The Transformer Station. did'ya hear, did'ya hear? This is huge news for any artist living in Ohio. It'll probably be big news for any artist, anywhere, especially photographers. For anyone who doesnt know, Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell are huge supporters and collectors of contemporary art and photography, based in lil' ol' Northeast Ohio.
Whats more, The Transformer Station project is only one of many ways they're helping foster their community and support education of contemporary art and photography. Recently, gifts through the Bidwell Foundation have made possible the first monograph by Brian Ulrich, Is This Place Great or What, as well as his first ever major museum exhibition and retrospective, Copia - Retail, Thrift and Dark Stores. Nor can we forget their continued support of the Meyers School of Art Photography Program with the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Visiting Photographer Series and the Bidwell Travel Scholars fund(yes, I'm on my phone. I think I was working out some framing kinks for my senior show..), through which I was able to meet and critique with some of my favorite photographers, and travel to AIPAD in New York.
The Transformer Station itself will be in collaboration with the Cleveland Museum of Art, and for the first time in it's history, give the CMA a presence on the west side of town. Intended as a contemporary outlet for the CMA, "The transformer Station will serve as a laboratory, think tank and place to uncover new opportunities by encouraging the Cleveland Museum of Art’s curators and collaborators to develop installations more spontaneously, take more risks and explore radical ideas as well as new media." The Station with also be a space to house the Bidwell's ever growing contemporary photography collection as well as a place to showcase and share their amazing collection with the community. I remember speaking with Laura Bidwell a year or so ago, before the Station was the Station, and she mentioned they were looking for a place just like this. A place to encourage artists in the community, bring attention to the area, and a way for them to share the excitement of beholding an actual, physical print from some of Photography's biggest names, right in their own backyard.
I may not be in NE Ohio anymore, but anyone who's grown up there knows there's always a little piece of you that stays behind. So I'm sure I join artists from all over the community in tipping my hat to the Bidwells and saying, how excited I am to see this coming together, and "Thanks!" This is one
step closer to NE Ohio becoming a major hub for contemporary art and photography.
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