FRONT International awarded George Gund Foundation grant for programming and community engagement

Nov. 21, 2019

CLEVELAND, November 20, 2019 — FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art is pleased to announce it has been awarded a two-year, $150,000 grant from The George Gund Foundation to broaden and enhance FRONT’s educational initiatives and community engagement. The grant highlights FRONT’s commitment to inclusive public engagement, regardless of age or level of experience with contemporary art, and reflects FRONT’s mission to produce a world-class contemporary art exhibition that is deeply rooted in the region.

The Gund Foundation’s support will allow FRONT to expand a strategic partnership with the Cleveland Public Library and other local partners to develop new programs and curricula for K-12, high school, and college students, as well as adults. The partnership with the Cleveland Public Library, with its network of branch libraries across Cleveland’s neighborhoods, its foundational role in the community, and expertise with educational programming for a wide range of age groups, will help FRONT to ensure a profound and lasting investment in the arts in Northeast Ohio.

“We are so grateful to the Gund Foundation for their support, which stems from our shared belief in the transformative effects art can have for people of all ages,” says FRONT Founder and Executive Director Fred Bidwell. “Collaborating with Cleveland’s remarkable cultural institutions is central to how we operate, so extending our partnership with Cleveland Public Library to program development is a natural evolution for FRONT, and an exciting step forward for our educational initiatives.”

The Gund Foundation grant marks the latest award FRONT has received for development of the 2021 Triennial, following, most recently, a Knight Arts Challenge Akron grant for the creation of a public space for dance in Akron with the Stockholm-based Studio Dansbana!. Both initiatives reflect FRONT’s dedication to experiences that extend beyond traditional museum exhibitions and generate new and sustained cultural interest in the region.

In addition to a $50,000 operations grant awarded in March 2019, the Gund Foundation also supported FRONT 2018, when it provided funding for curatorial support, as well as education and community engagement at the PNC Glenville Arts Campus. The renewal of the Gund Foundation’s investment in FRONT is indicative of the impact of the Triennial’s first edition and its ongoing growth and development.

FRONT’s relationship with the Cleveland Public Library dates back to its first edition, when the Library was a supporting partner, providing research support and hosting Yinka Shonibare’s FRONT-commissioned project, The American Library.

“We’re pleased to be collaborating again with FRONT, broadening access to arts education across the greater Cleveland community,” says Felton Thomas, Jr., Executive Director and CEO of the Cleveland Public Library. “We’re excited to begin this important work of connecting people with the power of art, from students to lifelong learners, and across all 27 of our branch libraries.”

The second iteration of FRONT International will run from July 17 through October 2, 2021. Building on the success of their inaugural exhibition in 2018, FRONT 2021 will further the Triennial’s commitment to presenting authentic experiences that extend beyond traditional museum exhibitions to generate new and sustained cultural interest in the region. The 2018 edition brought over 90,000 visitors from more than 25 countries to the area, and generated $31 million in new economic activity.

About The George Gund Foundation

The George Gund Foundation was established in 1952 as a private, nonprofit institution with the sole purpose of contributing to human well-being and the progress of society. Over the years, program objectives and emphases have been modified to meet the changing opportunities and problems of our society, but the foundation’s basic goal of advancing human welfare remains constant.

About the Cleveland Public Library

Founded in 1869, Cleveland Public Library serves the residents of Cleveland through its network of 27 neighborhood branches, the Main Library downtown, Public Administration Library at City Hall, homebound delivery services, and mobile services to daycare and senior centers. From a collection of 10.5 million items, the Library lends over 5 million items a year to its 330,000 registered borrowers and to 43 other CLEVNET-member libraries in 12 counties across Northeast Ohio. Cleveland Public Library is home to the Ohio Center for the Book and the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, serving all 88 counties in the state of Ohio. For more information, visit 

In 2019, Cleveland Public Library will celebrate its 150th anniversary as The People’s University, the center of learning for a diverse and inclusive community. A year-long series of events are planned to mark Cleveland Public Library’s 150 years of service to the city of Cleveland. All CPL 150 events will be free and open to the public, so that all Clevelanders may participate regardless of personal circumstances.