January 20, 2022


art requires creative

Cleveland photographer Stephen Bivens remembered with new exhibitions, fellowship

5 min read

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Stephen Bivens cherished his city. You could see it in his photographs showcasing the gritty facet of Northeast Ohio landmarks, especially his own neighborhood of Collinwood.

Bivens died on June 1, 2020 at the age of 52, adhering to a temporary sickness. Now, one calendar year later on, his spouse and children, buddies and collaborators are working to preserve his legacy going with gallery showings and fellowships for aspiring youthful photographers.

“Stephen loved Cleveland and I believe Cleveland cherished Stephen,” stated Jen Bivens, Stephen’s widow. “I feel portion of the legacy that he’s still left in the Cleveland arts community is his worth of interactions and persons.”

A photo of the “Guardians of Website traffic” on Cleveland’s Hope Memorial Bridge. (Picture by Stephen Bivens)

In the earlier yr, Jennifer has created artBIV.com, a hub for site visitors to look at Stephen’s photography and invest in decide on items. All of the proceeds profit the new Stephen Bivens Memorial Fund at the Cleveland Print Home.

“I’m not looking to make any money off of his do the job, but I’m searching to allow for it to dwell, and be viewed, and continue on to impact the Cleveland local community,” Jen said.

The Cleveland Print Home lately introduced the Stephen Bivens Residency, an ongoing method that will present two photographers with cash for obtaining elements and focusing on their perform for the summer months year. The residency is paid out for in section by Stephen’s memorial fund.

Winter lake scene

Stephen Bivens frequently took pictures of Lake Erie. (Picture by Stephen Bivens)

Cleveland Print Place director Shari Wilkins claimed that naming the fellowship after Stephen was a no-brainer.

“He was so effectively-loved in the community, but effectively-liked in our local community: the Print Space, with the pupils,” Wilkins stated. “This residency is a further more collaboration with him and with Jen. It was so ideal for us, as an business, for so quite a few factors.”

Stephen’s images made a major impression in Northeast Ohio. He was awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize’s Verge Fellowship in 2018, and his “This is Collinwood” sequence gained funding from Collinwood’s Ballot Box Undertaking in 2016. He was named Twelve Literary Arts’ photographer-in-residence in 2017 and worked with the Cleveland Public Library and the Cleveland Print Room to add to the “Cleveland 20/20: A Picture Exploration of Cleveland” exhibition. His is effective were being also consistently shown all around town.

Stephen’s shots featured Cleveland surroundings, daily life and portraits of nearby individuals.

“It’s the day-to-day things folks stroll by and hardly ever give a second search,” Bivens mentioned in a 2017 cleveland.com feature by reporter Nikki Delamotte. “I preferred to display those people factors that I’ve arrive to really like and share them with men and women.”

foggy Cleveland photo

Stephen Bivens was regarded for his Cleveland pictures. (Photo by Stephen Bivens)

But there had been a good deal of shots that were being never ever shown publicly. Jen started off likely by means of Stephen’s get the job done after he died. (Many of his images showcased Jen, which the artist tagged on his Instagram with his hashtag #bivmuse.)

“He labored with film. There were surely a good deal of digital information, but actually packing containers of 35-millimeter negatives,” Jen explained. “As I like to say, Stephen was pretty prolific, but not pretty structured. I was certainly the organized a person of the two, I kept factors orderly.”

As she seemed via the pictures, Jen imagined of an exhibition.

“I just did not want to leave these in a box,” Jen reported. “They needed to be noticed.”

She arrived at out to John Farina and Adam Tully, the owners of Maria Neil Artwork Challenge in Cleveland’s Waterloo neighborhood, as nicely as good friends of hers and Stephen’s. They aided make artBIV and also arrange an exhibition of Stephen’s is effective at Maria Neil and Six Shooter Espresso, which is on perspective by August at Maria Neil (15517 Waterloo Street) and 6 Shooter (15613 Waterloo Street). Viewers can see the display by appointment and all through Waterloo’s “Walk All In excess of Waterloo” events on July 2 and Aug. 6. Six Shooter is open 7 a.m.-7 p.m., every day of the 7 days.

“I definitely desire we have been accomplishing this even though he was here, for him,” Farina claimed. “It’s a really great show. It’s a great way to existing his work… I know his existence is there, but it would have been pleasant to have him there. I know he’d be happy of it.”

The exhibition incorporates loads of Stephen’s Cleveland photographs, alongside with photographs from Tampa, Florida, exactly where he and Jen lived to be nearer to Stephen’s youngsters for the better aspect of a 10 years just before going back again to Cleveland in 2015. Many of the pictures are black-and-white, shot on film — Stephen’s preferred format.

Black-and-white photo of trees.

Trees in Medard Park, Florida. (Image by Stephen Bivens)

“We went via and looked at items from the perspectives of what would be exciting for people today to glimpse at and see in an exhibition, as perfectly as what actually signifies him in a photograph, and matters that confirmed him off as a photographer that folks didn’t definitely get a opportunity to see,” Farina reported.

Outside of his techniques as a photographer, Stephen’s warm existence and friendship experienced an impact on quite a few of the people today he fulfilled in Cleveland.

“Stephen was an amazing human being. I imagine anyone who satisfied him genuinely felt that and knew that,” Jen said. “He just had a way of generating you experience comfy and risk-free, and precious and essential, no matter whether you have been another person with a title, or irrespective of whether you ended up a college student that he was sitting down with in a classroom, serving to you master some thing.”

She additional: “I would guess that if you questioned other artists in the city what they cherished about Biv, it was just that he was Biv. That he was current and out there, and type, and a superior friend.”

Observe potential artBIV showings, gross sales and far more at artbiv.com.

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