Meet the Avenue of the Arts Planning Team!

AOA Planning Team 2.JPG

Next Friday, September 13th, is Avenue of the Arts! This is an immersive art experience that takes you on Superior Avenue’s journey from historic garment district to thriving artist district. As an entirely grassroots event, Avenue of the Arts wouldn’t have come together without the dedicated work of the AOA Planning Team. Representing the diverse experiences of the neighborhood, the 11-person planning team designed the event from start to finish. We felt it important to take the time for our e-news readers to meet this talented group of individuals!

John Davis is a full-time artist in the Tower Press Building. He helped curate the Tower Press Artist Group Exhibition in the Wooltex Gallery and will light up the Avenue with paper lanterns on the night of the event! John believes, “Artists give the community its character. We must keep them in the mix of our community to keep it vibrant and full of texture.” John is a part of the fabric of this area and we are excited to showcase this!

Allison Forhan works for GBX Group whose headquarters is in the beautifully renovated former Daffy Dan Building at 21st and Superior. She and Rachael Price are important links between the arts and the business communities in the Superior Arts District. Allison states, “Cleveland is full of artists, but many only showcase their artwork in formal galleries. Avenue of the Arts pulls back the curtain and shows you what’s happening behind the scenes during the creation phase.” With inside looks to artist studios, we could not agree more with Allison!

Harriet Gould is a fixture of the Tower Press Artists Group. She’s a long-time supporter of Cleveland’s arts community and has worked, over the years, to make the City a place where artists can thrive (such as founding ArtSpace Cleveland). She was very involved in logistics planning for the event and contributed to the lovely Avenue of the Arts logo that we are very proud of! She states, “It’s important to maintain the flavor of the area and Avenue of the Arts is a beginning.”

Devin Hinzo works with his music organization, fp Creative, which produces a concert series in the ArtCraft Building at Snap House Studios. With this background, Devin oversaw music curation with Superior Sound Recording Studios and helped plan street activation for the night. He shares, “With Avenue of the Arts, we expose the Greater Cleveland residents to the grassroots arts movement going on in this historic district. If it weren’t for artists, how would revitalization and beautification of our neighborhoods be possible? It’s easy to lose sight of this when art is seen as a commodity and not a necessity.” Devin has united this district in ways that many cannot, and we were thrilled to have him on the planning team!

Wally Kaplan is a visual artist whose studio is in the historic ArtCraft Building. She coordinated the main Art Exhibition in Gallery 403 by coordinating many creatives in the building. Being a cancer survivor, she shares, “I found that for me art does heal, and the art community is generous and welcoming.” Paulette Archer and Rita Schuenemann who share a studio with Wally were also instrumental in coordinating the open studios and gallery exhibition at the ArtCraft.

Amanda LaGuardia is the co-owner of Lake Affect Studios. She has been a part of the neighborhood since 2013 and has truly helped put the Superior Arts District on the map. Supporting local talents, she shares, “To the unfamiliar eye, this District may not look like much. But if you peel back some of the layers, you can find hidden gems and really talented artists and craftsmen here.” Amanda’s appreciation for these artists is clear we cannot wait for you to witness the positive energy at Lake Affect!

Dan Morgan is a photographer in the Tower Press Building. He has helped with overall planning, financial support, and promotion of the event! He highlights, “Our work and living environment, when adorned by fine art, especially local art, calms the people nearby, and allows the owner of the art to express themselves.” Because of these reasons, he worked toward preserving the artists’ voices and opinions throughout planning this event.

Jake Peacock is a resident in the Tower Press Building. He marketed Avenue of the Arts and planned the overall logistics from start to end. He adds, “Avenue of the Arts is offering the most diverse mediums of arts and creativity that I have ever seen in a community arts event.” His reliable presence confirms his love for art, and he shares, “Art is a form of human to human communication that surpasses words and conversation. Throughout history, art prominently defines the values, stories, and histories of its people.”

Chris Stofan has occupied a live/work studio in the Tower Press Building since 2003. Being the artist coordinator at Tower Press, he was a key communicator between the creative minds behind this event. Chris reveals, “Art asks important questions, and shows us different perspectives. It gets us out of our comfort zone and makes us think and feel. Art can save the world, if we let it.” There is something special about witnessing art in person, and we are enthused that Chris is letting the public into his space in Tower Press.