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Cleveland Artist Spotlights


No one can tell the story of our local artist communities better than the creators themselves. Learn more about the artists who have made greater Cleveland their home, and take your own lessons from their experiences. Submit an Artist Spotlight

Andy Curlowe

Andy Curlowe says that his early work was primarily paintings and some video work.  “I think I was working with each painting being a strict narrative.”  After graduating from arts school in Beverly, Massachusetts, he and his girlfriend (now wife) decided to move to Cleveland.  “I was really excited to make that venture from the Boston area, where there is this very established environment and move to Cleveland where there is this very “do it yourself” attitude and an endless possibility of creation.”  It was supposed to be a temporary move, but Cleveland ended up being such a great fit that they decided to stay.  “Been here a little over six years. Everybody’s really nice here.  The artist community makes me feel welcome.  I think you can just hop right into it because it is so approachable.” 

Gadi Zamir

“The wood has a story and I have a story and we work together to bring it to reality.”  This quote comes from 2013 Creative Workforce Fellow, Gadi Zamir. Gadi Zamir’s medium is wood and he creates works of art by burning it.  He does this using a blowtorch, adding color using fabric dyes and oil.  “Knowing where to emphasize the grain with the blow torch helps you create the imagery,” says Zamir.  

Olga Ziemska

“Nature is defined as anything that’s in our surrounding environment including rocks, trees, plants, and animals, but excluding humans and human creation.  This definition is teaching the next generation something that is actually about a massive separation and fragmentation.  I think that needs to be relooked at, redefined and corrected.” - Olga Ziemska  

Colleen Fraser

Colleen Fraser was unsure of what she wanted her major to be in college until she took a ceramics class in high school.  From then on, she knew her focus would be on art, so she decided to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art.  The tricky part for her was choosing between fiber arts and ceramics.  This decision was something she went back and forth on, particularly during her third year of college.  After choosing to switch her major from ceramics to fiber arts during the spring semester of her third year of college, she elected over the summer before her fourth year to switch back to ceramics.

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts - CMBA

For more information about Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, visit the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s website at For an application for legal assistance, email Jessica Paine at 

Dru McKeown

Dru McKeown is an architect by day, but his experimental work, often seen in pockets of Cleveland and specifically in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, showcase his meticulous practice with his sense of play and experimentation. He is self-described as an “architect who lives, works, eats and makes stuff in Cleveland - playing with the built environment since 2000.” 

Linda Zolten Wood

Linda Zolten Wood has long found wonder through art. Growing up, her mother served as a key point of inspiration: Linda recalls her mother painting a rock in their front yard and organizing impromptu art classes with neighborhood kids. The creative energy permeated throughout her childhood.

Cindy Barber

Cindy Barber and her partner Mark Leddy dared to dream a dream in 2000, when they opened the Beachland Ballroom in 2000. Thirteen years later, these visionaries have transformed an entire Cleveland street with their passion and energy. Find out how they helped to make the Waterloo Arts & Entertainment District.

Tonya Broach

Tonya Broach's love of theatre and performing is apparent as she shares some of her experiences. One of the best things about being an actor, she believes, is bringing her own perspective to a character. Sometimes she’ll see something she likes about the way another actor moves or responds to a situation, but she interprets each performance in her own way. Her natural talent for performing -- including a great singing voice -- serves Cleveland's theatre community well, and it's apparent that her vivid imagination, and the ability to empathize with the characters she plays, are seamlessly knitted with that innate capability.

Joanna Connors

Joanna Connors is a reporter at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, and has worked for 25 years as a copy editor, arts and entertainment editor, theater critic, film critic, columnist and reporter. She has also written for the Chicago Tribune and magazines including Seventeen, Glamour, Redbook and React. Her 2008 narrative, “Beyond Rape: A Survivor’s Journey,” attracted national attention and won multiple awards, including the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism from Northwestern University, and the Dart Award for Coverage of Trauma from Columbia University.

Jackie Adamany

Jackie Adamany is a crafter, designer and owner of Handcraft Your Career, a consulting firm for designers, artists and craftspeople.

Krista Tomorowitz

Krista is leveraging her design skills to build her own business, and teaching a new generation of aspiring designers how to take their own work to the next level. This work was funded by an Artists in Residence grant. For more information about the exciting investments being made in and around the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District of Cleveland, visit

Doug Wood

Doug Wood is bringing his nationally recognized music talent, and the talent of fellow musicians throughout Cleveland, to Collinwood youth. Learn more about how his Music Education Series (funded through the Artists in Residence grants program) is giving children close-up exposure to music.

Anne Trubek

"I can be hard to explain, but really it’s pretty simple. I think and write about literature, culture, and how new technologies are changing how and what we write. Also, Cleveland." - Anne Trubek

Talise Campbell

Talise Campbell is a vibrant instructor, choreographer, and performer of West African Dance and Drum. Currently Ms. Campbell teaches at the Cleveland School of Arts, Karamu House, The Music School Settlement, Save Our Children, and at many other organizations and facilities. Ms. Campbell is also the Artistic Director for the Karamu Community Dance Program as well as the Director of the annual community June-teenth concert and conference programming in Cleveland.

Dancer Turned Drug Prevention Specialist-It all fits

My name is Colleen Clark. I've been dancing for about 45 years-got my Bachelors and Masters degrees in dance mainly because I couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life. Having been raised mostly in the Cleveland area, I was fortunate to have been exposed to a plethora of amazing modern dance companies and teachers through The Cleveland Modern Dance Association (now DANCECLEVELAND) as I was growing up.

Matt Marshall

Matt Marshall is a writer and editor living in Cleveland Heights. His fiction has appeared in various print and online publications, including Muse, La Petite Zine, and Futures Mysterious. He is a member of the Jazz Journalists Association and is a regular contributor to 

Huda Al-Marashi

Huda Al-Marashi is an Iraqi-American at work on a memoir that examines her dual-identity in the context of her marriage. Excerpts from this memoir are featured in the anthologies “Becoming,” “In Her Place,” and “Love, Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women.” Her poem, “TV Terror” is a part of a touring exhibit commemorating the Mutanabbi Street Bombing in Baghdad. She holds a B.A. from Santa Clara University and a M.Ed. from Framingham State College.

Howie Smith

Howie Smith is a saxophonist and composer. He has worked with many diverse musicians, organizations and composers such as John Cage, The Cleveland Orchestra, Mark Dresser, “Iron Toys,” Mike Nock, Elvis Presley, Clark Terry, and the “Tone Road Ramblers.” He has also presented numerous concerts and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe and Australia. He has received two Fulbright grants, a Cleveland Arts Prize for Music in 1985, and has been the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council on seven different occasions.

Christine Borne

Christine Borne is the editor-in-chief of “The Cleveland Review: A Journal of Rust Belt Literature and Culture,” [ ] which she co-founded with Katheryn Norris, Camilla Grigsby, and Wells Addington in 2010.