“Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows”: FRONT International’s 2022 art exhibition


Courtesy of FRONT

“Never Ending Monument” by Andrea Carlson stands on display at one of FRONT International’s exhibits.

Sarah Karkoff, Staff Writer

The FRONT International contemporary art exhibition, which started in 2018, is currently running their 2022 showcase entitled “Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows.” Every three years, this free public show is held throughout Akron, Cleveland and Oberlin. 

The previous exhibition, titled “An American City,” brought forth notable works of art to Cleveland, including the “Judy’s Hand” sculpture near the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa). More than 90,000 unique visitors explored the widespread demonstration of performances, films, artist commissions and public programs. As a result of this endeavor, FRONT International generated approximately $31 million in revenue for the areas where the showcase took place. 

These pieces of art and performances are available for the public until Oct. 2. There are more than 20 venue sites containing works by 70 different artists; some areas around campus participating in the event are the Cleveland Clinic, Wade Oval, the Cleveland Institute of Art, Samson Pavilion at the Health Education Campus and more. Each venue has its own specific days and times when the exhibition can be viewed. 

Prem Krishnamurthy and Tina Kukielski are the co-artistic directors behind the project. To summarize the purpose behind this year’s exhibition, they stated in a press release that the “exhibition bears witness to the region’s past and present scars, from the environmental degradation caused by industrial production to police violence and urban fracture … ‘Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows’ emphasizes collaborative creative processes, working closely with institutions across the region, and connecting artists with local communities.” 

The mission behind FRONT International is to bolster local artists and to develop a sense of community within Northeast Ohio. They hope to engender positive socioeconomic change by enhancing the artistic and cultural community. After the COVID-19 pandemic caused the delay of this exhibition from its original 2021 release, the directors intimately understood the need for a communitarian approach in the face of widespread social upheaval and suffering. 

The title of the project itself is a nod to the Langston Hughes poem “Two Somewhat Different Epigrams.” Hughes, who is perhaps most famous for his poem “Harlem,” lived in Cleveland for many years. The poem itself is a rumination on the relationship between happiness and hardship. According to their website, “Amid a time of ongoing tragedy and loss, FRONT 2022 explores how artmaking offers the possibility to transform and heal us—as individuals, as groups, and as a society.”

In bringing the community together, FRONT International’s main goal is to help underserved areas of Northeast Ohio. One way they are attempting to bring this to life is through partnering with the Cleveland Public Library to create the FRONT Fellowship. Currently, there are over 290 FRONT-related programs with the explicit objective of supporting the community and its education. 

For Case Western Reserve University members looking for something new to do in the area, any of the venues hosting exhibitions may be a worthwhile visit. All of the specific locations and times are available on their website, frontart.org, along with detailed information regarding each venue.