Tobacco-tax money supports 20 artists in Ohio

Amy Casey, “Keeping it together,” 2009, 36″ x 50″

Cleveland painter Amy Casey was recently awarded a $20,000 Creative Workforce Fellowship. Cuyahoga County commissioned the nonprofit Community Partnership for Arts and Culture to implement distribution of the county’s tobacco-tax dollars to 20 local artists. Clevland Scene critic Douglas Max Utter met Casey in her studio to talk about her work and what the grant will mean to her career. “It’s good for me, for my career,” she says. “I’m a little set aback. It’s frankly a little hilarious to think anybody cares what I have to say.” In an e-mail she added, I think the vast majority of artists including myself usually work in a kind of vacuum of polite disinterest for the most part. Of course most artists of any stripe have a few champions and the support of a few vocal, kind family members and/or friends, but generally when presenting work, you can almost hear the crickets chirping, as painting simply doesn’t raise the kind of public attention that it might have, say, a hundred years ago. So my experience of leaving that quiet vacuum if only for moments has been a bit disorienting. But it’s lovely for the most part. And while I appreciate the attention right now, I would like to point out that I am certainly no anomaly. I was in a group show in a Los Angeles gallery (POV Evolving) early this year which was curated by a collector in California. And I found that, including me, there were four Cleveland area artists in the show � a complete coincidence, all of us arriving from completely different paths.” Read more.

Casey will have a solo exhibition at Zg Gallery in Chicago in September.

Painters Donald E. Harvey, Michelle Anne Muldrow, and Seth Rosenberg also received awards.

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