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Spring 2018 ArtWorks session begins

On February 20th, the Spring 2018 session of CAL’s signature youth program ArtWorks began. Forty high school students from cities across Cuyahoga County were selected to participate in four co-ops highlighting an assortment of visual and performing arts disciplines:


Teaching artist: Lakewood Young Filmmakers Academy

Apprentices are studying the history of film to develop an understanding of their own artistic voice. They are also studying the aspects of making a feature length film including screenwriting, behind the camera work, direction, and editing while making a film they can be proud to include on their own demo reel.

Japanese Poetry/Drawing

Teaching artist: Tim Geaghan

Apprentices have the opportunity to see where manga comes from. They are exploring the depths of their own true, free voice while writing Japanese poems (but not the Haikus one may have written in middle school). Apprentices are drawing with bamboo sticks while exploring the line from their heart, to their lungs, to their voice. This line starts with words and ends in images to create a shape for their lives.


Teaching artist: Ray McNiece

Apprentices are using their voice, body, and personal experience to create 10-minute plays adapting traditional folk tales to the stage. They are learning the foundational techniques of acting as well as bringing their own voice to the table to create their own storytelling narratives focusing on the arc of their play. This co-op is focused not only on the performance of a piece, but also the process necessary to bring theater to life.

Visual Arts/Mixed Media

Teaching artist: Shelly Svonavec

Apprentices are exploring their personal identify through memory, beliefs, emotions, obstacles, character values, imagination and experience to develop their artistic voice. They are developing a daily ritual of inspiration which will work with learned visual arts techniques to create a collaborative piece using their own innovative techniques. This co-op focuses on finding one’s personal path to their creative process rather than following the “rules” that previously may have been set for them.

Check back to this blog to find out more about ArtWorks and our spring apprentices. Also join us on May 10th from 6 – 8pm for ArtWorks Live!, a free public showcase of the apprentices’ original artwork.

ArtWorks Summer is Underway!

ArtWorks – CAL’s immersive apprentice program – kicks off its 12th summer session as 100 new student apprentices begin their training in one of eight arts-based co-ops. This summer’s art forms include: comic book creation, dance, game design, film making, performance poetry, photography, recording arts, and visual arts.

In addition to developing artistic expertise and building a sense of community-focused engagement, each Tuesday the ArtWorks apprentices will participate in professional development that introduces a wide range of career and life skills. Highlights of the upcoming guest speaker workshops include Bank of America representatives who will provide coaching on personal banking and financial literacy and Thomas Fox of Creative Mornings Cleveland who will share insights on marketing.

Over the course of the 5-week program, the paid apprentices train Monday through Friday from 9:30am to 3:30pm. Participating students are from 28 schools throughout Northeast Ohio, including 11 in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District; 46% of students are Cleveland residents and 36% live in the inner ring suburbs; and students range from grades 9 – 12, with 80% in their sophomore or junior year.

The program culminates with a showcase performance on Tuesday, July 25 at 6pm at the Cuyahoga Community College Metro Campus. The showcase performance is free and open to the public.

Read more about ArtWorks and learn how to apply for the Fall session.

Give to ArtWorks

Give to ArtWorks

ArtWorks annually hires close to 200 high school students for traineeships in the arts. Students develop artistic proficiency, work ethic, and leadership skills to empower them for success in both 21st Century classrooms and workplaces.

ArtWorks offers after-school sessions in the Fall and Spring and daylong sessions in the Summer. Under the guidance of professional artists, trainees are immersed in the study of an art form while gaining college- and career-readiness skills, and a paycheck. More than 50% of trainees are from low-income communities and, in many cases, the extra money is not only welcome, but needed in their homes. One alumnus wrote, “It’s hard to grow if you’re just going to a job at McDonald’s every day, or if you have nothing productive to do during the summer or after school. Not only did working at ArtWorks help take some of the financial pressure off of my parents while I was in high school… it also gave me the confidence to know that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.” This impact is the direct result of committed support from individuals and organizations which share CAL’s passion for improving student learning and strengthening our community through the power of the arts.

Ways to Give to ArtWorks


You can sponsor a student, a teaching artist, or an entire co-op. Click here to find out how to give towards a scholarship for ArtWorks.

ArtWorks Endowment

Help keep ArtWorks sustainable into the future. For information on the ArtWorks Endowment Fund, contact Director of Development Margaret Gudbranson at 216.561.5005 x 24 or

Theater Co-op Learns More than Just Acting!

Surprisingly, it has already been past the halfway mark at Artworks, and the theater/film co-­op still has plenty of work to do. Our master teaching artists, Mr. Jimmie Woody and Mr. Mike Fields, have done nothing other than teach us skills we will use for the rest of our lives. Whether it is to become an actor on either the big screen or stage, or just learn how to speak with confidence, our two MTA’s have taught us more than I could ever have thought possible. When we began our co­-op, we were immediately thrown into fun and engaging warm up exercises, that allowed us to break out of our shells and see what every apprentice had to offer. In that moment, whether we knew it or not, our co­-op became a family.

As time went on, Mr. Woody taught us more and more that went along with acting. Comedy, drama, romance, history, contemporary; it didn’t matter, Mr. Woody knew how to help us in any role we wanted to take. He began to bring up the use of monologues, so that when we audition, we have two contrasting monologues that are able to show our acting abilities. Some people did monologues from plays, other took their monologues from movies, and some even brought in their favorite piece of poetry. It was amazing to see how far we had come from the beginning. We learned that the expressions and voice projection used on stage, were not necessarily used in front of the camera. Speaking of cameras, that was also the time Mr. Mike started to ease us into the technical part of both film and theatre; specifically with the camera.

Getting a feel for both in front of the camera or stage, and behind, balanced out how we see our roles. From cameras, we were taught about lighting. This lead us to finally shoot our own commercials, which are finished and will be edited by yours truly; the apprentices. They turned out great! Never would I have thought that we could shoot an actual commercial, yet we did. Everyone took turns on set to be a different part. We were given the opportunity to become either a director, cinematographer, sound technician, slate, or actor for each different commercial. Everyone found their strong and weakest points, which was awesome. It definitely an experince none of us will

One of the last and most exciting things we have done so far with Artworks is visit Playhouse Square and see the production of “How We Got On.” Before the play had even began showing on the stage, we were given an inside sneak peek to what the play was about and where the playwriter had gotten is idea from. The play, or should I say musical, is about three teenagers who represent the three aspects of hip hop. They grow up in a small suburb in Michigan and try to figure out not only hip hop, but themselves. It’s was mindblowing. Your age as an audience member didn’t matter nor did your music taste because everyone could relate to it.  Mr. Woody even knew one of the main actresses, who was from Cleveland! In fact, Mr. Woody had her as a student. At the end of the play, we were all able to meet the actors and take pictures with them. It was riviting! They were so friendly and down ­to ­earth, you almost felt as if you had known them for a long time. I think all of us were blown away by how wonderful our time was there.

Time is flying by, I wish I could stop it. This co­op has taught me so much about not only film and theatre, but other skills I am going to use in my life time. From public speaking to problem solving, Artworks has provided me with a program anyone can learn something from. Whether you crave to specialize in the arts or not, this is something that all students should take.

ArtWorks Flashback: Screenprinting Co-op Summer

Over the next few weeks, blog posts will flashback to some highlights from the Summer 2014 program.  Stay tuned!

Written by Chris Vento, screenprinting co-op apprentice

During the course of the summer the artworks screen printing co-op has faced many creative challenges this summer including deadlines. However with creativity and ingenious thinking they managed to exceed all the expectations set upon them. Overall while there experience may have been stressful at times, it has been very rewarding. Specifically over the course of this apprenticeship the screen printing co-op has worked at the Cleveland Flea and created an installation shown at MOCA Cleveland and Gay Games 9. Each of these events have yielded valuable experience for all the apprentices.


The screenprinting co-op was invited to the Flea for the opportunity to market and sell the products that were made in our co-op.  We also got the experience of networking with other artists.  Thanks to the live printmaking demonstration and awesome hand made artwork,  our tent had attracted a lot attention and a decent amount of sales. Through this experience we learned how to troubleshoot challenges, make sales, and how to interact with the public.

Another opportunity that we had was creating a balloon installation at MOCA Cleveland in there guest exhibit area. Initially this idea, came as a surprise to us–having our artwork in a museum was a big deal–but we accepted the challenge with confidence. After touring the museum the co-op quickly began making plans for the installation and began creating designs. This event would allow us the opportunity of working with a team for a massive project that needed time management, collaboration and communication skills.  Although the installation at MOCA was large, it was not as large scale as the one we were planning to install at the Gay Games 9 Rainbow Run!

moca install

After trying lots of experiments to see what would make the balloons float the best and longest as well as troubleshooting the supplies and logistics, we completed another massive project!  One of the biggest challenges, was printing on a 3D object, primarily because screenprinting is usually a 2D process.  But with a lot of trial and error and teamwork, we printed more balloons and figured out the best option to display them outdoors.  We all learned how to solve problems quickly!

Artworks has been a very important and influencial experience in our lives. All of the skills we acquired at ArtWorks, regardless if we plan to go into art or not, can be applied to almost any other job in one way or another. Needless to say, ArtWorks as provided an unique opportunity for area students–it’s not reproducible! Anyone who has the opportunity to be an apprentice at ArtWorks should take full advantage of it, even if they do not plan on going into art.


ArtWorks Flashback: Fashion Co-op Summer

Over the next few weeks, blog posts will flashback to some highlights from the Summer 2014 program.  Stay tuned!

Written by J. Williams, fashion co-op apprentice – July 2014

The past four weeks in the ArtWorks program have been awesome. My master teaching artist, Ms. Jeanne, has taught us so much. Our first day starting this program was not what we all expected. I personally thought it was going to be like the first day of school all over again. But it was not; we jumped right in!

Ms. Jeanne taught us how to use the sewing machines, the importance of sewing, the different types of ways to sew, and the different ways that the grain of the fabric goes.   She also showed us how to take a large t-shirt and transform it into skirts. Amazing, right!? When we finish making the clothes, we are going to donate them to a women’s shelter called Laura’s Home.  Ms. Jeanne took everyone in the fashion co-op to go see what the Laura’s home is all about. As soon as we all went through the doors, we felt welcomed to be there. One of the ladies that worked there gave us a tour of the home and told us what to expect it to be like as we all walked through the home. Also, we all got a chance to see the little kids and where they stay.  They gave us a list of all the kids and the sizes of who they thought would be eligible to be in the fashion show that we were creating. So right now we’re making clothes for the kids in the fashion show and who ever models a certain outfit is the one who gets to keep that outfit. We have a logo and brand right now that is called ”MOM.” We picked MOM because the mothers play a big part in the kids’ lives and the children also look up to their mom. We made a logo with a superhero mother holding a child’s hand and the child is looking up at her. We also picked a superhero because little kids go through this phase of which they look up to superheroes.

fashion co-op clothes

We also took a field trip to Kent State University to learn more about the fashion industry in the fashion school. They also gave us a tour around the school and they showed us the fashion library, the fashion class rooms, their sewing machines and also how they’re used. It was a good experience for me because now I would like to go there for college. My master teaching artist, Ms. Jeanne is a teacher there.


There is a lot of fun things that happen in the fashion co-op. ArtWorks is a very good program and everyone should try to participate.