Celebrating Weird & Wonderful Art: Maelstrom Collaborative Arts' Saturnalia 2024

Celebrating Weird & Wonderful Art: Maelstrom Collaborative Arts' Saturnalia 2024

I decided to write this blog post for two purposes:

Celebrating Weird & Wonderful Art: Maelstrom Collaborative Arts' Saturnalia 2024

I support what Maelstrom Collaborative Arts has created, and I was impressed by the friendliness of everyone at Saturnalia 2024. The format of the evening allowed the performers to become the audience for other performers, and therefore encouraged everyone to socialize.

I hope this blog post encourages you to learn more about Maelstrom Collaborative Arts and to partake in some of their entertainment!

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Norman Rockwell Museum - Amazing Original Art

Touring the Norman Rockwell Museum on Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Now that I have returned from my Appalachian Trail adventure trip, I want to take the time to publish this blog post about my visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum one month ago on Tuesday, September 26, 2023.

Humorous Four Sporting Boys Norman Rockwell prints that my mom framed for my room as a child

I had grown up with some humorous "Four Sporting Boys" Norman Rockwell prints that my mom framed for my room as a child, and which, as an adult, I put in my sons' room. I also was active in Scouting, and thus saw almost all of the Normal Rockwell "Boy Scouts" prints. They were displayed at the church where my troop had its meetings. The first time I visited the Norman Rockwell Museum, I thought I knew Norman Rockwell's artwork, but as I wrote in my thru-hike journal, seeing this original artwork was nothing less than amazing!!

However, I want to be clear that, as I learned on my first visit and confirmed on subsequent vists, while you may feel you know Norman Rockwell's work, it is not the same as seeing the original artwork. Look at the brush strokes -- get close and look at the texture -- take a museum guided tour to learn the story behind what you are seeing. Visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in person!

Every time I have visited the Norman Rockwell Museum, I have learned and seen something new. I hope this blog post encourages you to visit the museum if you are ever in Massachusetts. I look forward to visiting the museum again -- maybe even next year as I hike from Massachusetts into Vermont and beyond, as I continue north on the Appalachian Trail.

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Grateful for IngenuityFest 2023: Biologies & Geologies

The day after attending IngenuityFest 2023: Biologies & Geologies (September 22 & 23, 2023), I left on a trip. Now that I have returned, I want to publicly express here how grateful I am to Ingenuity Cleveland leadership and their community partners for this year's gathering of creative people in Cleveland.

My son, Mike, and I enjoyed exploring the artistically lit caverns of Ingenuity Cleveland's 300,000-square-foot Hamilton Collaborative on the evening of Friday, September 22, 2023. There we found music, art, and much more!!

Then, on Saturday, September 23, 2023, Mike and I returned with our whole family to explore more. In addition to seeing more of the exhibitions I enjoyed Friday night, I spent time talking to people at the community organization booths in the upper part of the building. There is where I learned about the latest new happenings in Cleveland.

Since its founding in 2004, IngenuityFest has featured both technology and art. These are both areas that interest me greatly, so it is no surprise that I have been writing about IngenuityFest from the first year I started writing my blog in 2012.

I have been writing about IngenuityFest since 2012, but I have been taking my family to this great event for even longer. I look forward to attending again next year!

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34th Annual Cleveland Museum of Art Chalk Festival

34th Annual Cleveland Museum of Art Chalk Festival

Starting with the 2012 Cleveland Museum of Art Chalk Festival, I have created a blog post every year to capture some of the incredible chalk art created on the Fine Arts Garden's stone pathways in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art. This includes both 2020, when #CMAChalkFestival was online only -- "Social Distancing Style" -- due to COVID-19, and 2021, when "a spur-of-the-moment trip south to take care of some family business prevented me from attending," but my son, Kevin F. Smith, saved the day by attending and sharing photos on social media.

I enjoyed creating chalk drawings at the event in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, but have not participated as an artist in recent years.

I am so glad I was able to attend the 34th Annual Cleveland Museum of Art Chalk Festival on Sunday, September 17, 2023 -- my 11th year taking photos and videos of the event. I hope you enjoy what I put together to capture the artwork and the atmosphere of the event.

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Back Again - Enjoying Creativity at IngenuityFest 2022

IngenuityFest 2022 - Expo: Ingenuity

I normally spend three full days at the annual IngenuityFest Weekend, but family commitments only allowed me to visit on Saturday, September 24, 2022, for three hours in the evening. I was so impressed with the event, I want to share in this blog post the photos/videos that I and others shared about the weekend. After 2020's IngenuityFest being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and last year being an outdoor event at the Cleveland Metroparks, it was good to be back at a more traditional IngenuityFest Weekend of creativity at the Hamilton Collaborative location.

I also want to mention that one of the highlights, in addition to the incredible displays and performances, was reconnecting with people that I have not seen in person the last few years. It has been a difficult time for many people, and I am grateful to the artists who are IngenuityFest, and the sponsors that support their work.

IngenuityFest 2022 Sponsors

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Glad to be Back in 2022: Cleveland Museum of Art's 33rd Annual Chalk Festival!

Cleveland Museum of Art's 33rd Annual Chalk Festival

Chalk Festival

Saturday and Sunday, September 10 and 11, 12:00–5:00 p.m.
Fine Arts Garden

Children and adults enjoy this annual event where community members join professional artists in using the walkways around the Fine Arts Garden as a colorful canvas. Begun in 1990, our festival is a modern expression of a Renaissance tradition from 16th-century Italy in which beggars copied paintings of the Madonna by Raphael and his contemporaries using chalk on the plazas outside cathedrals. Watching the chalk artists and enjoying the entertainment is free.

I was so glad to be back in person after two years!! In 2020, for the 31st annual Cleveland Museum of Art's Chalk Festival, the event went virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, "I was very disappointed that a spur-of-the-moment trip south to take care of some family business prevented me from attending ... cryingcryingcryingcryingcrying" but "I was rewarded greatly by the Cleveland Twitterverse," who posted their photos online so that I was able to share them in my blog post.

I was so pleased that the 33rd Annual Chalk Festival would take place in the Fine Arts Garden on Saturday/Sunday, September 10 and 11, 2022, rain or shine! These were dates I could attend!!

The following is my eleventh Cleveland Chalk Festival blog post. I really enjoy seeing the creativity each year (which is why I even wrote blog posts for the two years I enjoyed remotely). Please retweet any tweets that have photos of chalk artwork you enjoy to encourage more people to attend and participate in future years!

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FRONT International Days & PechaKucha Night Cleveland - University Circle

FRONT International 2022 - July 16 through October 2

Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows, the second iteration of FRONT International, will run from July 16 through October 2, 2022. Building on the success of the first edition, FRONT 2022 will further the Triennial’s commitment to stimulating new and sustained cultural conversations within the region.

The following blog post is from my tour of FRONT International and CAN Triennial venues in University Circle on several days in July/August 2022, and about the Friday, July 29, 2022, PechaKucha Night Cleveland event. I had planned on publishing this blog post on Friday, August 26, 2022, which is the day I went to the Akron FRONT International venues, but got busy with some family commitments and did not have time to finish writing everything I wanted to add to the blog post.

I have now decided to just publish this blog post "as is" (please read the tweets text to get most of the story) before FRONT International closes on October 2, 2022.

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Press - Preview - Party: 2022 FRONT International

Press - Preview - Party: 2022 FRONT International

Dear Stuart,

I am excited to share with you an update and an invitation to celebrate the opening of the second edition of FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. Prem Krishnamurthy, our FRONT 2022 Artistic Director, has assembled a brilliant exhibition sprawling across 30 venues in Northeast Ohio and featuring a dazzling array of over 100 artists, including art stars like Julie Mehretu, Firelei Baez, Renée Green, Yoshitomo Nara, Jacolby Satterwhite.

Anticipation is high, and the press is calling FRONT one of the must-see art events of the year, along with documenta and the Venice Bienalle.

The title of FRONT 2022, Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows is inspired by a couplet by Langston Hughes, . . .

Our preview days are July 14 and 15, and we would be delighted to have you join artists and art lovers from across the country to share a packed calendar of events and programming. . . .

Laura and I  would be pleased to have you as our guests for an open house brunch at our home from 10:00 to 12:00 on July 15 and 16. . . .

Of course, FRONT runs through October 2, and we would love to see you any time this Summer. I would love to hear your thoughts and impressions.

With warm regards,
Fred Bidwell
Executive Director

I am grateful that Fred Bidwell emailed me an invitation to attend the 2022 FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art preview events. It was great to learn more about, and get an advanced look at some of the venues before “Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows” opened to the public on July 16, 2022. It runs through October 2, 2022.

As background, I put together both "Preview Exhibition" and "Personal Prequel" blog posts, which cover my interests and activities relating to FRONT International between the 2018 events and the start of the 2022.

The scope of this second FRONT International is so large that the preview barely gave a nibble of the full banquet of northeast Ohio art that is now available for exploration. As I prepared this blog post, I learned more and more, but also realized that there still is much more to learn. In 2018, my wife and co-blogger, Julie, enjoyed visiting and blogging about many of the venues we visited, and we look forward to exploring the new art at the 2022 venues.

This blog post includes both the two days of preview events and the kickoff block party, plus additional information:

FRONT International 2022 Preview Days - July 14 & 15

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Personal Prequel: 2022 FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art

Personal Prequel: 2022 FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art

I entitled this blog post starting with the words "Personal Prequel," since it covers my interests and activities relating to FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, between the 2018 events and the start of the 2022 events. It certainly does not include all that has taken place between the years of the first event and the second, but instead is my attempt to capture some of the spirit of FRONT International that I enjoy.

I wanted to make a point to thank Fred and Laura Bidwell for opening their home to announce the plans for the next FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.

I am writing this blog post as we enter the kickoff week of FRONT International. Please watch and share with others the tweets I share as I attend events, and watch for future blog posts. Also, feel free to tag me on Twitter as you explore FRONT International venues and activities, so I can share in your enjoyment, and retweet.

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Returning to Cleveland Museum of Art for "Picturing Motherhood Now"

Returning to Cleveland Museum of Art for "Picturing Motherhood Now"

"... reimagine the possibilities for representing motherhood" - . . . You can't experience the depth of Picturing Motherhood Now by looking at photos on a website. You must see it in person to not only study the artwork closely, but also to read the messages that accompany the artwork. I know that I will need to return again to the museum to see the pieces I missed, and to look again at the artwork I found interesting.

The paragraph above is from the blog post that Stuart wrote after attending the Thursday, October 14, 2021, Picturing Motherhood Now Media & Influencer Event and Members Preview Party, where he knew that he would need to use our Cleveland Museum of Art membership benefit to return to see the exhibition again. This blog post includes our @sos_jr tweets and retweets sharing photos from our visit to Picturing Motherhood Now on Wednesday, January 26, 2022.

Stuart enjoyed his return visit, especially since he was joined by Julie, who brought new insight to this motherhood exhibition.

After our visit to Picturing Motherhood Now, we saw a display about the Cleveland Museum of Art's Motherhood Across Time tour in the area adjacent to the Ames Family Atrium. This tour takes you through the museum's collection to discover other works of art related to motherhood. Download the ArtLens App to learn more about museum tours.

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