John Farina is a busy guy. One might think that after stepping down from his role as the Board President of the beloved SPACES after an accomplishment-laden four year tenure, things might slow down. Not so much for John. Aside from his role as the Executive Director of ARTneo, the museum of Northeast Ohio art, and his continued role as a leader of the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, John will (once again) be heavily involved in the local efforts to renew the Cuyahoga County Arts & Culture Levy.
Oh, and he also managed to open an amazing gallery, Maria Neil Art Project, with his fiancé Adam Tully, right here in Collinwood, where they also own a home and have become leaders in the Waterloo Merchants Association.
“Opening our gallery in the Waterloo Arts District was a no brainer. We wanted a place to showcase Cleveland artists and we wanted to be on the front end of something great, something that we could contribute to. Collinwood is the perfect fit. It is the same reason we moved here. We have an amazing house that was very affordable and we’re just a few steps from the lake. Add in our proximity to places like the Grovewood and the Beachland and how close we are to just about everything in Cleveland and no other neighborhood comes close.”
These Artist Spotlights always include a bit of the rationale behind each individual’s drive to become a part of what’s building here in Collinwood; this spotlight will be no different. I asked John why he and Adam chose to be active members of the community here:
“No other neighborhood is more committed to making the arts such a central part of its mission. Not just on one street, but throughout the entire area, the arts are the key component that makes us stand out from the rest. Music and visual art are tapping into the energy that already exists here and as more things come online and more organization happens, it will be unstoppable. Everyone will want to be a part of it.”
If it wasn’t already clear, John is no stranger to leadership. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Bridge Builder’s Flagship Program (2002), and has additionally served on the boards of Equality Ohio, GLSEN, and NAMI. He was on the Board of Governors for the Human Rights Campaign as well as being a former board member, and was President and Interim Director of the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland. In 2014, he was the co-chair of the highly successful six-day Festival Village for the Gay Games 9, and is an active participant in many area organizations, including the Print Club of Cleveland and the Cleveland International Film Festival.
His passion is clear, as is his love and dedication to the arts, which is why he is a perfect addition to our Artist Spotlight series, but – more importantly – a fantastic member of our growing creative community here in Collinwood. For more information on just a few of the incredible things that John has been involved with, please see the links below: