FRONT Art Futures Forum

September 16, 2022 – September 17, 2022

FRONT Art Futures Forum

In Partnership with Case Western Reserve University and Assembly for the Arts

FREE and Open to All!

The Art Futures Forum will be an exciting two-day discussion of how museums and other arts institutions can better reflect and serve the needs of their communities. Organized as a two-day event, the forum will consider the scholarly work of art historians and the exhibition and programming work of institutions that bring those stories to life for the public.

Day One:

The Cleveland Symposium will be led by the graduate students of the Department of Art History and Art of Case Western Reserve University Joint Program with the Cleveland Museum of Art. Reflecting the themes and ideas of FRONT, the first day serves as the 48th edition of The Cleveland Symposium, entitled Recentering the Periphery: An Inclusive Future of Art History. CWRU has invited graduate students from universities across the country to submit papers on reevaluating and redefining the scope of art history, incorporating lost or previously silenced narratives and voices to build a more equitable future for the discipline. The day will feature fascinating presentations that point to new paths for scholarly research and new stories to share about artistic expression through time. Presented by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Musuem of Art with support from the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, Nancy and Joseph Keithley, and Friends of Art.

Day Two:

The Art Futures Forum will focus on how museum institutions can better share stories of creative expression and consider new models to serve and empower the community. The day will start with a panel discussion with the leaders of major arts institutions in Northeast Ohio moderated by Jennifer Coleman, Program Director, Creative Culture and Art for the George Gund Foundation. After several years of turbulence and reflection in the museum community, this will be an opportunity for leaders to speak about positive changes in the museum world and what lies ahead. Following a networking lunch, participants will engage in conversations with leaders of some of Cleveland’s most successful and emerging community-based arts organizations on a variety of topics that relate to their missions to increase equity and representation in our arts ecosystem.

Here is a schedule for the two-day event, which is generously supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art and The George Gund Foundation:

Friday, Sept 16: Gartner Auditorium, Cleveland Museum of Art:

  • 10:30am Opening Remarks
  • 10:45am Session I: Graduate Student Presentations
  • 12:00pm Lunch Break
  • 1:00–2:00pm Maria Hassabi Performance “CANCELLED” I Gallery Talks and Workshops
  • 2:00pm Session II: Graduate Student Presentations
  • 3:15pm Session III: Graduate Student Presentations
  • 4:30pm Closing Remarks
  • 4:45pm Awards Ceremony
  • 5:00pm Keynote Address
  • 6:00–7:00pm Maria Hassabi Performance “CANCELLED”

Saturday, Sept. 17: Samson Pavilion, Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic:

  • 9:30am Coffee & Networking

  • 10:00am Welcome & Acknowledgement of Funders, Board Members, Public Officials. Jeremy Johnson, President and CEO, Assembly for the Arts

  • 10:30am–12:00pm Panel Discussion - Featuring Fred Bidwell, Executive Director of FRONT International, Jon Fiume, Executive Director, The Akron Art Museum, William Griswold, Executive Director, Cleveland Museum of Art, Kathryn Heidemann, President and CEO, Cleveland Institute of Art, Megan Lykins Reich, Executive Director, moCa Cleveland. Moderated by Jennifer Coleman, Program Director for Creative Culture and Arts, The George Gund Foundation.

  • 12:00–12:45pm Lunch in Courtyard

  • 12:45–2:15pm Community Conversations - FRONT’s exhibition theme relates to exploring art’s role as an agent of transformation, a mode of healing, and a therapeutic process. Given the time of reckoning our country, our city, and our museums are having around white supremacy and race, how can we heal from the past by reimagining our future? Community Conversations aim to create space for neighborhood-focused community leaders in the arts to introduce their initiatives and discuss how institutions and individuals with access can leverage their power in support of programs in underserved communities as part of their equity efforts.

    • 2:15–3:00pm Wrap-Up

    Choose from one of the following conversations to participate in:

    Curating the Culture: Black Art When Empowered:

    David Ramsey, founder and lead curator of Deep Roots Experience, a full time art gallery working exclusively with Black, Latin X, and Indigenous creatives. David will discuss the mission of Deep Roots to “Curating the Culture” in Cleveland’s historic Fairfax neighborhood. David will discuss upcoming exhibition Dopeboy Chic, the Inspire Your City campaign, and art project management experience as examples of self empowerment for the creative, generating new paths of institutional support and confidence in the creative.

    How might art help overcome trauma?

    Community organizer Walter Patton, uses film, music, art, and poetry to help youth overcome trauma in Cleveland's Central neighborhood. Walter will talk about the history of this high poverty community, its connections to Langston Hughes, and how his programs, Create Art Not Violence and Ghetto Therapy create spaces of joy, healing and expression.

    How might we reimagine what a community museum looks like?

    Artist Antwoine Washington shares insights on how curating exhibitions feeds into his activism and artistic practice. Following his experience curating a series of art exhibitions focused on Black, Cleveland-based artists at moCa Cleveland, artist Antwoine Washington has been interested in exploring the subject of racial segregation, activating diverse neighborhoods with a pop-up museum that brings art and eduation to residents in nontraditional ways. How might art and education have a positive impact on communities?

    Ismail Samad co-founded LOITER East Cleveland as a strategic effort to build a future for East Clevelanders. It is weaving a tight community network centered on people's voices and experiences. By supporting East Cleveland entrepreneurs, residents, and change-makers with wraparound business development to the habitually excluded, it will ignite industry in culture, recreation, agritourism, and business incubation. Join Loiter co-founder Ismail Samad for a conversation on empowering local residents, attracting investors from outside the community and rebuilding local morale and expectations in the wake of exclusionary economic practices and harsh negative narratives that plague the City of East Cleveland.


Panelist Bios:

Jeremy Johnson

Instagram: @clevelandfellow, @assemblycle

Jeremy Johnson, a native Clevelander, returned to Ohio in 2021 to serve as President and CEO of the new organization Assembly for the Arts. Assembly serves as the unifying voice for greater Cleveland’s $9.1B arts and culture industry, securing more resources and increasing equity within the creative sector. Jeremy was a nonprofit and arts champion in New Jersey for more than two decades. He served as philanthropic liaison in Newark for Mayor Ras Baraka and Mayor Cory Booker. He was Executive Director of Newark Arts, which elevated the city to the top ten of the nation’s most arts-vibrant cities. He also worked on the fundraising team that helped build the 11-acre, $189M New Jersey Performing Arts Center. He received his BA from Kenyon College, MFA from the University of Iowa, and Certificate in Ethical Leadership from Rutgers Business School. He interned at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. He enjoys classical and gospel music, art galleries, and American Sign Language.

Jennifer Coleman

Instagram: @georgegundfoundation, @cityprowl_jen

Jennifer Coleman is the Foundation’s program director for Creative Culture and Arts. Prior to joining the Foundation, Coleman, an architect, was president of her own design firm, Jennifer Coleman Creative. Earlier in her career, she practiced architecture at several local architecture firms. She also founded, a company that produced audio walking tours of Cleveland that highlight the distinctive history and architecture of Cleveland.

Among her many civic endeavors, Jennifer has served as chair of the Cleveland Landmarks Commission, the Downtown/Flats Design Review Committee and the Group Plan Commission. She also has been a member of the board of trustees of many local arts and cultural organizations. Coleman received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University.

Bill Griswold

Instagram: @clevelandmuseumofart

William M. Griswold was appointed director of the Cleveland Museum of Art in May 2014. The institution’s ninth director, he leads the 450-member team responsible for building, preserving, displaying, and interpreting the museum’s renowned collection of some 60,000 works of art; for deepening its long-standing engagement with the local community; and for elevating its profile and reputation both nationally and internationally.

Shortly after his arrival in Cleveland, Griswold led the museum’s preparations for the celebration of its centennial in 2016 and oversaw the conclusion of the $320-million campaign that made possible its recently completed renovation and expansion designed by Rafael Viñoly. In 2016 he undertook the development of a comprehensive new strategic plan designed to amplify the impact of the museum’s permanent collection, leverage its extended campus, and grow and diversify its audience locally, regionally, and globally. The museum’s board of trustees unanimously approved the plan, titled Making Art Matter: A Strategic Framework for Our Second Century, in September 2017, and under Griswold’s guidance the staff immediately began its implementation. In addition, Griswold led an effort to create the museum’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan, outlining a series of initiatives that will simultaneously advance the objectives articulated in Making Art Matter and help to realize the museum’s commitment to diversify its staff and audiences. It was approved by the board in 2018.

Griswold’s tenure has seen the acquisition of numerous important works of art by gift as well as purchase, and he has overseen a program of ambitious exhibitions ranging from Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse to The Ecstasy of Saint Kara (on recent work by Kara Walker) and Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors. In January 2019 the museum announced that, during the preceding year, it had achieved both record attendance and record membership; a week later, the museum made comprehensive information and images of works of art in its collection universally available, free of charge, by means of open access—firmly bringing its historic mission to “create transformative experiences through art for the benefit of all the people forever” into the digital age.

From 2007 to 2014, Griswold was director of the Morgan Library & Museum, in New York. He was previously director and president of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (2005–2007), acting director and chief curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum (2004–2005), and associate director of collections at the Getty (2001–2004). Prior to joining the Getty, Griswold was Charles W. Engelhard Curator and Head of the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Morgan Library (1995–2001), and he served as assistant and later associate curator in the department of drawings and prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (from 1988 until 1995).

Griswold is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors and is chair of its task force on archaeological material and ancient art. He serves on the board of the American Friends of the Shanghai Museum and is a former president of the Master Drawings Association and a former member of the boards of the Courtauld Institute of Art and the American Trust for the British Library. In 2008 he received France’s insignia of Chevalier of the French Order of Arts and Letters, and in 2015 he was awarded the medal of Cambodia’s Royal Order of Sahametrei. In 2018 Griswold was honored as the first recipient of the new Barbara Robinson Prize for arts advocacy by the Cleveland Arts Prize. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Trinity College, in Hartford (CT), and his PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art, in London.

Megan Lykins Reich

Instagram: @mocacleveland

In January of 2022, following a national search, the Board of Directors for the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa) named Megan Lykins Reich its new executive director. Reich joined moCa in 2004 and has served as moCa’s interim executive director since June 2020.

During her moCa tenure, Reich has organized or coordinated 34 exhibitions with more than 200 artists, written/edited 13 catalogues and books, produced hundreds of public programs, connected moCa to thousands of audience members, managed expenses at or under goal, supervised innumerable cross-departmental and interorganizational initiatives, and helped raise millions of dollars for the organization. She was a key senior supervisor for moCa’s new building project, has been responsible for collaborative programming with many of Cleveland’s leading institutions, served as a co-author of moCa’s most recent strategic plan, and led numerous initiatives to elevate engagement and inclusion across the museum’s programming and physical environment.

Launching her museum career as a fellow in the contemporary art department at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Reich joined moCa’s team in 2004 and has served as curatorial intern, curatorial fellow, assistant curator, director of education, associate curator, and deputy director. For the past year and a half, she has led moCa as interim executive director, succeeding Jill Snyder, who left the museum in June 2020. During her time as interim executive director, among other noteworthy achievements, Reich succeeded at eliminating a projected budget deficit by leveraging special opportunities and stewarding donors. She continues to serve on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee, working with staff and board to become a more equity-centered organization through work such as updating recruitment practices and governance policies.

Reich graduated as class valedictorian from The Pennsylvania State University’s School of Visual Arts, where she earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees in art history and studio art. She holds a Master of Arts degree in art history & museum studies from Case Western Reserve University, where she also conducted doctoral research. Identified as a “Non-Profit Leader to Watch” by Crain’s Cleveland Business in 2015, and a member of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2020, Reich has presented at many conferences, juried art programs and competitions, and has served on boards, steering and planning committees for numerous arts, education, and cultural organizations.

Jon Fiume

Instagram: @akronartmuseum

The Board of Directors at the Akron Art Museum appointed Jon Fiume as its new John S. Knight Director and CEO, Akron Art Museum in February of 2022. Fiume (he/him/his) is a former Board Trustee and has served as the Interim Executive Director since May 2020.

Fiume is an active member of Akron’s civic and arts community. He brings over 25 years of leadership and support in the arts and culture sector including ten years of service as a trustee on the Akron Art Museum Board of Directors as well as a founding board member and former Vice President and Board Trustee of ArtsNow. He also serves as a Public Arts Commissioner for the City of Akron Public Art Program, Board Director Leadership Akron, and was newly appointed as an ex officio member to the Arts Advancement Council of the University of Akron.

His former roles include Board Director and Vice Chairman, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens; Reviewer of the Knight Foundation’s Arts Challenge Akron; Board of Directors Member, Weathervane Playhouse; and Leadership Akron, class of 2006.

Before joining the Museum as the Interim Executive Director, Fiume served as the Chief Operating Officer of Mustard Seed Market & Café for six years where he oversaw all operations, as well as the development of the Highland Square location. Prior to COO of Mustard Seed Market & Café, Fiume spent fourteen years as Vice President, Retail operations of Ritzman Pharmacies Inc. where he oversaw 24 retail pharmacy locations, their growth plans and operations.

Kathryn Heidemann

Instagram: @cleinstituteart

Kathryn Heidemann became the Cleveland Institute of Art's 11th president on July 1, 2022. A senior arts management and higher education leader, educator and artist, she first joined CIA in 2019 as Vice President of Academic Affairs + Dean of Faculty. In her role as the College’s chief academic officer, she was responsible for program and curricular development and delivery, academic operations and strategy, student affairs, and accreditation and assessment.

Heidemann played a key role in the development of CIA’s most recent strategic plan, led the college’s successful reaccreditation process and led its COVID-19 academic planning, which resulted in the school safely offering in-person instruction. She also was instrumental in founding the Jane B. Nord Center for Teaching + Learning.

Prior to coming to CIA, Heidemann worked at Carnegie Mellon University, where she served as Assistant Dean at the College of Fine Arts and Heinz College of Public Policy & Information Systems Management. As part of her role, she also spearheaded the arts and entertainment management graduate programs in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, creating data- and tech-informed leaders in the visual arts, performing arts, and interactive and entertainment media.

Heidemann brought two decades of arts industry experience to her work at CIA, having worked in artistic programming, operations, external relations, and education and community engagement for a variety of cultural institutions, including The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Chicago Academy for the Arts and Edinburgh Festival Fringe, to name a few.

Heidemann holds a Master of Arts Management (MAM) degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia College Chicago.

Fred Bidwell

Instagram: @fronttriennial, @frontmanfred

Fred Bidwell is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and collector. After graduating from Oberlin College with an art history major, Fred Bidwell worked as a commercial and fine arts photographer before changing his career to advertising. He joined Malone Advertising, Inc. in Akron, OH in 1982 and became President and CEO in 1996. In 2005, Bidwell sold the agency to J. Walter Thompson (part of WPP Group, Dublin) and remained with the company as Chief Executive Officer. In 2010 he combined Malone Advertising with Ogilvy Action to lead a joint venture between Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson. In May of 2012, Fred retired as Executive Chairman of JWT/OgilvyAction to devote his time entirely to his interests in the arts.

In 2011, Fred and his wife Laura established the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell

Foundation to share their collection of contemporary photo-based art and foster creativity and innovation through the arts. The Bidwell Foundation’s major project is Transformer Station, an arts and exhibition space in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland which opened in early 2013. The Bidwell Foundation operates the facility and presents exhibitions based on their collection and commissions new work. In a unique public/private partnership the Bidwell Foundation lends use of the Transformer Station space to the Cleveland Museum of Art for six months a year.

In addition to serving as a trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Fred Bidwell was Interim Director and CEO of the museum in 2014. Bidwell also serves on the boards of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and The Cleveland Foundation and is Board Chair of The Assembly for the Arts.

In August of 2016, Bidwell announced the launch of FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, a region-wide contemporary art exhibition which opened its inaugural edition in July of 2018. Bidwell is Executive Director of FRONT Exhibition Company, the non-profit corporation he formed to organize the triennial exhibition.

Community Conversation Speakers:

Antwoine Washington


Antwoine Washington received his BA in Studio Art from Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA. As a kid he fell in love with drawing Saturday morning cartoons like Tiny Toons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Animaniacs, to name a few. While at Southern, Washington learned more about black history and art in America, further inspiring him to continue the legacy of Harlem Renaissance artists like Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, and Jacob Lawrence. Washington decided to continue to tell stories of the black experience in America through his art. After college he moved to Cleveland, OH with his wife, and began working for the U.S. Postal Service as a mail carrier. While working as a mail carrier he began to get the burning desire to make art again, realizing his dream was to create art full-time. He eventually quit this job and began his journey pursuing a career in art. While taking this leap of faith to follow his dreams, Washington suffered a stroke in November of 2018. During his recovery, he used his art to help get through panic attacks and the numbness that he was experiencing on the right side of his body. Since surviving the stroke he continues to take advantage of all opportunities that are presented to him, having shown his work at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Akron Art Museum, and The Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. He also was commissioned to do a mural in Cleveland Public Square by Land Studios. Antwoine also started a non-profit organization called the Museum of Creative Human Art. He uses this vehicle to teach art through his graphic design courses. He currently works and lives in Cleveland, OH.

David Ramsey


Founder of Deep Roots Experience, David Ramsey is a lifelong resident of Cleveland, Ohio, growing up on cities east side. Recognizing the important role art played in his life, David pursued artistic expression with the encouragement of his mother. Art as an outlet became a way to share with and engage the community. Using art to “Curate the Culture”, or tell the story of his community, has been the motto of Deep Roots Experience since its opening in July of 2018. An idea birthed from 2 years of using art programming to impact youth, Deep Roots exist as a safe space for Black and Brown artist to exist absent the pressure of conforming to traditional art experiences. Deep Roots also host and offers art programming 12 months a year at no cost to youth and young people.

Walter Patton

Instagram: @freethinkerssince87, @walterpatton_

Walter Patton, is a current and lifelong resident of the Central community and also the fourth generation of his family to reside there. Create Art Not Violence started in 2018 it's an art initiative for youth in impoverished communities. It utilizes all forms of art from poetry, hiphop, film, arts and crafts to help deal with our traumatic environments. He has worked with and mentored 60+ youth in the Central community. Some youth have gone on to create their own creative projects based on resources provided by Create Art Not Violence. Also started in 2018, Ghetto Therapy connects residents from impoverished communities across Cleveland to licensed therapists. Many residents may suffer from generations of unhealed trauma, parents who are victims of gun violence, or police brutality. Through this program, Walter has connected 50_ residents with Black licensed clinical therapists who look like them creating a hangout hub to laugh, eat, cry, heal and share resources as part of Ghetto Therapy. Walter has partnered with moCa Cleveland, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, elementary schools, the Friendly Inn Settlement, Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland.

Ismail Samad

Instagram: @loitereastcleveland, @chefismailsamad

Ismail Samad co-founded LOITER East Cleveland as a strategic effort to build a future for East Clevelanders. It is weaving a tight community network centered on people's voices and experiences. By supporting East Cleveland entrepreneurs, residents, and change-makers with wraparound business development to the habitually excluded, it will ignite industry in culture, recreation, agritourism, and business incubation. Join Loiter co-founder Ismail Samad for a conversation on empowering local residents, attracting investors from outside the community and rebuilding local morale and expectations in the wake of exclusionary economic practices and harsh negative narratives that plague the City of East Cleveland.

Thank you to our funders:

This program was made possible with generous support by The George Gund Foundation and The Terra Foundation for American Art.

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