Whoever said that high-end art and architectural details cannot be found outside a showroom has never experienced the Cain Park Festival. This Festival which occurs every 2nd full weekend in July is one of Cleveland’s best kept secrets and one I strongly suggest you mark your calendar for next year. It is not one of those tent sales where you can buy cheap and chock ski kind of items, but instead a place where you can find high-end art and sculptures, and hand crafted quilts, glass and furniture made by local artists. Talk about décor! You can even stop, grab lunch and rest a bit on the lawn at the amphitheater while listening to live music. In the words of the Cain Park festival directors, it “is a juried fine arts and fine crafts event, featuring the work of 150 artists; approximately 25 of these artists are award winners from the previous year who were automatically accepted into the next year’s show. All other spaces are open: usually 50-60% are first-time Cain Park exhibitors. The Festival is comprised of approximately 55% two-dimensional art, which includes painting, watercolors, hand-pulled prints and photography. The other 45% includes fine crafts in all categories ranging from sculpture, ceramics, all media of jewelry, wood, leather, glass and other materials in proportions dictated by the number of applicants and the quality of their work.” Located in Cleveland Heights, Ohio between South Taylor Road and Lee Road, it is the premiere place to be if you want to obtain high-end local pieces for your home’s décor.
This year was no exception and left no room for dissapointment. Meeting new faces and revisiting some favorite returnees, I came home full of ideas and ambition. I was especially impressed with a 27 year old woman who is trying to break out as a mixed media artist. Professionally trained, Trelan Jones, uses her African American heritage to bring life to her art. Chuck Wimmer with Loft Prints, one of my all time favorite attendees, is a man from Brecksville who hand draws cartoons in a flash program. His art ranges from a single cartoon to silly critters and are guaranteed to make you laugh and smile, even on your worst days. His art is a must for your office. Edmund Barky Furniture creates beautiful works of art that range from the modern to the traditional. His one-of-a-kind work will make a powerful statement as a focal point in your space. Daniel Horne, a self taught artist, is a natural as his table top kinetic sculptures give movement and life to an otherwise stale space. He also fabricates whimsical and understated works of iron art for your garden or patio. Gavin Lehman of The Designer Wrought Iron Company surprised me by his level of construction at his young age. His work ranges from wine racks to railings to front gates and all have a unique and organic feel to them. As 90% of his work is custom, Gavin should be a contender for your next remodeling project. Another favorite returnee is Cooper Leaf Studios. Chris Zielski produces cooper tiles in shades of gold, red and blue that can be hung as art, or in the right hands, used as tile. The effects that she produces are unlike anything that I have ever seen and have a wide range of installation possibilites.
I was most surprised, however, by George F. Kocar. He is different. Very different. And I mean that in a good way. Part Dali, part Van Gogh, little men with big noses and sunflowers for eyes, full of expressive color, his art is fascinating to say the least. Not quite knowing how to describe his work to you, I got his take on it. He describes it as “humorous expressionism” and I have agree that is the perfect description. I had to know more and asked how he got started. His reply; “I have always been interested in drawing cartoons, even when I was a small kid. I got interested in painting in my teens. I majored in painting in college and after I graduated I developed my current style. The painterly cartoons worked well for editorial illustrations which I did for most major magazines in the 80’s and 90’s. Now I am showing my paintings in a number of galleries and the summer art festival circuit.” His bio is pretty impressive as well as he has, “won numerous awards for his work…and has been commissioned by numerous publications including Playboy, Esquire, Psychology Today and The New York Times.” If you are looking for art that will spark conversation and will always make you feel happy, you have found it here.
But no matter what your style is, I strongly suggest you browse through my favorites and make it a point to come visit all the artists in person next year. Listed below are my favorite local exhibitors from this year’s festival and their contact information. I encourage you to go online and see what they have to offer. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
Dean M. Chriss/ Euclid, Ohio/ Landscape and wildlife photography
Patrick Hyland Photography/ Youngstown, Ohio/ Original photography
Anne Gruettner Photography/ Cleveland, Ohio/ Black & white, landscape and wildlife
John Thomas/ Gallery of Fine Art Photography in Baltic, Ohio/ 330.897.7291
Cooper Leaf Studios/Cleveland, Ohio/ Custom copper tile and art
Gavin Lehman/ Medina, Ohio/ Decorative & architectural wrought iron pieces
Scrap Heap Sculpture, Daniel Horne/ Girara, Ohio/ Metal lawn ornamentation
Art Shops Original/ Cleveland, Ohio/ Welded metal and carved stone
Chuck Wimmer/ Brecksville, Ohio/ Unique, abstract, and cartoon illustrations
Yumiko Goto/ Cleveland, Ohio/ Textual ceramic art
William Shearrow Pottery/ Canton, Ohio/ Pottery décor
Baum Pottery/ Lebanon, Ohio/ Table top pottery
Abell Glass/ Kent, Ohio/ Unique blown glass decor and ornaments
O’Brien Art Glass/ Stow, Ohio/ Blown glass decor
Gary Williams/ Cleveland, Ohio/ Traditional African cloth layered on oil paintings
Trelan Jones/ Ohio/ African-American mixed media/ 513.884.4035
Paintings and Drawings:
Jenn Cole Studios/ Akron, Ohio/ Abstract acrylic painting on wood
George F. Kocar/ Bay Village, Ohio/ Eclectic abstract cartoon
Mike Guyot/ Strongsville, Ohio/ Architectural Impressionist
In my studio, Lisa Breimeier/ Cleveland, Ohio/ Oil, watercolors, drawings and custom art
Catawba Woodworks/ Port Clinton, Ohio/ Fine wood furniture
R.N. Goldthwaite/ Kent, Ohio/ Fine wood furniture
Edmund Barkey Furniture/ Navarre, Ohio/ Heirloom furniture