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The Transformer Station was built in 1924, and is one of sixteen substations built by Cleveland’s one-time private transit provider, the Cleveland Railway Company. The substation converted power for the Detroit Avenue Streetcar Line, which carried 19 million riders annually at its peak.
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The original building was constructed around a massive crane, built in Cleveland by the Armington Steel Company and rated to lift 15 tons. The building was used as a transformer station until 1949, when the City of Cleveland offered it for auction. From the early 1980s until 2010, it housed an art foundry.

Process Creative Studio, an Ohio City-based architectural firm has led the renovation of the original building, while enhancing and expanding it with an innovative contemporary addition.
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The addition upgrades the facility for the storage and presentation of art at museum-quality standards and environmental conditions, provides improved public access and creates a flexible multi-purpose creative space for artists and the community. The nearly 8,000 square foot facility will feature approximately 3,500 square feet of gallery space for display of painting, photography, sculpture, video and digital media. A catering kitchen supports events, concerts and lectures and the offices and library for the Bidwell Foundation are located on the second floor of the building.

The Transformer Station is owned and operated by the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation in order to share work from the Bidwell collection and to inspire creativity and innovation in our community. The Bidwell Foundation has agreed to loan the facility for six months of every year to the Cleveland Museum of Art which will develop original contemporary art exhibitions as an extension of its programming in its home on University Circle.