by Mike Telin
Being recognized with a Cleveland Arts Prize is arguably the greatest honor that someone working in Northeast Ohio’s cultural sector can have bestowed upon them. Founded in 1960 by the Women’s City Club of Cleveland, since 1961 CAP has honored over 350 artists and arts leaders whose work has advanced the disciplines of literature, music, design, visual art, theater, film, and dance.
Although CAP’s list of recipients reads like a who’s who of the region’s most influential artists, a closer look reveals many names that are conspicuously absent. “People come up to me and say, ‘How come Langston Hughes never won the prize, how come Ernst Bloch never won?’” Cleveland author and biographer Dennis Dooley said during a telephone conversation. “I tell them, that’s because the Arts Prize didn’t exist yet.”
In honor of its 60th anniversary, The Cleveland Arts Prize, in partnership with The Cleveland History Center, will recognize the region’s artist luminaries of days gone by with its Past Masters Project.
The year-long celebration kicks off on Saturday, December 4 with “Honoring Our Past Masters: The Golden Age of Cleveland Art, 1900–1945” at the Hay-McKinney Mansion. Doors open at 1:00 pm for a 1:30 concert that will feature music by five Past Master composers performed by members of The Cleveland Orchestra and guest musicians (download the program here). Tickets for the concert are available online.