Starting out as a college sculpture major, Grace Chin moved in her career from development professional to arts manager, practicing artist, business owner and now, executive director of The Sculpture Center in Cleveland.
She took the place of former executive director Ann Albano, who retired, this past July. Chin holds a bachelor’s degree in studio art/sculpture from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., and a master’s of arts administration from Columbia University in New York City. She also owns and manages a business, designing jewelry collections that have been presented in nationally recognized craft galleries and juried art exhibitions.
Chin told Canvas about her new role, The Sculpture Center’s Revealed exhibitions highlighting emerging artists and what’s next.
What attracted you to leading The Sculpture Center?
I was a sculpture major at Dartmouth College, but I found it difficult to continue making work due to limiting factors such as finding space, equipment and facilities to work. I knew I always wanted to support artists through nonprofit arts institutions. The fact that I now run a well-regarded arts organization in Cleveland that exhibits the work of early- and mid-career artists gives me cause to celebrate when I wake up each morning.
What were you doing prior to working at The Sculpture Center?
I created my own jewelry business, Grace Chin Design, where I designed, made and produced my own silver and gold collections for galleries and juried art shows. I also made a separate line of work that was more bold and less wearable. Being an artist in this way allowed me to embed myself into the supportive scene of artists, visionaries and arts institutions large and small in Cleveland.
You began the role in July. To what extent were the Revealed exhibits in the works at that point, and what was your hands-on role?
The Revealed Series is a keystone program of The Sculpture Center, where a diverse exhibition committee awards four to six early career artists a solo exhibition. This series was formerly called W2S, but in the fall after I arrived, the committee voted to change the name of the series to Revealed. W2S sounded like insider information or a strange reinvention of Y2K. The incredibly talented Revealed artists were selected by the committee in January 2019 before I arrived on the scene, but now I get to reap the benefits of seeing their work go up in the galleries.
Do you have any favorite pieces in or aspects of the exhibits?
The experience is pure risk taking for both the artists who lay their work in a dedicated space and the visitors who come to see something unknown but strikingly thoughtful.
Any goals/plans for The Sculpture Center in 2020 you’d like to share?
New for 2020-2021: The Revealed Series will be split throughout the year and each artist will be exhibited side-by-side with a more established mid-career artist. The aim is to contextualize what is happening in the ever-expanding ocean of art. In 2021, we are planning to create something exciting in multiple places outdoors in the city, but I cannot reveal any more.
Revealed exhibitions “Sitting Flesh” by Nate Ricciuto and “Sink In” by Lisa Walcott will be on view through March 13. Two new “Revealed” exhibitons will open March 27.