Group doesn't limit art to artists
Published: Sunday, May 23, 2010
Updated: Sunday, May 23, 2010 22:05
A coalition of local artists has taken an initiative to promote local talent, give back to the community and foster the idea that creativity is not synonymous with being labeled an artist.
Cloudhaus, a Columbus-based art collective, is inviting creative individuals from various disciplines to join its crusade of fusing art and entertainment into an alternative form of community service.
"Instead of the traditional sense of an art collective, we're a group of what I'd call ‘creative professionals,'" said Jared Lindenau, a painting and drawing major at OSU, and one of the group's founding members. "We don't limit ourselves to members being just artists."
Cloudhaus formed in 2009, when Lindenau and local artist Jill Bremiller, were looking to synthesize their friends into a community that could collaborate on creative projects.
The group's members said the name is a reflection of both contemporary and historical developments that influence their workflow.
"Cloud is a buzz word right now," said Chris Hartley, a computer science and engineering major at OSU. "The content is in the Internet, it's not on somebody's computer or server, but shared information. Like the shared community we have here."
The word, haus, is an homage to the now defunct Bauhaus, a school in Germany that achieved international acclaim for its avant-garde approach in teaching fine arts and crafts.
"I thought if we're going to be an art collective, then we might as well take our name and inspiration from another great art collective," said Jerry Glendenning, 28, an active member in the group.
Cloudhaus' primary focus is to host art exhibitions, accumulate revenue and donate half of the proceeds to charities and advocacy groups, such as the Ohio Environmental Council.
The artists said it's a cycle of taking advantage of the resources given to them, and in return, giving back to the community after they have benefited.
"It's them that come out to the shows that we put on — the dances, the parties — and decide how far we go as a collective," said Glendenning, referring to public involvement.
Cloudhaus' efforts to unify Columbus' creative community have elicited positive responses from both local artists and professionals within the small-business community.
Wolf Starr, founder of Small Business Beanstalk, an organization dedicated to promoting small businesses, is one of the individuals impressed by Cloudhaus' approach in artistic expression and community involvement.
"What's amazing about Cloudhaus is that they're a collection of creatives that understand there are different kinds of ways in order to create art and express yourself," Starr said.
"They recognize that technology and science are important factors that can also be creative, and fun and important in the arts culture."
Membership within Cloudhaus fluctuates based on the number of people involved in a given project. Participants of various backgrounds are invited to choose whether they would like to exhibit individual art, work on collective projects within the group, or help set up and organize events.
"It's kind of like fight club rules here, a person can decide his or her own level of involvement," Lindenau said.
Though Cloudhaus enjoyed a debut attended by more than 800 people at a collaborative held in the South Campus Gateway, and has drawn crowds between 20 to 50 attendees at individual shows, the group still faces a challenge in getting more non-artists to become active participants in its festivities.
To counter this, Cloudhaus provides canvas, paint and other tools available for public experimentation at its events.
"We're trying to get people to explore art, who maybe don't think they're an artist or have never painted or anything. We're just trying to make fun, and raise money," said Tristan Seeger, 22, painting and drawing major at OSU.
Some of these events include art exhibits that masquerade as house parties and "Drink and Draw," where participants of a legal age can come and enjoy alcoholic beverages while exploring art with other individuals in a social atmosphere.
Cloudhaus plans to expand its collaborative efforts by working with other creative groups within the community and hosting more benefit events to promote both artistic and philanthropic ambitions.
The collective also plans to launch cloudhaus.org to provide more details about its activities in the future. The group currently organizes the majority of its events through social media networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
"At this point, we're interested in making sure everyone has a kick-ass time, doesn't have to spend much money, and just try and help out charities with all our events," Seeger said. "Yeah, we're trying to get our name out there and make our mark as artists, but we're going to do it in a way that can benefit everyone."