Cleveland Museum of Art
Surreal. Â That’s how it felt when I got a call from the Cleveland Museum of Art asking if I would be interested in having some of my work on display. Â (“why yes, that would be lovely!” Â er, how does one respond to that sort of question, exactly?) Â The CMA has always been a source of pride around here, but this premier art museum also just happened to recently undergo a $350 million expansion, which has given it even more attention and grandeur as of late.
The centerpiece of the renovation? Â The Ames Family Atrium, a stunning five-story space that connects the “old” and “new” museums with one grand glass structure designed by NY architect Rafael Vinoly. Â And within that space — bamboo gardens, a massive performance area, the Provenance Cafe (under the guidance of chef Douglas Katz), and the brand new Museum Store, which will now showcase local artists and exclusive merchandise.
“We’d like to feature your work at the debut in October.” Â “Sure,”Â I stammer in my professional voice. Â “That would be fine. Â Can you email me your consignment agreement?”Â “If it’s okay with you, we’d prefer to purchase the work outright.” Â <choke> Yeah, that’s good too. Â Sixteen pieces, my friends. Â Not that I kiss and tell.
The manager and I played phone tag on the day that I dropped off the work. Â It occurred to me as I was stopped at the front door by security that we had never really clarifiedÂ whereÂ we were to meet. Â I was informed upon entering that they don’t let so much as an envelope in the front doors, let alone a chica stacked with boxes. Â But a little walkie talking and I was led into a massive glass room covered in brown kraft paper. Â “We had to cover the walls because so many people were peering inside,” he tells me.
I asked if there would be any sort of opening — yes, he tells me the date… he may as well have said “a little shindig, nothing fancy”. Â The weather was lousy; parking was horrible. Â We almost didn’t make it. Â I had no idea the reason why we couldn’t find a place to park was because half of Northeast Ohio was inside celebrating. Â Performances included Taiko drummers, Indian dancers, giant puppeteers, stilt-walkers… over 40 different cultural performances. Â It was like Parade the Circle indoors.
We made a beeline for the shop. Â “I wanna see your work,” Alan insisted, dismissing the African drummers — “they’ll still be here.” Â We walked through the whole shop twice, not there. Â I tried to be diplomatic, but there was a twinge of disappointment. Â It wasn’t until we gave up and went outside that we realized it wasÂ featured in the display window. Â
Okay, yeah, I’m beaming like a little kid. Â Still. Â As a young writer, Neil Gaiman said he was given one piece of advice: “You should enjoy this.” Â And that, my friends, is just what I shall do.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me, and have a great week :)