SVP Big Bang!

lailaSocial Venture Partners’ Big Bang was October 26th 2017. The first year that Art House participated, our Executive Director Laila Voss, was one of the 5 finalists to present their pitch to a large crowd in Near West Theatre. Laila was amazing! She really focused on the importance of art and how it affects children in our education system. Growing up with a narrow lens because of a lack of arts in education can be severely dramatic in: creativity, problem solving, team building and confidence. The arts are integral to our future leaders and their success in this ever changing world.

Talking to people in the audience before and after the pitches, I could see interest and excitement. During the pitches people were moved by the stories and the impact that the organizations were making in the Cleveland communities.

Watching Laila on stage was inspiring; she was up against far larger non-profits than Art House but still held her own. Though we did not win the competition we made friends, partners and proved that we are just as important as some of the larger institutions.


Emily Splain 

Program Coordinator 

How has Art touched your life?

Last week the Art House board went on a retreat for the usual reasons you might expect a non-profit board to meet on a Saturday morning.   The agenda was as follows: revisit the board commitment, refresh the mission statement, and re-envision the next three years with a strategic planning framework. Before we got to these business maters, however, we had a couple icebreakers to loosen everyone up and get the blood flowing at an hour when most of us might just be rolling out of bed.

One icebreaker was to create a continuous line drawing of a scene, blind (not looking at the paper). I choose to illustrate the table next to me with the majority of the board sketching decorative birds, ornate plaster motifs, scenes out the window, etc. The reason for drawing my fellow board members was to capture the moment, not because the scene was unique, but because just a few minutes earlier we had been discussing the one thing that brought this diverse group of people together. It was the first icebreaker and seemly an innocent question. “Why did you join the Art House board?”

Everyone’s answers were unique, but they had a common thread – art touched their life, so they want to make that happen for others. One gentlemen explained that he was a bit dyslexic growing up and probably wouldn’t have made it through school if it hadn’t been for the encouragement of his elementary art teacher.  Another lady said that art literally saved her life! My story wasn’t nearly as dramatic, nonetheless it rings the same – art has changed the course of my life.

I was attending a new school in 2nd grade and was just recovering from a terrible accident over the summer that left my face badly scarred. All the emotional baggage that goes along with being a new kid who looks funny set in by the first few weeks. Everything changed one day when I made a drawing after school from a book of a simple racecar. My art teacher, Mrs. Lombardo, was so encouraging when she saw it that the other kids took notice and suddenly I had a new identity in school – I was an artist. She later entered a painting I had made into the school art show for a blue ribbon. I don’t have the drawing, painting or ribbon any longer, but Mrs. Lombardo changed the course of my life. Art became my focus every year after and eventually I ended up becoming an Architect, marrying an artist, and joining the board of Art House.

If art has touched your life, please consider supporting your local art scene by buying art, donating to arts organizations or even joining a non-profit arts board like Art House. Every life deserves to be touched by art.

David W Craun – Board Member

Program Report Fall 2017 Urban Bright!



Fall Schools (6)

Luther Memorial: Gina Washington 09.05.17-12.17.17
Luther Memorial after school: Mark Yasenchack 10.02.17-11.09.17
Stockyard Elementary: Wendy Mahon 09.11.17-11.01.17
*Denison Elementary: Mark Yasenchack 09.21.17-12.08.17
New Tech West HS: Sheree Ferrato 09.18.17-10.23.17
*John Marshall HS: Augusto Bordelois 09.18.17-11.20.17
*Old Brooklyn Community Elementary: Katie Joseph 10.05.17-11.14.17

This Fall we are launching our new programming and partnership with the Cleveland
Metroparks Zoo. This special projects by Urban Bright focusing on Biomimicry, Conservation and Stewardship. Schools participating in this program are * above. Out of the 6 schools we will be developing 5 murals/installations at Luther Memorial, Denison, New Tech West, John Marshall and Old Brooklyn, 3 of which will be ceramic.

Fall Programs (5)
OST Day of the Dead Workshops: Angelica Pozo 09.20.17-10.18.17 @ RG Jones
OST Day of the Dead Workshops: Wendy Mahon 09.25.17-10.23.17 @ GALA
NEA Day of the Dead Workshops: Mark Yasenchack 09.30.17-10.19.17 @ Art House
NEA Day of the Dead Workshops: Oliver App 09.27.17-10.25.17 @ Art House
OST Art Club Residency: Meri Ruble 10.30.17-12.18.17 @ GALA

Fall is a busy time as we launch 2 new Day of the Dead workshops here at Art House, free to the public. Along with our 2 workshops partnered with Bellaire/Puritas we are leading 4 DOTD workshops this year. Also in partnership with BPCD we are starting the first afterschool residency for GALA’s Art Club. They are interested in doing a more in depth project that may be installed in GALA.

Fall Classes & Events (6)
Family Clay Day: Katie Joseph 09.23.17; 10:00-12:00p @ Art House
Family Open Studio: Julia Van Wagenen 10.21.17; 1:00-3:00p @ Art House
Family Open Studio: Elizabeth Gadus 11.18.17; 1:00-3:00p @ Art House
Family Clay Day: Mark Yasenchack 11.25.17; 10:00-12:00p @ Art House
Family Open Studio: Meri Ruble 12.16.17; 1:00-3:00p @ Art House
Community Culture Night: Kasumi 11.11.17; 7:00-8:30p @ Art House

Kim Bissett’s View about Art House.

Art House E.D. Laila Voss, staff member Emily Splain, additonal staff, volunteers, teaching artists, Board President Adam Stalder, Executive Committee and Board Members do an immense amount of work to keep AH moving forward. It is the nitty gritty work of being there and making incremental steps to advance the AH mission of being a  neighborhood haven for the arts, center for creativity, and oasis in the push and pull or urban life.
Last spring staff mounted a show of artwork from Urban Bright, an AH program wherein teaching artists work with partner teachers in select Cleveland Public Schools. I was struck by the forward nature of the work, its diversity, and power. Digital prints done by students at New Tech West with teaching artist Augusto Bordelois were based on Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. These were wonderful statements of identity and invention. Kinetic sculptures fashioned from wire, duct tape, and burlap built under the guidance of Melissa Daubert were fresh and original. Silk painting created with teaching artist Peggie Wertheim demonstrated unusual sensitivity. Many additional mediums and forms were on display representing work accomplished by young people working with excellent teaching artists.
I had walked to the exhibit from my nearby home. I passed young people playing in the street, some homes in the process of renovation, some boarded up. Bullet holes pierced the siding on two houses, refuse was in the street, and here and there several homes displayed beautiful gardens in the early stages of growth. Walking through the door of Art House was like walking into an oasis. The Urban Bright Exhibit looked fabulous- it was done with an economy of means but all work was displayed to advantage with thoughtful care. In attendance were several groups of young people and families. Walking through and taking it all in I overheard a young man point to one of the silk paintings and proudly say, “I made this.”
This is what all of the work and effort put forth by the AH crew is for…that connection being made by a young person to their internal sense of self, of pride, of accomplishment, to their own personal expression and artistry.
A rough translation of “I made this” this appears on Michelangelo’s Pieta (Michelangelo Buonarri, Florentine, made this). Art mythology describes a scene of the Peita being installed with onlookers exclaiming they could not believe that anyone so young could have carved such a magnificent piece. Michelangelo, 24 at the time, overheard the remarks and responded with his famous signature. 
Last spring on Cleveland’s near west side a young artist was showing his work to friends and family. The question came, “WHO made this?” The response, “I did- I made this.”
For the endless hours put in by staff, volunteers, teaching artists, partner schools, board members- these moments present the payoff. Pride, ownership of one’s work, creativity and purpose.
Especially now, the human spirit in all of its complexity must be nourished and encouraged. Art House does this.
Kim Bissett
Board Member 

Intern’s Point of View: Maggie Halm

maggieWorking for Art House, Inc. over the course of 9 weeks has been a pleasure and a learning experience. It’s opened my eyes more to what working in a non profit arts organization in the Greater Cleveland area really entails, as well as shown me the many different avenues I can go down as an artist/teacher. Art House affords so many people in Cleveland the opportunity to teach the community various art skills, as well as gives the community the chance to learn these things that wouldn’t otherwise be available.

I’ve never worked for an institution full time before. It has been an interesting experience. I see the same people 5 days a week, 7 hours a day. Work on the same tasks every day, with some variation here and there. You find yourself becoming attached to where you sit and work, begin to have a routine of when you eat, when you have your turn with the only fork in Art House, and so on. I’ve grown close to my coworkers and more passionate about our mission to make art accessible to the community through instruction, encouragement, and facilities.

Being able to work on two different, consistent, projects throughout the summer has helped me gain insight on what I’m more interested in working with. At the beginning of the summer I thought I might like to work in the archives of some institution after being exposed to what that’s like through an internship I had in January in New Orleans, Louisiana. Now that I’m working more frequently, and in the same environment, I’m coming to realize that this may not be the area of study I want to continue my career path down. However, working on every aspect of this short promotional documentary has further proved to me that this is something I enjoy and want to continue doing. Working at Art House has even made me consider trying to become a teaching artist. So much so, that I’ve begun to teach techniques on my own time to children and families in my neighborhood. Being a part of this organization has made me so much more hopeful for my future, I realized there’s still so much for me to learn, and many different paths for me to take!


Maggie Halm

Arts Intern

Art House, Inc. Summer Intern 


Artist’s Inventory Challenge 2017



On July 8th, Art House hosted its second annual Inventory Challenge, attracting 16 artists from across the region.  The concept for the event is simple: artists use the organization’s inventory to create unique pieces which are then sold to benefit Art House.  While the creative juices flow, non-artists (like myself) are free to watch, talk to artists about their inspiration, and mingle.  Artists have 2 hours to create and then those works are put on sale and awards are distributed. 
This year’s winners were:
“Can’t Live Without it”: Angelica Pozo for her beautiful flowers made from just about everything
“Your Worst Nightmare”: Ryan Craycraft for his eerie book
“Most Alien”: Chris Dodson for his porcupine-like fish
As you can tell by the descriptions above, the artwork is truly unique and ranges from standard art like drawings and paintings to abstract collages and “frankensteined” sculptures.  I was mesmerized by the pieces by Michaelle Marschall who used melted beeswax and small items to create beautiful underwater scenes.  I even bought one!
Although the finished art is certainly a draw to the event, the real magic is in the process and comradery that naturally occurs when artists come together.  The Quonset hut was filled with colorful conversation and laughter as the artists worked hard to finish their works. 

We hope the draw even more spectators to next year’s event which will be held in the fall of 2018.  Stay tuned for more information and I can’t wait to see you there!

Adam Stalder 

Board President 


Intern’s Point of View


My internship, this summer, has been at Art House, Inc. I work in the archives and have been working towards creating a short documentary for the organization. Art House is located in the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood, it’s mission is to make the process of making art accessible to the community, along with the rest of the Greater Cleveland community. Through outreach and partnering with other organizations and schools, classes are funded to make the arts more available to those who otherwise would not have this exposure. There are also classes offered at set prices for different age groups to take and learn different skills or have open studio time.

I grew up attending classes here. My school partnered with Art House when I was in elementary school. I had numerous friends who would attend classes here through school as well as on their own time. As you can imagine, it’s kind of strange learning the other side of the operation. I’m still a student here, in a sense, but more so behind the scenes. Working in the archives has been a bit confusing. There are boxes filled with old papers, these papers can contain testimonials, tax information, past employee’s information, grant applications, receipts, and so on. I’ve even come across photos of my friends when they were children!

I’ve slowly begun my other project for the summer, creating a short promotional documentary for Art House. This is really more my speed. I enjoy contacting people related to the organization and setting up meetings to interview people. Being able to film people and take pictures at events has been a lot of fun, too. I feel less nervous about doing this project. With the archival work I tend to overthink things and get nervous about whether I’m filing papers correctly or not. I’m the person who’s in charge of throwing away past documents, if I throw the wrong thing away, I’m in serious trouble! With filming, editing, and interviewing the stakes are less high.

I will say this much, going through the archives has given me a newly found respect for non profit organizations. The amount of time and paperwork that goes into applying for a grant that you never fully know you will actually receive, baffles me. All this effort put into something and you don’t even know if it will wind up benefiting you, all the while you still have to continue to manage and organize programs for the organization! I hadn’t put much thought into what goes on in a non profit organization before I started this internship.

I’ve been gaining more knowledge about what potential paths are open to me. I enjoy this atmosphere I work in so much. I feel accomplished working in an establishment that works so heavily with the neighborhood, and with art, two things I’m passionate about. Making art more accessible to a community, not just to be seen, but study the craft and have the opportunity to create something, is extremely valuable. Especially when most of these opportunities are free of charge. Not every family has enough money to contribute towards such fees, which is unfortunate, but true. At least in my experience working on art projects with children in my community. Giving the public this connection to something that is often pushed aside, but still valid, is crucial. It opens up the art community to so much more potential. Art House makes art more available and understandable.


Maggie Halm

Studio Arts Intern

Summer 2017

Thoughts from Board Member Marge Pauls


I’ve been hanging around Art House, Inc., for a good many years now and have never failed to find something of interest or some crazy project to capture my attention.  It may be the self-proclaimed place where art lives, but it is also where art lives inside each and every one of us.

Art is fun—from watching families on Family Clay Days connect through the experience of creating something special together, to seeing the creative efforts of children and, yes, even special needs children, and watching in fascination as their ideas begin to gel into wonderful tangible things.

To actually sign up for one of the classes might seem a little intimidating at first, but apprehension soon turns to satisfaction at the first turn of the potter’s wheel, the first brush stroke, and the first glimpse of your finished piece.

The feel of the clay or other medium under our hands as we mold it and give it form is reminiscent of our mud pies and sand forts on the beaches of yesteryear, but the friendliness and comradery of the other students and teachers ease us into our task and make the dirty hands all worthwhile.

Art is also fundraising, and because Art House is non-profit, it is necessary for us to work at it throughout the year.  We were off to see the Wizard last year when Art House held its first art auction, with Board members and staff pitching in to make An Evening in Oz a memorable event.

Our annual ABC Chili Cook-off (Art+Bowls+Chili) is always a rousing success—good people, good food and good fun!  We have restaurant fundraisers where a percentage of the meal price is donated to Art House, and coming up is our Annual Artist Inventory Challenge.  We’re also planning more Community Culture Nights with some very interesting guest speakers.

Art is truly alive at Art House; creativity is tangible here, and once through the door, you know you’ve ARRIVED!  So sit down, relax, bask in its warmth and let the smell of clay or paint or whatever it is we’re working on at the moment stir your creative juices.  Let your imagination soar and start making art!


Marge Pauls

Artist, Board Member and Teacher

Intern’s Point of View

Hello all! My name is Jamie and I’m your lovely new intern here at Art House.  I’m a Columbus native attending college at Baldwin Wallace University.  I’ve actually swapped around majors a few times even though I’m only in my first year (technically second in the coming fall), though now I’ve settled on studying Psychology and Studio Art. My focus is illustration and painting! Even though I declared art later on in life I’ve been a little proactive in my art career as I’ve even done a mural for Ovation, Baldwin Wallace’s end of the year celebration.

Art has always been a passion of mine; I’ve been tinkering with art since I was 5 years old. I would draw and color whatever I could. I was extremely theatrical and I danced as well. Art has sincerely shaped the human I am today in my passions, fashion, and perspective of the world. While I initially did not come into school for art, I found my way back home.

Being an individual who cares deeply for others, I started my volunteering career early and somehow I got swept up in the world of nonprofits and volunteering through BW. Amazingly, we have a program called Project Affinity! Project Affinity is a unique program where students are selected and live together in Cleveland while being partnered with various nonprofits in the area.  I went into the group looking for someone who matched my passion for others and a love of art.

This is where my story begins with Art House. I was lucky enough to be matched with Art House and find myself in a community that matched my feelings exactly. Reading the mission statement, learning about the organization’s rich history, seeing the projects at work here; it’s amazing. My heart was thrilled to find an environment that cares deeply about using art to better the world. As an aspiring art therapist, that’s exactly what I’m looking forward to doing and I’m so thrilled to see my philosophy being put into motion in the world around me.

Since I’ve started this week, I’ve been in charge of working on the 2nd Annual Artist Inventory Challenge and frankly it’s been an interesting ride. Part of me is anxious to jump into the fast lane of this adventure but I know in my heart it’s worth the ride. I can’t wait to see what will be coming up in the future and I hope to see you all join us for the event.

If you’re unsure of what the challenge is, then allow me to explain. The Challenge will be a fun local event on July 8th, where local artists come together to create a piece for a competition while swapping and sharing supplies with the community. The pieces can win awards and will be sold to benefit Art House! There will be food and drink and a community of wonderful people here. I can’t think of any reason not to go, so I hope you’ll find a reason to come!

Thank you for listening to my ramblings, please look forward to more.


Jaime McFarland

Project Infinity Intern/Art House, Inc.


What Art House Means to Me.

I am sitting here on a wet gray Cleveland evening trying to think of what to write for Art House’s blog. Trying to find that one topic that will flow effortlessly. Trying to think of the best way that will convey why I support Art House’s mission. I am realizing that it’s not just one thing.
It’s a whole host of things, but in a nut-shell it’s been about a lifelong appreciation of the beauty around me and wondering about the path this “art” must have taken to get to its final stage. I would also say that I’ve always had an interest in the arts before I even knew what art really meant. My father was a talented self-taught musician (several instruments) and I remember my mother sewing clothes for my sister and I when we were young. Unfortunately, as life tends to happen, neither of my parents pursued those interests other than as hobbies, but what I would say is that it opened my eyes to be creative and resourceful.
One of my earliest memories was explaining to my parents that my grade school art drawing was not of an elephant, but of a male dog. (You can use your imagination why they thought it was an elephant.) I also used to sew clothes for my dolls from my mother’s fabric scraps and make gladiator sandals out of cardboard and elastic. I even entertained at one point to study fashion design. So you could say art has always been in my life in some manner.
I first came to know about Art House several years ago while working on a community event in which Art House was also assisting with. Shortly thereafter I was asked to be part of the community advisory board and in this capacity I learned more about the programs and classes offered. I began signing up my children to take classes and also attending their Family Open Studio. I felt the need for my children to experience art and very grateful that there was an organization in the neighborhood that offered classes. In my opinion, kids are not getting nearly as much art in school as they should anymore so it has always been important to me to ensure that my children were exposed to art. Opening their minds to be creative.
I recently attended the 15th Annual Urban Bright Exhibit and I was truly amazed with all the great pieces of art that were on display. If you didn’t attend, you missed a great event! A true testament to the wonderful job of all involved with Art House from the staff, teachers, artists and of course the students! It is moments like this event, that make me happy to know that Art House exists. It is this being able to partnering with artists to teach students how to make art that I find truly inspiring. Art at its most basic to all.
I now am on the Board and committed to ensure that Art House thrives and grows so that wherever you’re from, whatever the skill level we provide art to all.
Nitza Rondon
Board Member