The vibrant art and food scenes in Cleveland Heights are set to collide in the upcoming Heights Arts exhibition, “At Table: Cleveland Culinaria.” The installation, open March 4–April 16, pairs area culinary experts with teams of artists who work in ceramics, glass, fibers, metal, wood, and 2-D art. With the goal of creating five individual tablescapes and dining environments, each team met regularly over the past year to design creative food presentations reflecting a variety of themes.
Rachel Bernstein, executive director of Heights Arts, believes that this type of exhibit makes sense for a community like Cleveland Heights. “It’s all about collaborating,” says Bernstein. “It’s a way of looking at more functional items and incorporating art into everyday life.”
“It’s exciting to have community events surrounding food—it’s never been done before and involves the community in new ways. Everyone connects with food.”
According to Alex Allenchey of ArtSpace.com, the notion of functional art refers to aesthetic objects that serve everyday purposes. Every element of each dining environment is an artistic creation—from handmade tables, flatware, glass, and ceramic pieces, to artwork and photography on the movable walls that will delineate each scene.
Local fiber artist Kate Snow, who is creating the table linens for a brunch-themed display, believes that At Table will encourage patrons to experience art in a new way.
“I think an exhibition like this challenges us to think about the experiences we have every day and examine how functional art can change that,” says Snow.
Local chef and entrepreneur Douglas Katz relays his enthusiasm for the project via his world-cuisine-themed menu. “We are all artists in our own way,” says Katz. “It’s been really great to bring culinary arts together with the art that will be surrounding us in pottery, woodworking, and photography. We have an ethnic spin for our theme, highlighting spices from around the world, which is also reflected in our photography.”
Five ticketed food events will be held to showcase each of the specific environments. Themed small plates and craft cocktails will accompany conversation with the artists and chefs behind the work. Patrons also will have the opportunity to incorporate the artistic elements of the exhibits into their own daily experiences, as most of the functional art featured will be available for special order.
At Table is on view through Saturday, April 16. Admission is free. For information about gallery hours and tickets and menu descriptions for all community meal events, call 216.371.2457 or visit HeightsArts.org.