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Cleveland Institute of Art students collaborate with Playhouse Square to display animation work

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Posted at 7:08 AM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 07:08:09-05

CLEVELAND — The 2D animation at Cleveland Institute of Art was just ranked second in the world by The Rookies. But the recognition doesn't stop here. Animation students at CIA are getting time on the big screen.

Some of the animation artwork created by students is now on display at Playhouse Square's Lumenview, a special 5-story digital display.

"We knew that this large signage installation needed some special artwork to go on it.," said Cindi Szymanski, the director of brand marketing and communications for Playhouse Square. "So this is an ongoing installation of student artwork from the Cleveland Institute of Art. They refresh it for us every so often, and we look forward to keeping the partnership going as long as possible."

The long metal, alternating aluminum wall panels create a gradual 3D effect. Three special high-definition projectors then display the artwork on the space which spans 136 feet wide and 46 feet tall. The best time to view the artwork is 30 minutes after sunset.

"I had the privilege of going through all of the best work of the different classes and then kind of selecting and highlighting projects that would be screening over Cleveland," said Anthony Scalmato, the chair of animation for CIA. "I personally love to see their work out there in the open, especially accessible to the community."

Scalmato said the projects ranged from character acting to 3-D animation and environmental animation. Students got the pick what they wanted to highlight and bring their ideas to life.

Senior CIA animation student Aiden Burkley is one of the students whose artwork is on display.

"I feel like having my artwork be a part of something I'm really inspired by and working alongside people that also have an appreciation for it in the arts is really great," Burkley said. "I am very grateful for the opportunity, and it's awesome to be involved in something that's a part of Cleveland and to be connected through that through my artwork."

Burkley said she used to be heavily involved with theater so collaborating with Playhouse Square was an honor.

"It's crazy to think that my art is that big somewhere. I always like to think it's on a little screen all the time, so it's very surreal to think that it's like 40 feet long. I am very grateful for the opportunity."

Junior CIA animation major Alasia Gordon who specializes in 3D character animation also has her work on display on Euclid Avenue.

"For me it means exposure. People that maybe aren't familiar with animation, they'll see my work, as well as other students' work," Gordon said.

The Cleveland native hopes this can lead to more growth of animation in the city.

"I'm kind of hoping that will grow the idea, like, 'hey, we can open studios here as well.' And then instead of having to travel or work remotely from like other countries, we can just stay where we are," she said.

Scalmato said CIA just recently got a major upgrade to its animation studio.

"We have all the technology that students could want everything from 2-D software to 3D software to drawing tablets," he said. "I love being in this space because you get to see just the mixture of students interacting with each other, even from outside of the major with the major, just highly collaborative space."

Both Gordon and Burkley said it's a big boost to the program.

"It's great to have them [professors] come to your computer, see your work, want to comment on it or you could just reach out to them super easily. It's great to have a constant source of critique and comments and help that you might need," Burkley said.

"It's really fun connecting with other students as well and seeing what other people are doing because then we can learn from each other," Gordon said.

Click here to learn more about CIA and its animation program.