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April 02, 2024

Cleveland Institute of Art students partner with Progressive Art Collection to exhibit Ready, Set, Relay!

Among the Progressive Art Collection works featured in Ready, Set, Relay! will be Jon Kessler's "Hall of Birds" (1995-1996; painted aluminum; dimensions variable). Artwork image courtesy of the Progressive Art Collection.

This group show highlights CIA students' creativity while offering the public a rare opportunity to view the Progressive Art Collection.


April 2, 2024

CLEVELAND—Seventeen students from the Cleveland Institute of Art are eager to present Ready, Set, Relay!, a multidisciplinary, student-curated exhibition celebrating the legacy of artworks in the Progressive Art Collection.

The work in Ready, Set, Relay! will continue the meaningful conversations started by notable artists within Progressive Insurance®’s art collection. Students spent the semester researching artists' work from the Progressive Art Collection and created new artworks in response. These responses will bring fresh perspectives to the historic artworks at Progressive.

The students' work will celebrate the collection's mission to push the boundaries of innovation while provoking critical thought and conversation about the times we live in. This exhibition will serve to commemorate the legacy of these prominent pieces in the Progressive Art Collection as they enter a transitional phase with the closing of Progressive's Campus One and the relocation of the works to a newly renovated Campus Two.

Ready, Set, Relay! will be on view from April 19 through September 6 at Progressive's Campus One at 6300 Wilson Mills Road in Mayfield Village, Ohio. An opening reception will be held from 6:00 to 9:00 pm on Friday, April 19. To attend the opening or visit the exhibition, attendees must RSVP using this link or visit

Artwork in Ready, Set, Relay! will range from drawings, paintings and sculptures to photography, fiber art and digital media—all created by CIA juniors. In addition to making their work, students managed all facets of the organization of this exhibition, including curatorial positions, creating all marketing materials, producing a companion website, writing all didactics and installing the exhibition.

"The students' perspectives provide additional vitality to the historic and timeless pieces in our collection," says Morgan Hughes, Progressive Art Collection Registrar. "The dedication these students have demonstrated to understanding the art and artists that came before them has been impressive. The new response artworks the students will create will undoubtedly be vibrant, earned and revealing. At its heart, this exhibition is a conversation between artist and artist, established and emerging."

Participating CIA artists: Jamie Brinker, Julissa Bruno, Madison Cantrell, Lucy Dietrich, Emily Fontana, Agi Kasapi, Chloe Newcomer, Arianna Papai, Gwen Putz, Lilly Ross, Jazzee Rozier, Natalie Russell, Kaylee Ryan, James Schaffer, Cora Terrion, Casey Wehrman and Nola Williams-Riseng.

Progressive Art Collection artists: Larry Bell, Petah Coyne, Valerie Hegarty, James Hyde, Jon Kessler, Joseph Kosuth, Kerry James Marshall, Bradley McCallum & Jacqueline Tarry, Vik Muniz, Todd Pavlisko, Doris Salcedo, Jennifer Steinkamp, Beverly Semmes, Felice Varini, Kara Walker and Andy Yoder. Yoder is a 1982 graduate of CIA.

To learn more about the partnership and exhibition, please follow students' progress on Instagram at @ReadySetRelay.

Ready, Set, Relay! is the capstone exhibition from CIA's The Role of the Artist as Producer course taught by Sarah Kabot and Amber Kempthorn. Students majoring in Drawing, Illustration, Painting, Printmaking and Sculpture + Expanded Media curate and develop a group exhibition that embodies the work within an artist's professional practice. Students collaboratively execute this project while practicing professionalism and gaining knowledge useful to working artists. The experience also exposes the students and their work to Cleveland’s arts community.

Cleveland Institute of Art
Michael C. Butz, Director of College Communications + External Relations / 216.421.7404

Progressive Insurance
Ron Davis, Public Relations / 440.395.0451

The Cleveland Institute of Art is a private, nonprofit college of art and design that has been the training ground for countless students who have gone on to make important contributions to the fields of creativity and innovation since it opened in 1882 as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women. Its students have designed internationally recognized products, their artwork has been exhibited in major museums and private collections around the world, and their entertainment media has been enjoyed by audiences and game players for generations. It enrolls about 600 students nationally and internationally and has a faculty of about 100 full-time and adjunct members, all of whom are practicing artists, designers and scholars.

When Peter Lewis unveiled the new Progressive Insurance corporate headquarters in 1974, he envisioned a unique, modern space that reflected the creative and innovative culture of the company. To achieve that vision, he purchased a few pieces of original, contemporary art to display throughout the building. He saw this not only as a way to energize the workspace, but also as an opportunity to provoke passionate discussion – and to foster a culture of Risk, Learn, Grow.

As the company grew in scale, so did the collection. From Peter’s original “works-on-paper” collection of 30 photographs, prints, and drawings, Progressive flourished over the decades, into a world-class collection of more than 10,000 contemporary artworks, including sculptures, paintings, photography, and new media. As diverse as it is vast, the collection features more than 2,000 contemporary artists from 70 different countries.

For years, thousands of Progressive employees, their friends and families, and the public have engaged with the collection – both in-person and virtually – through tours, seminars, artist talks, exhibitions, and team activities.

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