MISSION

SPACES is the resource and public forum for artists who explore and experiment.

WHAT WE DO

SPACES commissions artists from around the world—at all stages of their careers—to make new work that is responsive to timely issues. We use these projects as a jumping off point to create educational initiatives that help develop a more informed citizenry. We also distribute grants to artists outside of our residency and exhibition programs.

Spaces cleveland old documents and storefront


OUR HISTORY

SPACES has been challenging the status quo since its initial gathering of artists on May 25, 1978, by founder James Rosenberger. The typewritten invitation that brought together 35 artists appealed to those “with an interest in creating and presenting new art” and who needed “outlets for their creative energies.” It laid the groundwork for an organization that would support artists with unwavering dedication for the next 45 years.

Early directors Rob Mihaly and Jane Farver codified SPACES’ artist-driven nature by developing an interconnected community through barrier-free access to—and production of—contemporary culture. During Susan Channing’s 21 year-long tenure as Executive Director, SPACES purchased our first building and expanded programming, including the international artist-in-residence program.

From 2008 - 2013, Christopher Lynn carried out a strategic plan, renovated the gallery, redesigned visual identities, and debuted an experimental video art screening program. Christina Vassallo led SPACES from 2014 - 2019, including directing a $3.5M comprehensive capital & endowment campaign, our 2016 relocation to 2900 Detroit Avenue, the addition of a new residency for art writers, and some of our most ambitious exhibitions to date.

In 2019, SPACES expanded artist-driven programming with the Urgent Art Fund and the Satellite Fund, which provided support for new projects beyond the gallery walls. In 2020, this support pivoted to Emergency Relief grants for artists in the region. In August 2020, SPACES announced the appointment of a new Executive Director, Tizziana Baldenebro.   

Baldenebro also served as co-curator of Everlasting Plastics, the exhibition at the United States Pavillion at 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale from May 20 to November 26, 2023, for which SPACES served as Commissioner.  Funded in large part by a $375,000 grant from the United States Department of State, Everlasting Plastics will tour the Midwest following the closing of the Biennale with stops at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh and Wrightwood 659 in Chicago before returning to SPACES for FRONT 2025.

Baldenebro relocated to New York City in August 2023, but is continuing her affiliation with SPACES as a Curator of Special Projects to provide continuity with the Everlasting Plastics tour and with two other exciting projects.  SPACES has recently opened applications for a new Executive Director. See https://www.spacescle.org/about/jobs.  

SPACES currently sits in a historically significant BIPOC LGBTQ+ site. The corner of 29th and Detroit played an important role in the late 90s and early 2000s as a haven for LGBTQ+ people. Relocation and displacement have profoundly transformed this neighborhood in recent years. SPACES is committed to supporting and affirming LGBTQ+ communities and their rights. We further reaffirm our commitment by providing space and opportunities for BIPOC and low-income LGBTQ+ artists, art workers, and audiences.

LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

SPACES recognizes the land upon which our building resides as the ancestral homeland of the Haudenosaunee. We further acknowledge the thousands of Indigenous people who now call this region home as a result of forced migration, dispossession of ancestral homelands and territories, or other reasons. We affirm their right as past, present, and future caretakers of this land. 

We make this statement recognizing that intentionally or not, we have participated in ongoing Settler Colonialism; a term that is generally recognized to mean the removal, erasure, and supplantation of Indigenous peoples. We commit to beginning the process of working to dismantle the ongoing legacies of Settler Colonialism. 

ANNUAL REPORTS 

2022  /  2021  /  2019  /  2018  /  2017  /  2016  /  2015  /  2014

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