This March, Yelp Elites were treated to a private tour of the new SPACES art gallery in Hingetown, a presenting contemporary art venue dedicated to artists who explore and experiment. As one of the oldest art galleries in Cleveland, SPACES continues to reinvent itself to house avant-garde creations in Cleveland. In 2017, SPACES moved into its new home in the former Van Rooey Coffee building.The evening began as Yelp Elites were greeted with artisanal treats from Chef Brian Doyle of Café Avalaun and Michele Kilroy of Rising Star Coffee Roasters. Yelp Elites nibbled on cookies, Clevelander pierogi crepes and lemon blueberry crepes, and kale salad while mingling in the lobby. Chef Brian explained the history behind Café Avalaun’s gluten-free menu while Michele highlighted the sustainability of Rising Star Coffee Roasters and their exciting new location in the Flats. As Yelp Elite Ashley B. wrote, “The amazing light bites were delicious. The crepes with the lemon curd and blueberries were a bit sinful. Then of course you can never go wrong with Rising Star coffee.”
The evening continued with a tour from SPACES Community Engagement Manager Michelle Epps. The current feature exhibition, “Except As a Punishment for Crime,” is a creation by Cleveland artist Anthony Warnick. The project examines the interrogation of the prison industrial system and the history, profits and labor efforts of prisoners. Michelle explained the different political pieces of art throughout the room, highlighting the thought provoking complexities of the artists full immersion into the experience.The second exhibit, “Havens” by Imani Roach, showcased drawings and installations based on Cleveland locations listed in the Jim Crow-era travel guides known as the “Green Book.” In the final portion of the tour, Elites viewed the short film “Astro Black” by Soda_Jerk, an ongoing video series combining science fiction and social political clips in Black Atlantic sonic culture. As Yelp Elite Brady B. reviewed, “[The three exhibits were] really interesting and creative artistic expressions, and thanks to a solid narration each piece was a conversation starter.”
After viewing the work of these artists, Carly from Art Therapy Studio led the group to make beautiful and bright crochet mandalas through a beginner art therapy activity. As one of the oldest studios in the country, the mission of Art Therapy Studio is to improve and enhance the quality of life for all.