Artists Archives of the Western Reserve (AAWR) is partnering with the Mansfield Art Center to present City Artists at Work, City Artists at Rest: A Final Retrospective 1997 – 2018. This satellite exhibition will be held at the Mansfield Art Center beginning with an opening reception on Sunday, June 24 from 3 PM to 5 PM.
This exhibition, curated by current AAWR Executive Director, and former City Artists at Work (CAAW) Co-Chair, Mindy Tousley, will be the first in what is hoped will be a continuing partnership between AAWR and Mansfield. It brings together over eighty works, in a variety of mediums, by forty of the artists who were involved in the CAAW group over its twenty-year span. The show will also mark the official disbandment of CAAW.
The story behind CAAW is a familiar one for artists. It concerns forgotten industrial neighborhoods, gentrification, and the political use of artists to boost local economies.
Founded by Archived Artist William Martin Jean, City Artists at Work was a grassroots organization of artists whose primary mission was to educate the public by demystifying art in the intimacy of the artist’s studio. In what would become a signature event, 27 artists from three buildings opened their studios to the public for the first studio tour on October 23, 1998. They attracted 350 guests in a three-day period, a success by any standard.
Over the course of 20 years CAAW would hold 24 open studio tours of 40 – 60 artists in 14 buildings, attracting over 7000 people.
Eleven galleries would come and go, 16 exhibitions were curated for The Plain Dealer headquarters, and countless workshops and demonstrations were held.
With the encroachment of new campus housing, and the recent sale of many of the buildings in the district to real estate developers GBX, the neighborhood continues to change. While other arts organizations like, Zygote Press and Morgen Conservatory, that were attracted to the neighborhood continue to thrive, the fate of the individual artists’ studios are now in limbo.
*“As early residents and developers, we take a little credit for the start of something big….City Artists at Work began with the idea that there is more power as a group of artists than going it alone and we have seen the area flourish and spread out in a way that has absorbed us in the changes that continue to take place. We are forever grateful to the Mansfield Art Center for hosting our last hurrah art exhibition. In many ways this is more than an exhibition, it is the fulfillment of our mission and a salute to those who will continue to take up the banner and lead the district into its next phase.” * WM Jean 2018
The Mansfield Art Center is open to the public Tuesday – Sunday 11 AM to 5 PM.
For a full list of exhibiting artists and more information, visit this location online.