This past weekend, my boyfriend and I attended what I lovingly call “The Running For the Art”. On a Sunday evening every fall, 200 or so members of the Cleveland Art Association (cARTa) gather at the Cleveland Institute of Art in University Circle.
As you enter the lobby, each member choses a metal tag with a number stamped on it. Its partner tag with the identical number goes into a bowl. Then you stroll thru the CIA galleries and mentally select your 5 or 6 favorite pieces of art from the 250+ on display. There are photographs, paintings, weavings, and sculptures. There is art of every style from ultra-contemporary abstracts to very traditional realism.
Once everyone is seated, the drawing begins with a cARTa board member calling numbers randomly pulled from the bowl.
As you eagerly await your number to be called, you watch a live video feed showing the members who were called before you run to the gallery to claim their favorite piece (one per membership, but some people have multiple memberships.) They walk their art past a camera so all still waiting in the auditorium know what has been claimed and what is still up for grabs.
When you finally hear your number called, you dash over to the table, get the red dot sticker you will put on the wall beside your art to “claim it”. You race to the area where your favorite pieces were and hopefully one of them is still available. If not, you pivot and find something else you love.
Luckily this year, we were called in the first 50 numbers so we got one of our first choices, an abstract in cool dark colors by John Teyral! The upside of having your number called dead last (we have been close) is that you get FIRST pick the following year (known as The Gold Dot Winner).
All of the works are by Cleveland artists. How fun to support locals! Many of the artists have strong ties to the Cleveland Museum of Art or Cleveland Institute of Art (or both). The membership fee (we pay $120 a year, but you can be a more generous Patron for $175!) helps to support student scholarships at CIA…..to the tune of $43,000 this year! That makes me happy.
They even have a children’s only drawing just prior to the adults so little ones can begin to appreciate original art (vs. just posters on their bedroom walls.) Get them started early.
What a fun way to expand your appreciation for art. In years past I have had art on loan for a year from artists as legendary as Viktor Schreckengost to lesser know artists we had never heard of before until we chose their art from the CIA wall.
For over 100 years The Cleveland Art Association has promoted and supported the visual arts in greater Cleveland. Honestly, Cleveland has something for EVERYONE.
It’s obviously too late to get in on the fun for this year, but mark your calendar and apply for membership in early 2023 so you can be part of The Running For the Art next year.
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