CMA kicks off Third Thursdays series this week at Transformer Station

The Cleveland Museum of Art will launch a new season of its popular Third Thursdays series this Thursday, June 20 at its newest venue, the Transformer Station in Hingetown.

The series, which runs on the third Thursday of the month through August 15, features a mix of live local music and conversation with artists curated and hosted by Ideastream Public Media radio personalities.

Third ThursdaysThird Thursdays“It's exciting to work with the museum to showcase talented musicians who call Northeast Ohio home, says Carrie Wise, Ideastream deputy editor of arts & culture. “We're also looking forward to sharing with the public what it's like to sit in on an interview with Ideastream's music experts across these diverse genres.”

This first event in the series this week will feature Talons’ and Ideastream’s Amanda Rabinowitz, host of the “Shuffle” podcast and WKSU’s “All Things Considered,” will lead an in-depth interview with the group. Rabinowitz and Talons’ will discuss the group’s regionally inspired records—from the stylistic approach combining acoustic instruments with field recordings to the band’s lyrical references to Taco Bell and the television series “Breaking Bad.”

CMA director of performing arts Gabe Pollack promises the Third Thursdays premier will be an evening of musical performances and conversations you don’t want to miss.

"The Transformer Station gives CMA an opportunity to highlight and engage with local and regional talent in a new, intimate setting,” he says. “Partnering with Ideastream, an organization that does a great job amplifying the local scene, and allowing their staff to curate acts, is an exciting way to invite the community to be a part of the space.”

The original 1924 transformer station was one of 16 substations that managed Cleveland’s public transit in the early 20th Century. The facility converted power for the Detroit Avenue streetcar line—an active corridor that carried 19 million riders during its peak years. 

In 1949 the City of Cleveland auctioned the building and from the early 1980s until 2010, it housed an artist’s foundry.

Art collectors Fred and Laura Bidwell bought the transformer station in 2011 and made renovations and added a contemporary addition—all the while ensuring that the original space, masonry, and ironwork were restored and maintained with historical integrity.

Since 2013, CMA and the Bidwells have partnered on critically acclaimed exhibitions, such as New Histories, New Futures and FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, to offer fresh, engaging programming outside of University Circle. CMA acquired the building in 2023, after 10 years working partnership with the Bidwells.

The June 20 Third Thursdays event is sold out. Upcoming series events include Bill O’Connell and Opus 216 on Thursday, July 18 and Dan Polletta and Aidan Plank with Pulse Quartet on Thursday, Aug. 15. The events are free and open to all ages, but a ticket is required.