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

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Our mission is to inspire exploration and expression through the visual arts. By fulfilling this mission, Art House stabilizes our neighborhood and creates opportunities for artists to thrive. By extension, the organization contributes significantly in the creation of Cleveland as a culturally rich and economically viable destination to live, work and raise a family. 

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