New talent and encore appearances in Heights Arts exhibitions
Two exhibitions at Heights Arts this spring and summer express the vitality of the region as a training ground for visual artists, with one show (closing June 4) celebrating new talents and the other (opening June 9) bringing back artists who previously exhibited at Heights Arts.
Emergent 2017 features 12 artists recommended by their former art professors as representing some of the best among recent graduates. The year’s version (Heights Arts presented its first Emergent show in 2015 and plans to bring it back approximately every two years) includes works by Meghan Calvert (ceramics), Amber Ford (photography), Jessica Howard (prints, drawings, cut paper), Erin Jesson (sculptural wall pieces), Jacob Koestler (wall installation), Samantha Konet (drawings), Mike Lombardy (drawings/collage), Nathan Prebonick (painting), Rachel Shelton (prints), Maia Stern (glass), Grace Summanen (painting, drawing), and Nikki Woods (painting). The artists are graduates of the Cleveland Institute of Art, Kent State University, the University of Akron, and Baldwin-Wallace University. Emergent 2017 runs through Sunday, June 4.
On the heels of that exhibition—part two of what might be thought of as a before-and-after pairing—is Encore: A Heights Arts Invitational. For this show, the gallery committee went back through the 15-year history of the Heights Arts gallery, including the early years during which William Busta was gallery director, and asked a small selection of artists whose work had made a particular impression at the time to come back and participate in an invitational exhibition featuring current work. Intentionally covering a range of media, this exhibition includes, in alphabetical order, Christi Birchfield (sculptural drawing/printmaking), Grace Chin (jewelry and larger-scale work in metals), Dexter Davis (collage, multi-media—brand-new work created for this exhibition), Yumiko Goto (ceramics, often biomorphic in character), Doug Meyer (metal furniture), Mark Slankard (photography—“Curb Appeal” series), and Douglas Max Utter (landscape and portrait paintings).
If someone unfamiliar with the visual art scene in Northeast Ohio were to ask how one might get a quick idea of the high level of work being done in this region, this exhibition makes it clear. A free community opening reception is scheduled for Friday, June 9, 6–9 p.m. in the main exhibition gallery at 2175 Lee Road.
Greg Donley is chair of the Heights Arts Gallery Committee.