FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art has made the difficult decision to postpone its second edition, originally slated for 2021. The next edition of FRONT will be held July 16 – October 2, 2022.
The arts ecosystem has been, and will continue to be, profoundly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. From revenue and fundraising constraints brought on by the epidemic and practical considerations like the need to reschedule programming and exhibitions, it has become clear that FRONT, its Presenting Partners, and the public is best served by a postponement, and emphasis, in the meantime, on healing and recovery.
“This was not an easy decision, but it is the right one, both for us and our partners,” says FRONT Executive Director and CEO Fred Bidwell. “The postponement will allow us to present the best version of FRONT that we can—something we hope will serve as a beacon of hope at the end of this difficult time.”
FRONT partners, including Akron Art Museum, Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, Cleveland Institute of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Public Library, moCa Cleveland, Spaces, and Transformer Station, like arts institutions across the country, are dealing with significant disruptions to their funding, staff, and operations. The repercussions of this unprecedented crisis will extend well into next year as they work through cascading issues of delayed exhibitions and programming, budgetary concerns, and more.
“FRONT will play an important role in the mending of our community following the COVID-19 crisis, both by bringing so many of our local institutions together to celebrate the healing power of art and by reconnecting Cleveland to the world after what we can only assume will be a prolonged isolation,” says William Griswold, Director and President of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
“Our world will be irrevocably changed by this crisis, and FRONT will provide an important stage for artists to create new work in response to that new reality,” says Jill Snyder, Executive Director of moCa Cleveland. “The additional time will allow us all to process exactly what that response will need to be, and provide the support it deserves.”
The artistic and curatorial teams for the exhibition, led by Co-Artistic Directors, Prem Krishnamurthy and Tina Kukielski, will remain in place, as will the exhibition’s title, Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows, announced earlier this year. FRONT 2022 will embrace art as an agent of transformation, a mode of healing, and a therapeutic process. The title is inspired by a 1957 poem by author Langston Hughes, who moved to Cleveland in his childhood and maintained an artistic connection to the region.
In the intervening time, FRONT will pursue digital programming initiatives, helping to connect artists and creatives across disciplines, internationally. FRONT’s monthly WHISPER SESSIONS will continue virtually and with a new and interactive live streaming component that will be unveiled soon on FRONT’s website.
WHISPER SESSIONS take shape in evolving formats: parties, reading groups, games, cooking shows, recipes, and more; supporting FRONT’s goals of engaging conversation, listening deeply, and finding ways to collaborate on the forthcoming edition. The next live WHISPER SESSION, a virtual reading room titled “How do we protest if we can’t get out of bed?” will take place on April 29, 2020, from 5:30 – 7:00 PM est.
FRONT is inviting the public to suggest WHISPER SESSIONS topics and projects. Contact @ or DM@fronttriennial for more information. Additionally, Meghana Karnik (Associate Curator) and Lo Smith (Curatorial Assistant) will be conducting virtual studio visits with artists from Northeast Ohio, Great Lakes cities, and Midwestern states whose work engages art as an agent of transformation, a mode of healing, and a therapeutic process. These visits will take place throughout Spring 2020 as a part of the curatorial team’s ongoing research; interested artists should email their website, CV, biography, and up to five work samples/minutes of audio/video content to @.