2018 Triennial Archive

Canvas City

Sarah Morris, One Can’t Be Aggressive and Think, 2018. Design proposal. Courtesy the artist and Petzel Gallery, New York.


The first phase of the ground-breaking civic art project City Canvases occurred in 1973, when ten massive murals were designed and executed in downtown Cleveland featuring compositions by Ray Domingo, Mort Epstein, Joe Hruby, Edwin Mieczkowski, John Morrell, Elijah Shaw, Phyllis Sloane, Julian Stanczak, Susan Todys, and Jody Trivison, the imagery in City Canvases ranged from Pop art subjects such as electrical outlets to hard-edge optical abstraction.

An American City continues the large-scale civic discourse set into motion by City Canvases forty-five years ago with Canvas City, a contemporary mural project involving several architectural planes in downtown Cleveland. Extending beyond the time frame of the 2018 exhibition with ongoing mural commissions, Canvas City will continue into future presentations of FRONT International.

A direct bridge between City Canvases and Canvas
City is the re-creation of Julian Stanczak’s abstract mural on the Carter Manor building on Prospect Avenue. Stanczak’s surviving sketches and color swatches from the original mural design were the basis for this iteration of his monumental vertical composition.

Stanczak’s mural stands in context with contemporary mural designs by artists Kay Rosen, Odili Donald Odita, Sarah Morris, and Heimo Zobernig.


Experience all of the murals on the free VR FRONT Canvas City app. Developed by the CMA’s Digital Innovation and Technology Services team. Click here to download the app.


Canvas City is made possible with major funding by The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation. The project is sponsored by Sherwin-Williams with additional support by the John P. Murphy Foundation.