Cleveland Arts Prize, an award that honors Northeast Ohio artists and local individuals and organizations that have expanded the role of the arts, will launch a new, yearlong project intended to celebrate 60 noteworthy artists of regional, national and international stature who impacted the art world prior to the organization’s establishment in 1960.
The project, named Past Masters: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, will begin with an outdoor party June 24 at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.
Cleveland Arts Prize will also toast 2020’s special prize winners, including Chuck and Char Fowler, Roe Green, Scott Mueller, Helen Forbes Fields, Jerry Sue Thornton, the late John “Jack” Katzenmeyer and the late Steven Minter.
Originally conceived over a year ago by emeritus trustee and 1986 CAP winner Dennis Dooley, the project has required ongoing and extensive research per each individual.
“These regional artists are the giants upon whose shoulders our 60 years of CAP prize winners stand,” CAP’s interim executive director Aseelah Shareef said in a news release. “The past masters project allows CAP to deliver meaningful community programming that will educate and inspire our future generations while deepening community connections.”
Some of the inaugural past masters receiving celebration are:
• Roy Lichtenstein, a painter and seminal genius of Pop art
• Langston Hughes, an African American poet, novelist, fiction writer and playwright who played an integral role in the Harlem Renaissance
• Dorothy Dandridge, who was the first African American film star to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress
• Margaret Hamilton, an actress best known for her role as the Wicked Witch in “The Wizard of Oz”
• Paul Newman, an Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actor and director
• Bob Hope, an actor and stand-up comedian who lived in Cleveland Heights as a child
• Howard Swanson, an African American composer who graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music and was best known for his art songs based on the poetry of Langston Hughes
• Frank Walker, an architect, whose Cleveland-area work includes Hope Memorial Bridge and Guardians of Transportation, Cleveland Public Library, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Public Auditorium, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Cleveland Municipal Stadium
• Clara Wolcott Driscoll, a Cleveland Institute of Art alumna and designer, who was head of the Tiffany Studios Women’s Glass Cutting Department and was responsible for many of the highly coveted Tiffany Lamp designs, as well as the stained glass windows in Wade Chapel at Lakeview Cemetery
The party, named Twilight in the Garden of Good and Greatness, will include several performances in honor of the past masters.
“The Cleveland Arts Prize has an important role to play going forward in time, building the profile of our community as a preeminent center of arts activity nationally and worldwide,” said Cleveland Arts Prize board chair Howard J. Freedman in the release. “By publicly honoring the artists and arts community leaders of Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Arts Prize will continue to grow awareness of the importance of Cleveland to the arts and to reward and incentivize activity that makes Cleveland ever more important as an arts capital. The recognition of the city’s – and region’s – glorious past, we believe, will add to that luster, and remind us all of the important contributions of the city’s proud ethnic communities to our rich cultural life and reputation.”