The Cleveland Institute of Art and the CIA Alumni Council proudly present the 2021 Alumni Exhibition: Imprint the Air, on view from June 4 to August 13 in Reinberger Gallery. This juried exhibition showcases work by CIA alums from different graduating years and artistic practices, and offers viewers the opportunity to learn more about the college and its influence on the artistic vocabulary of the region. 

The Alumni Council is made up of volunteers who communicate with CIA leaders and pursue a mission to sustain and build a network of alumni with a lifelong connection to the College. The council is committed to sharing ideas and establishing opportunities for alumni involvement by producing events such as the alumni exhibition. The council fosters ongoing relationships with students, faculty and staff, and works to build a strong relationship between alumni and CIA.


Meet the Juror

The juror for this year’s show is artist and curator Emily Carol Burns, the founding editor and director of Maake Magazine and founding director of Maake Projects. She has organized a wide range of single-artist and group exhibitions, including Linger Still, a solo show of work by Kaveri Raina at Assembly Room in New York, and Biophilia, a group show at Unpaved Gallery in Yucca Valley, California. She has been invited as a visiting curator at BRIC Brooklyn and the NARS Foundation in Brooklyn. As an artist, her work has been featured in media such as Beautiful Decay, Hi-Fructose and Juxtapoz. Read more about Burns here.

In addition to jurying the show, Burns provided an exhibition title and a short statement offering insight about the selection process and her perspective on the state of contemporary art.

Juror Statement

Imprint the Air is a collection of works spanning myriad styles, media, subjects and approaches that all evoke a feeling of the body or the natural world in a unique way. After a year of virtual interactions and more than enough time spent in front of a screen, this collection explores different aspects of nature, and being in a body in physical space. Whether depictions of a habitable environment, portrait of a person, themes of world-building, representation of a tool grasped in hand, or a work that engages the viewer's body upon approach, these works felt like celebrations of life in three-dimensions, as living, breathing, evanescent beings on this vital planet.

Alyssa Ziemba's Fiorella's Dress might suggest how a garment might feel on the skin, or where its inhabitant has gone, while Chi Wong's Honey Goldfish Tea sparks the rush of emotions tied to forests, feasts, and gregarious energy. Erykah Townsend's Reminder activates a viewer's sensory system upon approach through texture, and expanse of physical space, while Nora Corcoran's Monet Muse evokes the analog bliss of an afternoon in Monet's garden, albeit in an entirely digital format.

The exhibition is comprised of work that feels like it somehow grapples with moving forward, with being human, with living in and with nature and somehow tapping that awareness again. There is a beating pulse that can be felt in many works of art post-pandemic and this work feels like it is conversation with that rhythm—asking what have we been missing, what can we learn, and what can we rediscover?

Emily Carol Burns
2021 Alumni Exhibition Juror

Gallery Director’s Statement

I am thrilled to present the 2021 Alumni Exhibition, Imprint the Air, juried by Emily Carol Burns, in the Reinberger Gallery. After a difficult year due to the numerous challenges presented by COVID-19, it feels necessary to be present with those things that make us feel wholly human. Many artists and arts workers have felt the effects of the pandemic through the loss of jobs, exhibitions, residencies, performances and premieres. Though it is hard to be hopeful during a time of profound loss, art reminds us to hold steadfast to our hearts and minds. I believe the artworks in this exhibition provide viewers with a reprieve—a space to be dazzled, transfixed by the craft and care placed into the making of a dress formed of glass, transported through time by an object carved out of foam core, or made aware of our bodies by a painting constructed of oil, pigment and sand. This show offers much to the senses, and it is my hope that you take the time to experience it all completely.

I am grateful for the opportunity to assemble this exhibition of remarkable alumni artists that spans generations, media and lived experiences. One of the goals of this new tradition of annual alumni exhibitions is to celebrate the creative lives of CIA graduates and to support their careers through our greatest network: each other. It is my hope that Imprint the Air provides artists with a platform to engage with one another and the greater community.

I would like to express my wholehearted thanks to Emily Carol Burns for her thoughtfulness and care throughout the jurying process; the Alumni Council for their guidance and support; Director of Alumni Relations + Scholarships Alex Burrage for her help co-organizing all elements of this event and program; and Paul Sydorenko and Thomas Kassai for installing the show. I'd also like to extend a special thanks to Ulmer & Berne LLP for their generous sponsorship.

Nikki Woods
Director, Reinberger Gallery

From the Alumni Exhibition Committee

The Cleveland Institute of Art Alumni Council is proud to present the 2021 Alumni Exhibition: Imprint the Air. In 2018, the council introduced this exhibition as a community-building tradition in response to ongoing interest from alumni to have ways to show their work at CIA. The debut exhibition was a joyful event that not only highlighted art and design excellence but provided alumni with a welcome opportunity to reconnect. This year, we were especially pleased to have Emily Carol Burns select works for the show. We hope we will all be able to gathering in person again soon! 

Leslye Discont Arian ’76
Deborah Pinter ’88
Lynne Lofton ’97
Teresa Carlisle ’06
Kimberly Chapman ’17

For inquiries about Alumni Exhibition artwork sales, please contact Reinberger Gallery at
reinbergergallery@cia.edu, or (216) 421-7407.

CIA Alumni               ︎               ︎               ︎