Akron native and New York-based photographer Angelo Merendino’s exhibit The Battle We Didn’t Choose: My Wife’s Fight with Breast Cancer — a powerful photo-documentary chronicling his late wife Jennifer’s fight with breast cancer — has been relocated from the Gathering Place in Beachwood to the Convivium33 Gallery, 1433 E. 33rd St., downtown Cleveland.
The exhibit — which was more than a year in the making — opened July 13 at the Gathering Place with an anticipated 10-month run. However, five days after opening, Merendino was notified that some of the clients at the cancer support center were uncomfortable with the up-close view of cancer and the exhibit needed to be pulled.
Upon hearing what happened, management at Convivium33 intervened and opened its doors to Merendino to exhibit there.
The opening reception is 6 to 10 p.m. Friday. Gallery hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with a monthlong run.
In the wake of the Gathering Place’s decision to discontinue his photo exhibition, Angelo Merendino issued the following statement:
“Throughout Jen’s devastating diagnosis, we were fortunate to find organizations that embraced and supported us, much like the Gathering Place serves such needs in the greater Cleveland community.
“To say that I was thrilled when the organization reached out to me and extended an invitation to exhibit my work would be an understatement. I was ecstatic to take this important work to the next level and I eagerly submitted images for approval, which I received. As such, the nature and content of the exhibit should not have taken anyone off guard.
“While I can appreciate there are people who may find some of the images overwhelming and difficult to look at, I only wish that the feelings of the clientele served by the Gathering Place had been taken into consideration before I was given approval to install the exhibition. Based on the stated mission of the organization, perhaps this was not an appropriate venue to properly showcase my work. That said, it would be disappointing if the fallout from this decision resulted in negatively impacting the support of present and future donors of The Gathering Place.”
Jennifer Wise Merendino, also an Akron native, lost her breast cancer battle on Dec. 22.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org