CLE’s Latest Artist Residency Seeks To Bring New Voices To Town @MicroArtSpace @78StStudios

Fri 3/21 @ 5pm

A few months ago, professional artist and NASA photographer Michelle Murphy and her husband Matt Smith opened Micro Art Space in suite 108 at 78th Street Studios. With the opening came an announcement of a related artist residency program.

After careful consideration, the multi-disciplinary duo Roman (Sirotin) and Jennifer (Gordon) have been selected for Micro Art Space’s first residency. The two are professional Ballroom Dance instructors and competitors, as well as painters, photographers and art models.

With the residency comes a work/exhibition space at 78th Street Studios (with 24/7 access), a Third Friday exhibition reception, residency in Michelle and Matt’s home (up to 2 bedrooms), weekly discussions, optional art outings, home-cooked meals and more. Residencies range in duration, with longer residencies available to local artists with their own living arrangements. Although the residencies require a fee, a number of need and merit-based awards will be presented throughout the year.

While 78th Street Studios is filled with a diverse variety of art galleries and studios, this is the first residency program of its kind in the building. The program will bring national and international artists to Cleveland. Further, these artists will receive an insider’s perspective of our city and its exciting art community. Clevelanders will have the opportunity to see original (often experimental), cutting-edge work from new artists.

Michelle Murphy recently took time to discuss the new residency program and gallery.

Cool Cleveland: What inspired you to start a residency program in your new gallery? Were the gallery and residency conceived together or did one idea lead to the other?

Michelle Murphy: I wanted to create a Short-term Residency opportunity for artists; that was the idea and goal that came first. In my experience as an artist, I found that there are simply not enough National/International opportunities that offer artists a place to live and create their work for less than a one month duration.

I located and participated in three wonderful, short-term residencies in 2011-2013 and found the experience vital to my personal growth as an artist. By participating in OFF-the-Internet experiences with other creative thinkers, it allowed me to extend my creative community. Both emerging and recognized artists need these kinds of experiences after college.  I want to offer this in-person experience to National/International/Local artists here in Cleveland.

The gallery evolved out of the question, “What specific opportunities and resources can we facilitate to artists working here?” As all of us locals know, studio warehouses and storefront spaces in Cleveland are available to us, located at many wonderful and growing neighborhoods across the city. We (the Cleveland Creative Class) work hard, we are thoughtful, we are generous, and we have a lot of things to offer anyone willing to join us!

After 2 experiences as an exhibited artist at 78th Street Studios (at Hedge and CWAL), I noticed that on the Third Friday Openings (in one night) there are often more art viewers than a whole month duration exhibition at other institutions. The vast numbers of viewers consist of both newcomers to the art scene and people that make up the consistent backbone of our art community. This is one of the many benefits to having an exhibition with us at Micro Art Space.

What criteria did you use in selecting the first round of artists? What can we expect from the upcoming artists and their residencies in 2014?

Artists are selected on a rolling basis. We are always accepting submission applications to our program here.

There is a diverse group of artists coming to Micro Art Space this year. We accept artists working in all media.  You will see that they are varied in their age, location, experience, and approach. Overall, artists are selected because they have an exciting quality about their work, and are concerned with contemporary ideas and processes. Contemporary Art is our focus. We look forward to bringing their work to the Cleveland art audience!

What aspect of the residencies are you most excited about?

What Matt Smith and I can offer artists is a warm cozy Midwestern experience – like going home (without the drama).  Baptiste Lefebvre, an artist and designer from Geneva, Switzerland (Baptiste and I co-curate the online publication Make8elieve) once said, “Cleveland is where I go to recharge my batteries.” This was Baptiste’s response after living with us for 20+ days, co-curating a pop-up international exhibition with me — Outerspace: an American Odyssey — and spending time with many wonderful people in our Cleveland Community.  It was extraordinary moments like this that “planted the seed” for Matt and I to grow this DIY opportunity.

Creative thinkers are some of my most favorite people on the planet, I’m excited to work with more of them as this year of programming rolls on.

Can you let us in on any details of March’s Third Friday at Micro Art Space?

I recommend coming to Micro Art Space this Friday from 5pm-9pm (in 78th Street Studios, Suite #108, First Floor). Look at the work in-person, introduce yourself – this experience is created for all of you.

I think of Micro Art Space as a new and exciting place (and certainly not the only place) in Cleveland for contemporary art and artists to grow, thrive, and share! Please join us on every third Friday from 5pm-9pm for exhibition receptions!


Just a few doors down, the Cleveland West Art League will host the opening reception for their annual residency program, 6 in Studio. Each year, CWAL’s gallery transforms into a shared studio for six selected artists. The artists share this communal space for a month. This month’s reception is a preview; as the artists begin their process. Next month’s reception (Fri 4/18 5-9pm) will unveil the results of their month-long experience.

This year’s guest curator is SPACES’ Marilyn Simmons. The six artists are Jeff Chiplis, Mona Gazala, Natalie Grieshammer, Brandon Juhasz, Christopher Kulcar and Dana Lynn. While the exact plans are unknown, artists often create interactive, site-specific work. You won’t want to miss either reception!

There are various other receptions throughout 78th Street Studios for March’s Third Friday open house. Be sure to stop by early, and wonder through Cleveland’s biggest “art maze.”



Josh Usmani is a 27 year old local artist, curator and writer. Since 2008, his work has been featured in over 50 local and regional exhibitions.







Cleveland, OH 44102

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