FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art - Opening

Blog Date
Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

Exclusive Preview of the Inaugural FRONT International Triennial in Cleveland
YouTube Video Published on April 5, 2018

Two years ago, I first learned about the FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art (@FrontTriennial - #FRONTart2018) from Steven Litt's (@Steven_Litt) August 4, 2016, article FRONT, a citywide art exhibit with global reach, will debut in Cleveland in 2018 (photos). I was immediately excited! It is interesting to look back at the article now, and see how the vision from a year ago has evolved into today's spectacular reality.

One year ago, I attended a PechaKucha Night Cleveland (@PKNCLE) event, which featured Fred Bidwell's (@FredBidwell) talk about FRONT International. (A BIG thank you to the PechaKucha Night Cleveland leaders!!) The Friday, August 25, 2017, PechaKucha Night Cleveland Volume 31 (#PKNCLE31) took place at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (@RockHall). (See details in my blog post: PechaKucha Night Cleveland Rocks!! A Night Featuring Creatives at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!) It is interesting to see the photos in my tweets from PechaKucha Night a year ago, and compare them with what was presented at the 2018 opening day press conference.

Between Steven Litt's article and Fred Bidwell's PechaKucha Night talk, I was very ready to attend the FRONT International opening day on Thursday, July 12, 2018.


Before FRONT International Triennial Opening

 Monday, April 30, 2018 - FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art Discussion at MidTown Tech Hive
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Map from  Monday, April 30, 2018 - FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art Discussion at MidTown Tech Hive
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Three months ago, I wrote in my blog post entitled 2) Monday, April 30, 2018 - Front International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art Discussion at MidTown Tech Hive - -

When I first learned about Front International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art (@FrontTriennial - #FRONTart2018 ) in the summer of 2016, I was very excited about this grand art show taking place over many northeast Ohio locations in the summer of 2018. What I did not know was that it was even bigger than just the summer exhibitions. I have already enjoyed attending several Front International artist talks, and look forward to more of these pre-summer events.

I have always planned to write about the summer Front International art installations, but now feel it is also important to feature these discussions that are leading up to the main event. The tweets below do not do full justice to the excitement of what I am learning at these Front International events -- you must attend yourself!

Here are many of my @sos_jr tweets and retweets that I shared before the opening. They give an overview of just some of the many activities that took place before the summer of 2018, and many link to articles with even more information. I had planned to include a section in the blog post about the many articles written leading up to the FRONT International opening, but the list was too long for this post!

Please share any tweets that contain interesting photos or links to informative articles by retweeting them. Note that clicking on Twitter photos will enlarge them!


FRONT International Triennial Opening Day Press Conference

Opening remarks by Fred Bidwell at the FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art Press Conference
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The BIG day is finally here!

Since I had received press accreditation back in January 2018, I received a password for the FRONT VIP Portal, and the following details from the SUTTON (@Sutton) PR firm:

Invitation: FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art Opening Press Conference
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... our opening day press conference on Thursday July 12th, 2018 at 10:30 am. William M. Griswold, Director and President of the Cleveland Museum of Art, will join both Fred Bidwell, Executive Director of FRONT, and Michelle Grabner, Artist Director of the inaugural edition, to provide remarks, alongside the leadership of FRONT’S presenting partners. The event will take place at The Cleveland Museum of Art in the Gartner Auditorium at 1150 East Blvd, Cleveland OH 44106.

While in line getting my VIP access wrist band and a FRONT International bag full of literature about the event, I started a conversation with two women who came to Cleveland all the way from Los Angeles, California. I learned that they were donors to the project, and I enjoyed sharing with them the excitement of the day! We were soon joined by FRONT International founder, Fred Bidwell (@FredBidwell), which gave me the opportunity to congratulate him in person on the excitement generated by FRONT International. After he left to talk to more attendees, we were joined briefly by the Cleveland Museum of Art (@ClevelandArt) director and president, William M. Griswold.

Next, I went to the Museum's private dining room for a pre-press conference reception catered by Provenance (@ProvenanceAtCMA). As I was enjoying my orange juice, I was approached by someone who asked to share my table. I was excited to learn that he was the Akron Art Museum (@AkronArtMuseum) Director and CEO, Mark Masuoka (@MarkMasuoka). He told me how the Akron Art Museum now has Downtown@Dusk outdoor concerts. I let him know that I had written a blog post about the Akron Art Prize 2016, that took place at the Akron Art Museum, and how on vacation I was reminded of the Akron Art Museum's Inside|Out community-activated art project (see my Michigan Journey blog post) supported by the Knight Foundation (@knightfdn).

I enjoyed talking to several people at the reception -- it was great to see so many people here from all over the country. For example, Julie Schenkelberg is an artist from Detroit, Michigan, and gave me her business card. She joined Mark Masuoka and me at our table. As I was preparing this blog post, I saw Artist Talk: Julie Schenkelberg listed as a past event at the Akron Art Museum.

Following the reception, the grand opening started with a welcome by William M. Griswold, followed by opening remarks by Fred Bidwell and FRONT International Artistic Director Michelle Grabner.

Here is a WKYC-TV (@WKYC) video of Fred Bidwell's remarks, followed by Tweets from the opening day press Conference.

Front International Art Announcement
WKYC-TV Published: 11:40 AM EDT July 12, 2018


FRONT International Triennial Venues

On the July 12, 2018, I was able to visit three of the venues about which I am currently writing a separate blog post. I hope to attend many of the other venues, and to share my visits in my @sos_jr tweets and retweets and additional blog posts. Watch for announcements on Twitter and visit to see my journey.

Here is the list of venues with links to more details from the FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art (@FrontTriennial - #FRONTart2018) website. Location maps with more information can be found in the FRONT International Exhibition Guide PDF (download here).

  1. The Arcade
    401 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44114

  2. Akron Art Museum
    1 S High St, Akron, OH 44308

  3. Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College
    87 N Main St, Oberlin, OH 44074

  4. Cleveland Clinic
    9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195

  5. Cleveland Institute of Art
    11610 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106

  6. Cleveland Museum of Art
    11150 East Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44106

  7. Cleveland Public Library
    325 Superior Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114

  8. Dale Goode Sculpture
    1474 East 112th Street, Cleveland, OH 44106

  9. Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
    1455 E 6th St, Cleveland, OH 44114

  10. FRONT Porch, PNC Glenville Arts Campus
    1470 East 105th Street, Cleveland, OH

  11. Julian Stanczak Mural
    1104 Prospect Ave E, Cleveland, OH 44115

  12. Kay Rosen Mural
    750 Prospect Avenue East, Cleveland, OH 44115

  13. Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
    11400 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106

  14. Odili Donald Odita Mural
    1212 Huron Rd E, Cleveland, OH 44115

  15. Playhouse Square, Helen Theater
    1501 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115

  16. Richard D. Baron ‘64 Gallery, Oberlin College
    65 E. College St., Suite 5 Oberlin, OH 44074

  17. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
    1100 E 9th St, Cleveland, OH 44114

  18. SPACES
    2900 Detroit Road, Cleveland, OH 44113

  19. St. John’s Episcopal Church
    2600 Church Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113

  20. St. Mark’s Church
    1319 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106

  21. Steamship William G. Mather, Great Lakes Science Center
    601 Erieside Avenue, Cleveland OH 44114,

  22. Toby’s Plaza, Case Western Reserve University
    Uptown Pedestrian Trwy, Cleveland, OH 44106

  23. Transformer Station
    1460 W 29th St, Cleveland, OH 44113

  24. University Hospitals
    2072 UH Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106

  25. Vista Warehouse A
    2048 Fulton Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113

  26. Vista Warehouse B
    3510 Chatham Avenue Cleveland, OH 44113,

  27. Weltzheimer/Johnson Usonian House, Oberlin College
    534 Morgan St, Oberlin, OH 44074

  28. West Side Market
    1979 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113


Disclosure: I received a VIP pass from FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art to attend their Opening Day Press Conference on July 12, 2018, and the reception at the Cleveland Museum of Art (@ClevelandArt) that preceded it. The VIP pass also allowed me to attend events at other venues during the day, and enjoy the accompanying receptions at no charge. I also received a password for the FRONT VIP Portal, which gives me access to other special invitations and media information. I was given the VIP pass and a press pass to attend because of my support of FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art via my @sos_jr Twitter feed and blog posts. I enjoyed the Opening Day Press Conference and related events that day, and wrote this blog post to share my experience and my opinions.