AsiaTown’s Negative Space Relocates to Make a Positive Impact on Cleveland Arts and Music Community

The new Negative Space location in Asia Town Center boasts a recording studio, photography studio, gallery space and more.

Sat 8/26 @ 7-10PM

For the past five years, Negative Space has been providing Northeast Ohio artists and musicians with an outlet to show off their creative works. Now the nonprofit is expanding its operation in the second floor of the Asia Town Center.

The Negative Space grand re-opening, which also doubles as a fundraising effort, takes place Sat 8/26 @ 7pm at its Superior Avenue location. Scheduled activities include a cash bar, creation station and silent auction. There will be performances by Dan Socha, M. Moody, C-Level and Glowing Moses with displayed featured works by Kubra Abbas, Cara Romano, Gadi Zamir, Maxwell Miller, Bob McNulty, Ari Michael Warner, Bob Perkoski and Donn R. Nottage.

CoolCleveland talked to Negative Space visionary Gadi Zamir about Negative Space making a positive impact on the arts and music community.

Congratulations on Negative Space’s move. Can you give us a little history of the operation?

Negative Space Gallery originally opened in 2012 as my own studio and gallery. It was 800 square feet. After getting a $20,000 award from CPAC (Community Partnership for Arts and Culture), I was able to expand the gallery to 3,000 square feet. That’s when we became a nonprofit as a platform for emerging artists and musicians. Now we’re actually moving the gallery into a storage unit that we’ve been renovating for over a year. It’s a bigger space at 4,000 square feet. We’re going to have a recording studio in there where emerging musicians have the ability to record. We’ll have a permanent studio for photography. It’s really exciting for us. Also, Eric Duong, the owner of the building, is like a brother to me. He and his family were more than helpful in the expansion and without them, none of this would be possible.

How long have you sensed Negative Space needed more space?

We had monthly events where we started open mic nights and sketch nights. It’s very eclectic and very multi-cultural with poetry, music, rap. It’s for different ages and diverse crowds. Gradually, the open mic nights grew to bring in a larger audience, more than we can accommodate in the space. Also, we had a lot of artists wanting to be involved and exhibit. We started programs with a lot of schools. We have refugee artists. We have ex-offenders. We really felt that with our programming attracting foot traffic and interested musicians and artists, it was time to grow. Also, we’re now called Negative Space. It will be open to more genres, so we’re dropping the “gallery.”

In context of the Northeast Ohio arts and music scene, how unique is Negative Space?

Just the fact we’re a nonprofit. We give opportunities without taking anything away. Usually galleries take a commission off the artwork for people selling their art or have fees involved. We are in it to give them the opportunity. Our funding comes from donors, program development and grant writing.

When you opened five years ago, did you envision it growing into a multi-discipline venue?

When I came from Israel in 1999, I started creating created art in my basement. I had art all over. That’s when I decided to open a space. And once I opened my space, it was meant for artists and other people. Initially I wanted to expand and invite more artists in. I saw the opportunity to have photography. Then I thought it would be nice to have a space for live music. And then we thought, if we have this space, why don’t we do open mic nights?

How did being an artist help you assimilate moving from Israel to Cleveland?

If I didn’t have the arts and the entertainment and all of the friends, I wouldn’t have survived Cleveland. It totally gave me new meaning, new purpose, new passion, new inspiration. I’ve been inspired after meeting so many amazing people.

What do you hope people take away from visiting Negative Space?

I hope people realize that the artists are looking for an opportunity to share their creations, enjoy the creations of others and find common ground instead of building fences or separation. That the arts have the power for people from all walks of life.

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