FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art - Ohio City

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Julie Smith
Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art - Ohio City
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When we published our FRONT - Oberlin blog post about our Sunday, August 5, 2018, visit to Oberlin College's Allen Memorial Art Museum (@AllenArtMuseum), we expected to not have time to visit any more FRONT venues. Stuart had planned to be out of town in September 2018, but a change in plans brought him home early.

With a very busy weekend coming up at the end of September 2018, we decided to make time on Wednesday afternoon, September 26, 2018, to visit the Ohio City (@OhioCityTweets) FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art (@FrontTriennial -#FRONTart2018) venues.


Here is a great video about FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art that shows many of the venues.


We had already written ten FRONT International blog posts, and were excited to be able to visit three more FRONT venues.


FRONT International Triennial - Transformer Station

We started our afternoon at Transformer Station (@TransformerStat) -- "A free space for contemporary art in Cleveland" -- which we have visited many times before.

Here is the description of what we saw from the FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art website, followed by our @sos_jr tweets and retweets about our visit to Transformer Station.

A.K. Burns exhibits two sculptures made of crushed and painted chain-link fencing outside the Transformer Station. Set in relief against the shifting fortunes and economies of Hingetown, this work comments on the gentrification in the area.

Conceptual artist Stephen Willats displays a recent work, Human Right, both in the gallery and outside in the neighborhood. This work of text, film, and photography examines the relationship between personal narratives and social conditions in Middlesbrough, England, a mid-sized and post-industrial city.

The FRONT Film Program

FRONT International’s film program, housed in a purpose-built theater inside the Crane Gallery, focuses on cinematic works produced by artists and filmmakers in Ohio and elsewhere. The feature-length films, videos, and film shorts presented there in scheduled screenings amplify the theme of the triennial—An American City—uniting artists and issues across the many venues of FRONT and around the globe.



FRONT International Triennial - SPACES

A short walk from Transformer Station brought us to SPACES (@SpacesGallery) -- " the resource and public forum for artists who explore and experiment" -- at their new location, which opened in 2017. We have been to this location a few times since they opened.

Entering SPACES, we recognized Amanda King's (@Just_AmandaKing) photo and her work. Stuart learned of her Shooting Without Bullets expressive arts program for black and brown youth in 2016 at a Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) (@MOCACleveland) For Freedoms program. In 2017, we both heard her speak at a PechaKucha Night Cleveland (@PKNCLE) event at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (@RockHall). Later that year, we saw her work at Ingenuity Cleveland's (@IngenuityCLE) IngenuityFest (see Twitter photo). Learn more in our blog posts:

It was great to see more of Amanda King's work and to see the A Color Removed exhibition, which had heard about when visiting the FRONT Porch, PNC Glenville Arts Campus.

A Color Removed is a citywide participatory project seeking to remove the color orange from Cleveland to the galleries at SPACES, in response to the shooting of Tamir Rice by Cleveland police. The project has enlisted community members in developing responses to the forces that shape safety in American cities. A Color Removed was conceived by Michael Rakowitz, and is organized by SPACES with community leaders. It is presented with the Rice family.



FRONT International Triennial - St. John’s Episcopal Church

We ended our tour of FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art venues in Ohio City at Cleveland's St. John’s Episcopal Church. (See our Fifth Annual Station Hope blog post about the annual program honoring the church's history with the Underground Railroad.)

St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ohio City has a rich history of involvement in racial and social justice spanning almost two centuries.

The history of St. John’s is deeply rooted in the history of the region and this neighborhood. Designed by famed architect Hezekiah Eldridge, and constructed between 1836 and 1838, the church is an early example of American gothic revival architecture. In the immediate years following the construction of St. John’s, the parish became a center in the fight against slavery, most notably for its role in the Underground Railroad. The bell tower served as a lookout for boats on Lake Erie taking runaway slaves to freedom. This led to St. John’s being known to many as “Station Hope”.

Within this space, Dawoud Bey, Chicago-based photographer, presents a unique installation of commissioned photographs on the idea of the Underground railroad, “which is as much myth as it is reality….. The project is premised on the movements of slaves escaping to freedom, often under cover of darkness. The challenge … with this project is to make this history, which has always been invisible somehow visible, and to visualize that which cannot be confirmed in a way that then resonates in this particular moment.”



Wind & Waves after Art Afternoon

Since Ohio City is so close to Edgewater Park, we decided to end our day with a visit to this great Cleveland Metroparks (@CleveMetroparks) location.


Read More FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art Blog Posts

Since the opening of the FRONT International Triennial on Thursday, July 12, 2018, we have visited over fourteen venues. Please read about the opening day and about all the venues we visited in our FRONT related blog posts by clicking here. Thank you.



We finished writing this blog post after the final weekend of FRONT International Triennial. We want to take this opportunity to thank the organizers of, and the venues that hosted these great FRONT International Triennial exhibitions.

The FRONT International Triennial exhibits included a great variety of contemporary art. We really enjoyed some pieces of artwork, while others were not to our taste, but we appreciated being exposed to all of them. We are looking forward to attending again in 2021!