Cleveland’s Morgan Conservatory celebrates its magical space at annual art party

October 4, 2018

Cleveland’s Morgan Conservatory celebrates its magical space at annual art party

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Anyone who’s stepped inside the Morgan Conservatory instantly realizes it’s one of the city’s best hidden gems. Tucked away in the MidTown neighborhood at 1754 East 47th St., the former automotive parts machine shop is now home to the country’s largest arts center dedicated to papermaking, book arts and letterpress printing.

It’s fitting that this year’s annual benefit takes the theme of “Magic of the Morgan” – a celebration of the fairy tales found within the pages of books as much as the Morgan’s whimsical setting. The benefit and art auction featuring more than 100 works returns 6:30-10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6. Tickets are available online or at the door.

Browse through the gallery above for a sneak peek of the art showcased.

“The Morgan is a charming place; when you walk in the doors it’s not like any other establishment you’ve ever been in,” says Benefit Chair Tony Williams. “That’s the magic of the Morgan. No matter how many times you’ve been here, you’ll always find something new — it oozes creativity and makes you want to experiment and create new work.”

To add to the usual enchantment, a group of volunteers have been hanging even more lights and handmade paper from the ceiling of the industrial space for extra ambiance.

The party is filled with mingling, hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and music by Glenn Holmes Trio and DJ p. stoops. You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes peek at the Morgan’s day-to-day happenings through demonstrations such as papermaking, print and bookmarking.

But the main event every year is the silent auction of art spanning mediums such as art glass, ceramics, artist books, printmaking, photography, papermaking, sculpture and more. There’s a special emphasis on showcasing this year’s artists-in-residence, including three international, six from Ohio and six from across the country.

In the span of the Morgan’s 11 years of operation, the residency program is fairly new. It launched in 2016, following major renovations to the space the year prior, which created room for meetings, an on-site handmade paper store and year-round programming.

“I was delighted to see our Artist-in-Residence program really blossom this year as we were able to grant stipends for the first time,” says founder and Artistic Director Tom Balbo. “I have enjoyed working with many of the artists who have come through.”

“This year’s class of artists-in-residence created captivating work using innovative techniques and we’re so excited to feature them in this year’s event,” adds Tasmin Andres, development coordinator.

Those hoping to catch a first glimpse of the works are able to purchase a VIP ticket, which gives early access to the auction from 5:30-6:30 p.m., as well as a lounge and drink ticket.

The fundraiser supports the Morgan’s operation, which includes the likes of workshops, artist talks, exhibits and community events. The event gives attendees a little taste of what happens within its walls with live demonstrations to demystify the paper arts.

“I can’t be more thankful that artists have pulled through and donated exciting, strong work. It shows the quality of support that the region has for an organization like ours,” Balbo says

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