Artist workspaces are coming soon to Coventry Village
Less then two years ago, Artful was just an idea in the minds of Shannon Morris and Brady Dindia, longtime Heights residents. Their passion to provide affordable workspaces for artists on Cleveland’s East Side soon attracted other artists, educators, professionals and local business owners.
The two women formed a board of directors, with Morris as executive director and Dindia as board president. Rachel Williams is board secretary, Kevin Khayat is treasurer, and Sarah Curry, David King, Eric Mundson and Hillary Lyon are among the remaining founding members.
After a thorough search, the board is excited to announce that Artful has leased approximately 5,300 sq. feet of space in Coventry School building, located at 2843 Washington Blvd. in Cleveland Heights.
“We’ve been inspired by the talented residents who have volunteered their time and expertise to our project. With their help we have created some wonderful content to shed light on the talent our city has to offer, like our “ARTworks” stories that are vignettes of artists in their workspaces, photographed by Stephen Cutri," said Morris.
Local sculptor Steve Manka is creating a piece that will become a permanent installation in the community. The board has already received requests for space, and John Williams of Creative Process Studio is providing initial designs for about 15 artist studios of various sizes.
“I always thought there were other artists in the area like myself who desired an affordable workspace within their own community, where they could maximize their time and be surrounded by other creative minds. When we reached out to the community, it was encouraging to learn that Cleveland Heights is home to more artists than any other suburb in Cleveland, but it didn’t surprise me,” said Morris.
Having established 501(c)3 nonprofit status and secured a space that it can rent for below-market prices, Artful is beginning its fundraising drive. “It’s amazing to think that in just 18 months we have come so far. We know that a space like this will have a lasting effect on our community, and that drives us," said Dindia. The board has set a goal of $50,000, which will enable Artful to receive a matching grant of $25,000. The board expects this to cover the cost of renovations, as well as the lease for the first year enabling the group to develop programming and classes to benefit the artists and community members.
Artful has also planned events to engage the community and help increase revenue. Upcoming events include a second-annual PlayFUL Kickball Tournament on Sept. 18, The Cleveland Flea Do-Gooder of the Month on Oct. 8, and a second-annual Gods and Monsters Halloween costume party on Oct. 29.
For more information, or to make a donation, go to www.artfulcleveland.org.
Lois Jeavons is a novelist and political blogger. She lives with her grandchildren (Brady Dindia is her granddaughter) in University Heights during the summer.