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Through Different Lenses: CMA’s Studio Go Uses Art as a Catalyst for Conversation

By Shelli Reeves, Community Engagement Specialist

Left: Image courtesy the Cleveland Museum of Art. Right: Image courtesy Scott Shaw Photography for the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Studio Go, the museum’s mobile art studio, brings hands-on art experiences to summer events and community celebrations across northeast Ohio. Led by Shelli Reeves, community engagement specialist, the Studio Go team creates engaging art projects that inspire exploration of the museum’s permanent collection and exhibitions — an approachable way to reach people who may have never been to the museum and to invite them to learn more. In the essay below, get a sneak peek at Studio Go’s upcoming summer season and the new projects the team is implementing that encourage conversation through art.

Studio Go is making more than art during the upcoming summer 2019 season. As the Cleveland Museum of Art’s mobile art workspace, Studio Go cultivates accessible communal programs for self-discovery and expression. Guided by this defined focus, every Studio Go project uses hands-on art experiences as a catalyst for deeper conversations about society and how art plays a role in our everyday lives.

With a goal to engage first-time visitors as outlined by the CMA’s strategic plan, Making Art Matter, the Studio Go team wanted to explore new ways to reach audiences through programming. Through conversations with community members at past Studio Go events, the team was inspired to emphasize the social impact of art.

Images courtesy Scott Shaw Photography for the Cleveland Museum of Art.

“Often visitors would stop by Studio Go with the expectation that the art activities were for children, even if we were teaching an outdoor drawing class for adults. Once they found out otherwise, people wanted to talk to us. We would talk about societal issues like transportation, violence, and food access. That’s why the Studio Go team worked to create programming to facilitate these larger conversations through art,” says Shelli Reeves, community engagement specialist.

To that end, this summer, the theme for Studio Go is Through Different Lenses. Employing a set of projects designed to explore the subject of perspective, the Studio Go team will instruct participants on various art techniques and will introduce conversations intended to connect the art activity with works from the museum’s permanent collection. The diverse project list includes activities that explore identity and the world around us through art.

Images courtesy Scott Shaw Photography for the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Additionally, the team is thrilled to have the Cleveland Print Room as this summer’s Studio Go artist-in-residence. Joining the Studio Go team at 25 events throughout the summer, photographers from the Cleveland Print Room will lead workshops on various printing processes — cyanotype, wet-plate collodion, and instant photography — and will create portraits that highlight people from across Cleveland.

“We selected the Cleveland Print Room to be our artist-in-residence this year because they are working to update the Cleveland Public Library’s Archive for the library’s 150th anniversary,” Reeves says. “They are traveling to different neighborhood events to capture this current moment in Cleveland history. Since we are also traveling to events, we wanted to work together to teach people about photography and perspective. The theme of our project came from the conversation we had about photography, perspective, and society.”

Images courtesy Scott Shaw Photography for the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Studio Go will also partner with Recess Cleveland to host a summer series, with events held every Friday from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. in June and July on the CMA’s outdoor campus. In addition to art making, there will be giant inflatables, recess games, and ample outdoor activities to keep visitors engaged and excited.

“I hope that people gain a deeper understanding of how our society is connected to the art at the CMA and the art in our neighborhoods. I hope to break down more barriers of entry and to inspire people to visit the museum or to create at home. Most importantly, I want everyone to have fun and walk away with a smile on their face,” Reeves says.

Shelli Reeves, Community Engagement Specialist. Images courtesy the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Check out a listing of planned Studio Go projects below and click here to see where the truck will be next.

Roadside Gambler, 2013. Karsten Creightney (American, b. 1976). Published by Zanetta Edition, printed by Mitchell Marti at Interbang Press. Color linocut; 57.5 x 76.5 cm. Karl B. Goldfield Trust, 2013.95

Linocut: The Potential of Carving The Studio Go team will teach the techniques of printing with linoleum and the history behind this art form. Discussion questions will focus on what we see and do not see when looking at the world around us. This project is inspired by Karsten Creightney’s Roadside Gambler from the CMA’s renowned collection of works on paper.

Harem #14, 2009. Laila Essaydi (Moroccan, b. 1956). Chromogenic print mounted to aluminum; 101.6 x 76.2 cm. The Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund, 2012.14

Framing What’s Important Motivated by the CMA’s Harem #14 by Lalla Essaydi and His Lantern by Afruz Amighi, two striking artworks that experiment with the concepts of foreground and background, this project will utilize a photo backdrop and props to make objects blend in or stand out while demonstrating the importance of compositional framing in photography.

The Adventures of the Modernist Cannibals (Les Aventures des Cannibales Modernistes), 1999. Enrique Chagoya (American, b. 1952). Publisher/printer: Shark’s Ink. Accordion-folded book with eight lithograph and woodcut with chine collé panels; each page: 19 x 29.3 cm. Dudley P. Allen Fund, 2019.17

The Human Figure: Athletes, Cartoons, and Superheroes In this project, participants will learn different forms of drawing that center on the human figure. People will be encouraged to transform themselves or others into drawn figures, with a focus on cartoon characters, superheroes, and athletes. Using both the museum’s contemporary print The Adventures of the Modernist Cannibals (Les Aventures des Cannibales Modernistes) by Enrique Chagoya and the CMA’s upcoming exhibition Michelangelo: Mind of the Master as reference points, the Studio Go team will lead discussions about comic books and traditional forms of drawing, what our own individual powers may be, and the susceptibility of heroes and villains.

1200 Meditation, Things My Mother Gave Me, 2005. Cecil McDonald (American, b. 1965). Inkjet print; 43.5 x 59.9 cm. Gift of Friends of Photography, 2007.178. © Cecil McDonald Jr

Art & Music: Sound, Dance, and Album Art Showcasing the process that artists use to make album covers, the Studio Go staff will offer the chance to participate in a variety of activities — creating different sounds, dancing, designing imaginary album covers — that deal with the connections between visual art and music. This project draws inspiration from the photograph 1200 Meditation, Things My Mother Gave Me by Cecil McDonald and the color screenprint Self-Portrait as Record Collector by Allen Ruppersberg, two notable 21st-century works from the CMA’s permanent collection.

Studio Go is sponsored by PNC Bank.

Left: Image courtesy the Cleveland Museum of Art. Right: Image courtesy Scott Shaw Photography for the Cleveland Museum of Art.

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Art from another angle: Stories from the Cleveland Museum of Art.

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