Artwork 'discovered' at UH branch in donated book

Jerry's Map now hangs above the fireplace at the Heights Libraries University Heights branch.

In April, Heights Libraries’ University Heights branch received a piece of art that serves as the final flourish in its extensive renovation: Jerry’s Map, by artist Jerry Gretzinger.

When it reopened in November 2017, the building had a large blank wall over the fireplace mantle in the lobby. Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin knew the spot needed something special. “We were looking for art that would complement the geography theme of the building,” she said. “I didn’t want to simply cover the walls.”

Enter John Jarvey, a member of the FRIENDS of the Heights Libraries who oversees the sorting room at the Lee Road branch, where volunteers sort donated books and get them ready for FRIENDS book sales. Jarvey found a book—The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography, by Katherine Harmon. Knowing Levin was trying to find geography-related art for the University Heights library, he gave it to her.

One of the artists featured in the book was Gretzinger, whose sole work, Jerry’s Map, is a 1,500-square-foot map of an imaginary city, composed of more than 3,200 individual 8” x 10” panels created over decades, beginning in 1963. 

“I was thrilled at the effort and thoughtfulness of his work as well as the aesthetic,” said Levin. “I decided it was a perfect fit for our new building, so I did what librarians do, and did some research until I found him!”

Levin worked with the artist to purchase a few reproductions of the original. The $400 cost was covered by the Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries, the library’s foundation, as a long-lasting contribution to the new building. 

More information about Gretzinger and Jerry’s Map can be found at www.jerrysmap.com. Anyone wishing to see the reproduction at the University Heights branch can do so during regular library hours: Sunday, 1–5 p.m.; Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 1–9 p.m.; and Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Sheryl Banks

Sheryl Banks is the communications manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.

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Volume 11, Issue 8, Posted 11:51 AM, 07.24.2018