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October 27, 2014

CIA honors ceramics Prof. Judith Salomon; long-serving board member Gary Johnson

Contact: Ann McGuire
Director of Communications


CLEVELAND (OH) – The Cleveland Institute of Art bestowed its highest honors on accomplished ceramicist and Professor Judith Salomon and long-serving board leader Gary R. Johnson.

CIA President Grafton J. Nunes presented Salomon with CIA’s Award for Artistic Achievement and Johnson with its Award for Service at a private event for CIA supporters on Oct. 24. Together, the awards recognize those who have made significant contributions to the arts through their own artistic pursuits or through their exceptional service and philanthropy.

“We are honored to have this opportunity to recognize Judith and Gary for their considerable contributions to CIA and to arts and culture more broadly,” said Nunes. “Judith’s ceramic pieces are in collections and galleries around the world and she has devoted 37 years to teaching CIA students. Gary provided wise leadership through a transformative period at CIA. These two people are very deserving of this recognition.”

Award for Artistic Achievement: Judith Salomon

CIA’s Award for Artistic Achievement honors individuals with strong connections to the Institute who have made a significant contribution to the visual arts locally, nationally, or internationally by producing a substantial and noteworthy body of work. Recipients must demonstrate a highly developed sense of creativity, have advanced the quality of their profession through their work, be role models for aspiring artists or designers, and have contributed to advancing their art form.

“Judith certainly fits the criteria for this award,” said Nunes. “The quality of her work has been affirmed by high-profile collectors and she has advanced her field by lecturing across the country and in Japan and through her inclusion in nearly 30 books and journal articles. She has modeled professional practices for hundreds of CIA students over the years.”

Salomon has taught in, and intermittently chaired, CIA’s Ceramics Department since shortly after earning a master of fine arts degree from The New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University in 1977. Prior to that, she earned a bachelor of fine arts degree at the School for American Craftsman, Rochester Institute of Technology where she had the opportunity to spend her junior year at the prestigious Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina.

Her ceramic artwork is in the following pubic collections: Victoria and Albert Museum, London; George R. Gardiner Museum, Toronto; National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan; Manchester City Arts Galleries, Manchester, England; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina; Los Angeles County Art Museum; and the Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin. In Northeast Ohio, her work is in the collections of Cleveland Museum of Art, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, and two law firms: Hahn-Loeser and Parks, and Squire Sanders.

Salomon has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant, two Ohio Arts Council artist fellowships, a Cleveland Arts Prize, CIA’s Victor Schreckengost Teaching Award and its Joseph Motto Chair. She and her husband, Jerome Weiss, live in Shaker Heights.

Award for Service: Gary R. Johnson

CIA’s Award for Service honors individuals and organizations that have supported and advanced art and design at the Institute through their financial contributions, leadership, and advocacy. Recipients have distinguished themselves through long-time effective service as CIA board members, philanthropists, or advocates for CIA; and have advanced the quality of and appreciation for the visual arts through their support and professional contributions.

A Northeast Ohio resident for more than 30 years, Johnson is a successful technology entrepreneur who balanced his business life with significant community commitments. He was elected to the CIA board in 1992 and immediately became chair of the finance committee, a member of the executive committee, and vice chair of the board. In 2005 he was elected chair of CIA’s board and served in that capacity for more than seven years. In 2012 he was given the honorary title director emeriti.

During his tenure as board chair, CIA launched the conversion from a five-year to a four-year undergraduate curriculum, as well as the campus unification project and capital campaign to fund it. He was active in two presidential searches, chairing the committee that brought Nunes to CIA.

“Gary played a crucial role in shepherding huge transitions at CIA,” said Nunes. “We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for his dedication and leadership.”

Beyond CIA, Johnson’s involvement in the Northeast Ohio community has included leadership roles at Cleveland Council on World Affairs, Greater Cleveland Partnership, World Trade Center Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County Blue Ribbon Economic Development Task Force, and the Mayor’s International Advisory Committee. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in industrial administration, both from Purdue University. He and his wife, Brenda Ashley, a past president of the Cleveland Art Association (CARTA), now split their time between Chicago and the Indiana Dunes lakeshore.

This year, the award recipients will receive works of glass art created by Marc Petrovic, chair of the CIA’s Glass Department. Petrovic is an internationally renowned artist with works in significant museum and gallery collections in the U.S. and abroad.

The Cleveland Institute of Art is located at 11141 East Boulevard. For directions or other information, please visit or call 216-421-7407.

About CIA

Founded in 1882, the Cleveland Institute of Art is an accredited, independent college of art and design offering 15 majors in studio art, digital art, craft disciplines, and design. CIA extends its learning opportunities to the public through gallery exhibitions; lectures; a robust continuing education program; and the Cinematheque, a year-round art and independent film festival. CIA’s public programming is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. For more information visit


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