FRONT International
Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art


FRONT is a new art triennial coming to Cleveland in the summer of 2018. This citywide art festival will bring together internationally and regionally recognized artists, curators, and scholars for a unique and engaging experience.

The inaugural exhibition, titled An American City, proposes a new format for art triennials, and focuses on process, research, collaboration, and long- term engagement with the Northeast Ohio region via programming that includes artistic and curatorial residencies, a temporary art academy, a web- based art journal for the Midwest, museum exhibitions, site-specific artistic interventions across the city, as well as a series of solo and group exhibitions with a wide range of collaborations. FRONT will provide an expansive stage for local, national, and international artists to create and share new work that is inspired by and engaged with the most important social, political, and cultural issues of our time. The themes and ideas explored by participating artists will be rooted in the spirit of Cleveland while connecting the city’s history and current realities to issues and ideas that are universal.

FRONT has teamed up with all of Cleveland and the region’s most renowned arts and cultural institutions, making it unique in the world for the scope of its collaboration.

FRONT is organized by the FRONT Exhibition Company.



  • Fred Bidwell
    Fred Bidwell
    Executive Director

    Fred Bidwell is a philanthropist, collector, and community leader. After a 35-year career as an advertising and marketing entrepreneur, in 2011 he and his wife established the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation. In 2013, the Bidwell Foundation opened Transformer Station, a contemporary art exhibition space on Cleveland’s West Side. Transformer Station alternates between acting as a venue for exhibitions curated by the Bidwells from their renowned collection of photo-based contemporary art and as a venue for exhibitions organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art. Fred Bidwell serves on the board of the Cleveland Museum of Art and on the Visiting Committee of the Allen Memorial Art Museum.

  • Michelle Grabner
    Michelle Grabner
    Artistic Director

    Michelle Grabner is a celebrated American painter and conceptual artist. Her work is in the collections of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Milwaukee Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; DaimlerChrysler Collection, Berlin; Mudam Luxembourg; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. In November 2012, Grabner was selected as one of three curators to organize the 2014 Whitney Biennial in New York. She recently curated the 2016 Portland Biennial, a statewide exhibition in Oregon. Grabner is the Crown Family Professor in Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. With her husband, Brad Killam, she co-directs the project spaces The Suburban, in Milwaukee, and the Poor Farm, in Little Wolf, Wisconsin. Michelle Grabner serves on the board of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

  • Jens Hoffmann
    Jens Hoffmann
    Artistic Director

    Jens Hoffmann is an exhibition maker, writer, educator and editor based in New York, Milan and Detroit. From 2012 to 2017 he was deputy director of the Jewish Museum in New York, where he currently works as director of exhibitions and public programs. He has been Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit since 2012 and a curator and senior adviser for the KADIST Art Foundation in San Francisco and Paris since 2008. In 2017 he was appointed curator for Fundación Arte in Buenos Aires. Formerly director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, and director of exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, Hoffmann has curated and co-curated more than five dozen exhibitions around the world, including the 9th Shanghai Biennale, the 12th Istanbul Biennial and the 2nd San Juan Triennial. He is the founding editor of The Exhibitionist: Journal on Exhibition Making and editor-at-large of Mousse magazine. Since 2003, Hoffmann has been adjunct professor at the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan and was associate professor at the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts in San Francisco (2006–2012). A frequent contributor to art magazines such as Frieze and Artforum, he has written more than 250 essays for exhibition catalogs and museum publications worldwide. In 2016, Hoffmann received the Award for Curatorial Excellence from the American Association of Art Museum Curators Foundation.


Exhibition Director
  • Jamie Hardis
Associate Curator
  • Lisa Kurzner
Director of Public Programs and Engagement
  • Arlene Watson
Project Management
  • Caitie Moore
  • Joe Lanzilotta
  • Greg Peckham
  • Deanna Palermo
  • Sarah Siebert
Finance and Accounting
  • Rita Tersigni
Chair of Local Artistic Advisory Board
  • Liz Maugans


  • Fred Bidwell Executive Director
  • James Cohan
  • Joanne R. Cohen
  • Sarah S. Cutler
  • Toby Devan Lewis
  • Helen Forbes-Fields Chair
  • Howard Freedman
  • Ann Hamilton
  • Michelle Jeschelnig Vice Chair
  • Donna M. Kohl
  • Jan Lewis
  • Scott Mueller Vice Chair
  • August A. Napoli Jr.
  • Jon J. Pinney Secretary & Treasurer
  • Deborah Ratner
  • Richard S. Rogers
  • Charna E. Sherman
  • Dan P. Walsh Jr


Founding Patrons

  • Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell
  • Sandy and Sally Cutler
  • Agnes Gund
  • Richard and Michelle Jeschelnig
  • Donna M. and Stewart Kohl
  • Toby Devan Lewis
  • Jan Lewis
  • Scott Mueller


$100,000 – 500,000

  • Cleveland Foundation
  • The George Gund Foundation
  • The Eric and Jane Nord Family Fund
  • PNC Bank

$50,000 – 100,000

  • The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation
  • The Richard and Alita Rogers Family Foundation

$10,000 – 50,000

  • The Falk Brothers Fund
  • Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
  • Ohio Arts Council
  • Edward Hemmelgarn and Janice L. Hammond Ph.D
  • Howard Freedman and Rita Montlack
  • Jon and Meg Ratner
  • Harriet Warm and Dick Blum

$1,000 – 10,000

  • Irad and Rebecca Carmi
  • Samuel B. Freedman and Marian K. Freedman Fund
  • Erica Hartman-Horvitz and Richard Horvitz Foundation
  • H. Ross-Lowenstein and Irwin Lowenstein Philanthropic Fund
  • Steven R. & Trudy Z. Wiesenberger Philanthropic Fund

$100 – 1000

  • Kristine E. Bryan
  • Giancarlo Calicchia
  • David Ream
  • Diane Schwartz


Cleveland FoundationGeorge Gund Foundation

Presenting Partners

FRONT is a collaborative undertaking made possible through the efforts of the following Presenting Partners. Each partner will contribute exhibition and a programming resources to An American City during the summer of 2018, presenting their own chapter of a holistic curatorial story.