Photo of the exterior of Kelvin Smith LIbrary

Kelvin Smith Library acquires Cleveland arts organization SPACES’ archives

Case Western Reserve University’s Kelvin Smith Library has acquired the historic archives of SPACES, a contemporary arts organization in Cleveland that provides support to local, national and international artists who explore and experiment.

The gift includes records ranging from early forms of digital and video art; artist correspondence and notes exposing the creative process; internal documents; and more than 3,000 slide images of original artworks documenting nearly four decades of SPACES’ evolution.

Opening the SPACES archives to the public will help researchers and historians track Cleveland’s changing art landscape and the depth of SPACES’ impact. The SPACES archives will join other recent acquisitions by Kelvin Smith Library, including the archives of the Cleveland Play House and the Cleveland Performance Art Festival, making the library one of the leading repositories for the study of performing and contemporary arts in Northeast Ohio.

In 2018, SPACES and Kelvin Smith Library will collaborate on an exhibit of the archives at the library to celebrate the 40th anniversary of one of the longest-running alternative art spaces in the United States. This exhibit will coincide with special programming organized to take place at SPACES, on the near west side of Cleveland, including a group show co-curated by SPACES founder James Rosenberger, longtime Executive Director Susan Channing, former Executive Director Christopher Lynn, and current Executive Director Christina Vassallo.

“The archives show how SPACES has always supported the creation of new work by prioritizing creative expression over commercial viability. CWRU Kelvin Smith Library has taken on the huge task of managing and making accessible numerous documents and materials that tell the story of a beloved art organization in Cleveland,” said Vassallo.