Valley Art Center celebrates 50 years
By Stacy Turner
The Valley Art Center has served as the hub of visual arts in the Chagrin Valley for the past 50 years. Founded in 1971 by a small, but inspired group of artists, their mission was to create a permanent space for adults to learn about watercolor painting, for children to take classes, and for people of all ages to learn how to create pottery.
Fifty years later, the center now offers hundreds of classes, workshops and summer camps for children to seniors of all artistic ability. With classes in oil, acrylic and watercolor painting, drawing, pastels, printmaking, jewelry, metal smithing, mixed media, and ceramics, beginners to professional artists can find something to inspire their creativity at the Valley Art Center.
“We are very excited to be able to safely offer kid’s camps again this summer!,” shared Dan Simone, gallery and marketing manager. “Classic favorites like Glitter Camp, Art Jewelry Studio Camp, and Fun with Fabric are returning,” he noted, “and we’ll have some new offerings, too.”
Simone continued, “In Travel the World Through Art, kids from 6 to 8 years old will explore different types of art, like Australian rain sticks and African masks, as we hop from continent to continent.” Simone noted that adults have the opportunity to attend a new class as well — one taught by renowned pastel artist Linda Pierce. Visit valleyartcenter.org for a full list of summer programming.
In addition to classes and workshops where artists of all ages can learn or hone skills, the Center also houses a gallery that hosts five exhibits each year with curated, invitational, and juried shows. “Our calls to entry draw local, regional, and national artists from the Cleveland area and beyond,” Simone noted. The on-site gift shop features one-of-a-kind treasures created by local artists and makers, as well.
Each summer, the Valley Art Center hosts Art by the Falls, a nationally acclaimed outdoor art festival that has featured the works of over 120 artists from around the nation. This year, due to the pandemic, the long-running festival has been modified. “We’re offering a new era of Art by the Falls with back-to-back gallery exhibits featuring artists who were to have been part of last year’s event,” Simone explained. “This new format also gives us the opportunity to add a series of pop-up art exhibitions in the area.” Those pop-ups will take place on select days at both the South Russell and Chagrin Farmer’s Markets. He continued, “Along with the unique, handmade offerings from the artists, we will also have take-and-make kits for children, and other fun surprises.”
Simone noted that Art by the Falls gallery exhibits will run consecutively, with one set of artists’ work on display from June through early July, followed by a new set of artists work running through Labor Day. “And unlike our typical gallery exhibits where patrons can’t receive purchased artworks until the exhibition closes, patrons at these exhibitions will be able to view, purchase, and take home pieces the same day,” Simone shared.
This year, to celebrate the Valley Art Center’s 50th anniversary, they called on internationally known fiber artist Carol Hummel to mark the occasion in vibrant color. During the spring, volunteers created crocheted circles that the artist joined together to encase the trees in front of the Center. This Instagram-worthy community art project will be accessible to the public throughout 2021.
Whether you and your family want to experience art crafted by others, or express your own creativity in a bold, new way, you’re sure to enjoy the Valley Art Center’s programs and activities this summer.
For more information on classes and events, visit www.valleyartcenter.org or call (440) 247-7507. Valley Art Center is located at 155 Bell Street in Chagrin Falls.