FRONT wins the Ohio Museums Association Best Community Partnership Award
FRONT wins the Ohio Museums Association “Best Community Partnership” Award
For accessibility initiative in collaboration with Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Art Therapy Studio, and Clovernook Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired
Sunday, March 26, 2023 –
FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art wins the Ohio Museums Association “Best Community Partnership” Award for its collaborative initiative to open access to its acclaimed contemporary art triennial to people of all abilities.
Anchored through partnerships with the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Cuyahoga DD), Art Therapy Studio, and Clovernook Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired, FRONT worked to create an accessible exhibition experience at the FRONT PNC Exhibition Hub, including exhibiting work by artists with disabilities, introducing adaptive tools for audience engagement, and developing inclusive programming for visitors of all abilities. This initiative sparked meaningful change, earning FRONT certification by Cuyahoga DD’s “All Means All” program and demonstrating the power of community collaborations to advance inclusivity and accessibility.
FRONT Deputy Director Sarah Spinner Liska, who led the initiative, notes that it could not have happened without long-term partnerships outside the arts sector. “We could not have achieved this without significant support from community partners who are dedicated to accessibility work. We are proud of what we accomplished together and we also recognize that there is still so much more to do to make contemporary art accessible to all.”
Titled Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows, FRONT’s second edition triennial ran from July 16-October 2, 2022 and embraced art as an agent of transformation, a mode of healing, and a therapeutic process. The triennial was centered at the FRONT PNC Exhibition Hub at Transformer Station in Ohio City. Generously supported by PNC Bank, the exhibition hub was intended as a starting point for visitors to begin their journey to exhibition sites across the region.
At the exhibition hub, FRONT partnered with Art Therapy Studio, the oldest independent art therapy center in the country, to showcase the work of local artists with disabilities and to present a series of inclusive therapeutic art workshops that illuminated the positive effects of art-making for healing and wellness. Michelle Epps, Executive Director of Art Therapy Studio, notes, “FRONT was an enthusiastic, receptive, and responsible partner, listening to accessibility concerns, and more importantly, acting on these concerns. As one of FRONT’s community partners, we saw firsthand their dedication to making FRONT an equitable and accessible art exhibition for all."
The initiative was also supported by Cuyahoga DD’s inaugural Arts & Culture Partnership Program. Janet Keeler, Division Manager of Community Development at Cuyahoga DD states, “The FRONT team welcomed Cuyahoga DD staff to their exhibition space and eagerly implemented suggestions to make their space and environment more inclusive. We view this partnership as a role model as we work to develop future partnerships in our community.”
FRONT was also thrilled to partner with Cincinnati-based Clovernook Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired to offer Braille wall labels, a Braille gallery guide, and tactile graphics at the FRONT PNC Exhibition Hub. Samuel Foulkes, Director of Braille Production & Accessible Innovation, states, "Clovernook was thrilled to partner with FRONT, and to help ensure that contemporary art is more accessible to visitors who are blind or low vision. Our Arts Initiative provides cultural organizations accessible materials for free – an opportunity to experiment with access in their space without financial risk. FRONT dove right in, and we were impressed by their drive to provide vital exhibition elements in braille and tactile formats for their patrons."
FRONT’s accessibility initiative was also supported by The Anderson Center for Accessible Living, who provided guidance on accessibility, and Yachad Cleveland, who partnered on a program for individuals with disabilities.
FRONT is grateful for the recognition by the Ohio Museums Association and is also pleased to present a panel about its accessibility initiative in collaboration with Art Therapy Studio and Cuyahoga DD, “Expanding Access to the Arts”, at the 2023 Ohio Museums Association conference in Newark, Ohio.
About FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art
FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art is a free, public art exhibition that takes place across Cleveland, Akron, and Oberlin every three years. A destination event that positions Northeast Ohio as a global cultural hub, FRONT delivers world-class projects and programs through its network of partnerships with museums and institutions across the region, including The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, Akron Art Museum, moCa Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University, and Cleveland Public Library. For more information, visit frontart.org or follow @FRONTtriennial.
About Ohio Museums Association (OMA)
The Ohio Museums Association is the leading advocate for connecting and empowering Ohio museums and museum professionals. Founded in 1976 by members of Ohio’s museum community, the Ohio Museums Association is committed to serving our state’s dedicated museum professionals and institutions through career resources, professional development opportunities, networking events, advocacy on a state and national level—these are just a few of the benefits that help make OMA a vital career resource for museum professionals at every stage of their career. OMA works with a variety of museums, museum professionals and providers of museum services to strengthen the state’s museum, foster excellence in the field and support the museum community. Learn more at ohiomuseums.org.
For press inquiries, please contact OMA Executive Director Johnna McEntee at email@example.com.
About Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Cuyahoga DD)
Cuyahoga DD supports and empowers people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, work and play in the community and proudly serves 13,000 county residents from birth through adulthood. Cuyahoga DD is primarily supported by a property-tax levy last approved by voters in 2005. Learn more at www.CuyahogaBDD.org.
For press inquiries, please contact Cuyahoga DD Communications Division Manager Elizabeth Day at Day.Elizabeth@cuyahogabdd.org.
About Art Therapy Studio
Art Therapy Studio is a non-profit organization with a 50+ year history of providing art therapy in a safe space for all people. We serve those seeking healing, wellness, and self-care, including serving individuals from historically underserved populations. We believe art therapy should be accessible to all because we believe that promoting mental health and wellness promotes healthy communities. By removing the stigma often associated with seeking therapy, we can empower individuals to take ownership of their own wellness. Learn more at arttherapystudio.org.
For press inquiries, please contact Art Therapy Studio Executive Director Michelle Epps at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Clovernook Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired
Since 1903, Clovernook Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired has provided life-enriching opportunities while empowering people who are blind or visually impaired to lead active, productive and independent lives. Our rich history has led to today’s progressive and caring campus-like environment, where blind and visually impaired adults and youth can thrive. The Clovernook Braille Printing House produces books, magazines and other materials for the National Library Services and braille patrons worldwide while providing employment opportunities for blind and visually impaired individuals. For more information, visit clovernook.org.
For press inquiries, please contact Clovernook Center’s Development and Communication Specialist Mike Fasanella at email@example.com.