The Cuyahoga Valley Art Center (CVAC), founded in 1934, is a non-profit  visual arts organization. They advocates for a greater understanding of the visual arts through the promotion of art education, exhibition and community engagement. They are supported by memberships, grantors, women’s auxiliary, class registrations, art shows, and workshops.

Our Mission Statement

MISSION STATEMENT:

Cuyahoga Valley Art Center, a non-profit visual arts organization, advocates for a greater understanding of the visual arts through the promotion of art education, exhibition and community engagement.

VISION STATEMENT:

Cuyahoga Valley Art Center envisions a sustainable, supported, and supportive environment where artistic excellence, creative spirit, and collaborative community engagement build synergy to enhance the quality of life in Northeast Ohio.

CORE VALUES:

Artistic Excellence

We believe that the full expression of creativity is a key element in the development of successful and productive individuals who make meaningful contributions to the quality of life and sustainability of our community.

Civic Engagement

We believe that we can engage the local community in artistic creation and appreciation through networking and collaboration.

Opportunity

We believe that the provision of opportunities for our members, neighbors and patrons to teach, learn, practice, exhibit and market their art is a responsibility that we, as a non-profit art organization, owe to our community.

Organization History

In 1934, a group of women came together and founded The Arts and Crafts Club. Their first painting classes were held on Cook Street in Cuyahoga Falls, taught by a Cleveland School of Art instructor Sonder Vago. They quickly out grew this location and would continue to outgrow many others. With entire country suffering from the Great Depression, art classes within the public-school system were suspended. Recognizing the need for a community-oriented art center, supporters decided to alter the clubs’ focus.  They met with representatives from the Falls Board of Trade and the Superintendent of the Falls School System and to reorganize. In 1937, the name was changed to the Cuyahoga Falls Art Institute and their mission was to develop art appreciation within the community through classes and exhibitions for adults and children.

The M. O’Neil Company donated a piano and the Institute broadened its scope. Offering community classes in art, piano, voice and dancing the institute became a center for instruction as well as lectures and social affairs.  During the 1940’s the Institute relocated and changed its name several times however, its focus as being a community-oriented art center stayed the same. It was not until 1959 that the name Cuyahoga Valley Art Center (CVAC) was adopted.

CVAC was founded as a membership driven organization, supported by its members and its Women’s Auxiliary, which formed in 1960. Through the efforts of countless volunteers, CVAC supported their main objective; to promote an active interest in fine and applied art, to develop and strengthen art appreciation by maintaining a center and meeting place where qualified instruction in the arts and related crafts will be available to all interested persons, and to conduct and participate in shows, exhibitions and contests relating to art in all its media. CVAC purchased the building at 2131 Front Street in 1987 with aid from the Women’s Auxiliary.  The building purchase gave the center a permanent home with 3000 square feet of main gallery and much needed classroom space and multiple levels.

It was not until 2016 that CVAC hired their first full-time Executive Director, Danielle Dieterich, and transition from being membership governed to a board governed organization. CVAC now focuses exclusively in the visual arts, hosting upwards to 80 classes, 35 workshops and 10 exhibitions per year for all ages. For 85 years, CVAC has been the cultural destination within Cuyahoga Falls, OH. And they continue to advocate for a greater understanding of the visual arts through the promotion of art education, exhibition and community engagement.

Extended Version:

On November 19, 1934, Mrs. Virginia Hudson Clarke, Ms Hallie Soleleather, Mrs. Arion Shaffer, Mrs. Joe Reager, and Mrs. N.G. Rongone founded The Arts and Crafts Club. At their original meeting place on Cook Street in Cuyahoga Falls, They held their first painting class. The instructor was Medford D. Nehr a student of noted Cleveland painter Sonder Vago.  By the end of 1936, the group had outgrown the original Cook Street location. In March 1937 the club relocated to the Apollo Building on the corner of Front Street and Portage Trail. With entire country suffering from the Great Depression, art classes in the Public School System were suspended. Recognizing the need for a community oriented art center, supporters decided to alter the clubs’ focus.

With support from the Falls Board of Trade and through the efforts of Laura Vaughn, I. Schoner and Gilbert Roberts, Superintendent of the Falls School System, they reorganized. The name was changed to the Cuyahoga Falls Art Institute and their mission was to develop art appreciation within the community through classes and exhibitions for adults and children.  In February 1939, the institute relocated to the Plum Building on Portage Trail.  The building was then owned by Mrs. H.M. Hagalbarger of Silver Lake, Ohio and consisted of nine rooms. The first floor served as gallery and workshops while the second floor was subleased to defray expenses. The M. O’Neil Company donated a piano and the Institute broadened its scope. Offering community classes in art, piano, voice and dancing the institute became a center for instruction as well as lectures and social affairs.  During the 1940’s the Institute relocated and changed its name several times. The first move was to the Schoner Building at Front and Board Boulevard where it operated as the Art and Study League. In 1945, the name was changed to the Falls Civic Art Center.  In 1946, the center moved to N. Front Street and changed their name to The Falls Art Center.

In 1959 the name changed once more and the center moved to the second floor at 1886 Front Street. Thus was born today’s Cuyahoga Valley Art Center (CVAC), with a new identify and location Patsy Sigler, Joe Ferriot, Larry Quackenbush, Marc Moon, and other artists seized the opportunity to reorganize and reestablish the centers’ purpose and goals.

Membership Chairman Patsy Sigler led a successful drive for new members. After which, several individuals brought together by the effort organized the Women’s Auxiliary of the CVAC. Their purpose would be to help promote the activities of the art center, to conduct fund raising projects, to provide financial aid to the center, to provide scholarships to talented students, and to assist in membership drives. Patsy Sigler was elected as the first President.

For more than 59 years, The Women’s Auxiliary Board has provided essential support and assistance to the center. Through their efforts and those of countless volunteers, the staff has been able to focus on pursuing their main objectives; to promote an active interest in fine and applied art, to develop and strengthen art appreciation by maintaining a center and meeting place where qualified instruction in the arts and related crafts will be available to all interested persons, and to conduct and participate in shows, exhibitions and contests relating to art in all its media. The Cuyahoga Valley Art Center purchased the building at 2131 Front Street in 1987 with aid from the Women’s Auxiliary.  The building purchase gave the center a permanent home with 3000 square feet of main gallery and much needed classroom space and multiple levels.

It was not until 2016 that CVAC hired their first full-time Executive Director, Danielle Dieterich, and transition from being membership governed to a board governed organization. CVAC now focuses exclusively in the visual arts, hosting upwards to 80 classes, 35 workshops and 10 exhibitions per year for all ages. For 85 years, CVAC has been the cultural destination within Cuyahoga Falls, OH. And they continue to advocate for a greater understanding of the visual arts through the promotion of art education, exhibition and community engagement.

2019 Benefactors:

Pegs Foundation

Beatrice K. McDowell Family Fund

Sisler McFawn Foundation

Collide: Cuyahoga Falls

CVAC Women’s Auxiliary

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