May 31, 2022


Four recipients for the Urgent Art Fund Cycle One, administered by SPACES, were selected by a jury of three individuals. The Urgent Art Fund offers project-based support to Cuyahoga County artists, supported by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. This support may go toward production expenses and artist commissions for the creation of “urgent art” that is socially, politically, or culturally responsive. Jurors for 2022 include Jes Allie (Detroit, MI), Letitia Lopez (Cleveland,
OH), and Aaron Williams (UAF ‘21).

Project recipients include practices as diverse as digital storytelling, photography, dance therapy, and other forms of creative urgent art. The Cycle One cohort is composed of: Alice Blumenfeld/ABREPASCO flamenco, The Soleá Project; Jing Lauengco/OTHER BROWN GIRL + Jess Williams, OTHER BROWN GIRL - Digital Storytelling In The New Now; Shari Wilkins + Ruddy Roye, Playing The Devil’s Music; Cassandra Harner, Peek-a-Booth.

Of the awarded projects, Alice Blumenfeld will present The Soleá Project. An on-going project that explores solitude and loneliness through community art workshops. Each session, participants will learn about flamenco's soleá style, learning some of the movements and about the history and lyrics. Participants explore their own experiences of loneliness, solitude, and community building through creative movement activities that are paired with the creation of a quilt block. At the end of the workshop series they create a quilt from the blocks. Leveraging the collective power of creativity + community for all, Jing Laeungco and Jess Williams will present “OTHER BROWN GIRL - Digital Storytelling In The New Now" is an exhibit, lecture series, and brand platform blending online + offline experiences using creative storytelling for positive self-expression + self-empowerment for the next generation of “other brown girls” who need positive role models around emerging self-image + cross-cultural - gender - DEI identity. Shari Wilkins and Ruddy Roye will present Playing The Devil's Music. The project seeks to elevate the often forgotten Cleveland-based Blues artists who helped lay the foundation for rock n’ roll. It will incorporate photography and video, combined with storytelling recorded in audio files, and radio interviews. The musicians will be photographed and interviewed, producing work for exhibitions, radio interviews and a photo book. The Peek-a-Booth, produced by Cassandra Harner, will be an adaptable, mobile vessel with a rotating cast of performers reacting to a vending-machine-style menu of prompts. The viewer is led into the booth by a host ("The Madam") who exchanges USD for Tokens, and guides the viewer alone into an enclosure of curtains. Viewers can choose up to six different menu items to explore this intimate experience, and no two performances are the same. The box will be COVID-safe for both performer and participant also preventing any uninvited proximity during a possibly intimate performance.

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