Vivid Parts @ Survival Kit Gallery: New exhibition. Expanded space.

Vivid Parts @ Survival Kit Gallery
New exhibition. Expanded space.

By John Benson

Dark no more, 78th Street Studio’s Survival Kit gallery reopens in grand fashion Fri 3/16 to show off not only its latest exhibit “Vivid Parts,” featuring paintings and assemblages by David Cintron, Kate Kisicki and Nathaniel Murray, but its newly expanded space. Opened in Dec 2010, the art gallery and alternative event space is the vision of Alex Tapié and Brian Straw and has become home to emerging artists — including the musical variety — hoping to show off their talents to Northeast Ohio.

Cool Cleveland talked to Tapié about the new exhibit and the venue’s new space.

Cool Cleveland: So what’s happening at Survival Kit?

Alex Tapié: We have been working on our new space for about the last two months. We’re located in the 78th Street Studio Building and the gallery was originally around 1,000 square feet. Now it’s around 1,600 feet. We have studio space that’s kind of an all-encompassing space. We have the gallery and then Brian and I also have studio space surrounding the main gallery, so we just cut into that and made the gallery bigger. So, lately it’s been a lot of manual labor – moving walls, redoing the floors and tracking the lights. It’s a DIY operation for us, and we’ve been doing it all ourselves, as well as getting the new show up. It’s been a lot of hard work.

Considering Survival Kit opened less than 16 months ago, the fact you’re already expanding says something, right?

We’ve had a really good year and a lot of positive responses from the community. It just seemed really natural to keep going with it and make it something bigger than it already is for sure. We kind of opened the space to show young emerging artists, and also to have music. My partner Brian and I are both musicians. I’m an artist so it was kind of to bring our mutual interests together and the theory of extending the space is to have bigger expositions, but it also increases the size of the performance area. We’ll also be available on a rental basis now that we’re larger and that was one big impetus to expand.

Let’s talk about your vision for “Vivid Parts” as the venue’s re-opening exhibit.

It’s a show of paintings mainly and one very large assemblage sculpture. It’s a really active lively show, and we’re just trying to have a really popping show for our reopening. I’m really excited about it because we’ve never had a show that’s been primarily devoted to painting. It’s kind of a departure for us. We normally have more material-based items and all of the work is just really bright and lively and really active. So it’s just exciting. The work is great, and the whole show will be kind of wild. Also we’ll have music that night featuring John Kalman and the band Village Bicycle.

What role do you see Survival Kit playing in the Northeast Ohio arts scene?

Oh, man, Survival Kit, I think, is viewed as a really kind of young, contemporary gallery. We’re always showing more emerging artists, people who are sort of still developing their body of work and people who are looking for a new venue, where they can take some risks and experiment, for sure. I think that’s valuable to the artists. In terms of a space where people come together, we’re pretty freeform. We have a traditional kind of gallery mold in terms of when we have an exhibit and following the open house model, but we also have music and do events here outside of the regular exhibitions… where we’ll display short films or have workshops for people who are sort of starting out and doing things independently.

If we talk in three years about Survival Kit, what do you hope the conversation is about?

I hope our conversation is about a lot of the same things, I guess. I hope that we’re still able to support the people that we show and continue to do it and support ourselves in the process. I hope it’s mutually beneficial. It is now, and I hope that continues and grows.

And perhaps the conversation will be about another expansion in the studio space?

No [laughs], we have a lot of studio space. I can’t imagine expanding it too much more. It’s a good size now. I think we’re done for a little while, until I get the bug in like two years to get my hands dirty again.

“Vivid Parts” is 5 to 11 p.m. March 16 at Survival Kit, 1305 W.80th St., Suite 3C, Cleveland. For more information, visit


Freelance writer John Benson spends most of his time writing for various papers throughout Northeast Ohio.

When he’s not writing about music or entertainment, he can be found coaching his two boys in basketball, football and baseball or watching movies with his lovely wife, Maria. John also occasionally writes for






Post categories:

Leave a Reply