something simply because you like it. You don’t need to be told by an expert or anyone else what is good or worth your time to experience. You can make that decision for yourself. If you like a piece of art, it benefits you, and that’s all you need.

But, the general public has very little influence in what art they see. That decision is determined by a select few. Consequently, we only get to see the work of a small number of our area’s talented artists. We should have a voice in seeing the work that resonates with us, especially with today’s technological sophistication. That’s the idea behind the “People’s Choice Artist Showdown.”

Every three months, Gallery+ will put out a general call for art. Submission is free. I will select ten Cleveland-area artists who each will have one work open to public voting. The winner of the popular vote will win a three-month guest artist show at Gallery+. Each quarterly call for art will have a theme. (The theme for October is “Serenity.”) All entries will be evaluated based equally on three criteria: mastery of the artist’s medium, overall creativity, and adherence to the theme. Once the finalists have been determined, the showdown is on. Showdowns will take place during the first month of each quarter (January, April, July and October). Online voting via Facebook will take place for one week prior to the third Friday of that month. Each Facebook like will count as one point. During the showdown month’s Third Friday at West 78th Street Studios, in-person voting will also take place. In-person votes will count as ten points. If an artwork sells, that artist will receive 100 bonus points. All voting will stop at 9:00pm on that particular Third Friday. The artist with the most points will win a personal show at Gallery+ for the next three Third Fridays.

This is your opportunity to have a voice in what artwork gets shown at Gallery+. Let the democratization of art in Northeast Ohio begin!


Entries due: October 5
Online voting begins: October 12
In-person voting: October 19
Voting ends 9:00pm October 19


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Cleveland, Ohio 44102