Lifeline from Cleveland

About the Artists

Lifeline is a close collaboration between the artists listed here and the Cleveland Division of Water, whose Engineers worked with us closely to devise and implement the waterfall. We also want to acknowledge Chuck Karnak, who has made the amazing lighting of the waterfall possible. Please see our acknowledgements page for a full list of the many collaborators who helped bring this entire project to light.


Kidist Getachew
Photo: Kidist Getachew

Kidist Getachew

Kidist Getachew was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  She came to the United State in 1982 and has been living and working in Cleveland since 1983.  Artist and educator, having received her MFA in Digital Arts, Kidist currently  teaches at The Cleveland Institute of Art as an adjunct faculty and spends the rest of her time working on various projects between Cleveland and her native country. Kidist’s artwork closely and poetically observes cultural and social interactions.  Kidist's video works have been exhibited in and around Cleveland since 2002 and have won her prestigious awards.

Michael Lehto Photo: Diann Mistelske

Michael Lehto

Michael Lehto works at the juncture of art, science, and technology, focusing on issues of sustainability and the environment. For the past five years, Michael has operated as a freelance multimedia programmer, designer, and artist, working with a diverse set of institutions including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Case Western Reserve University, EcoCity Cleveland, and the Cleveland Institute of Art. He has also focused on working for a number of socially-based and non-profit organizations and artists. In 2007, he was one of the featured artists at the Cleveland Ingenuity Festival of Art and Technology, where he presented a large installation work that tracked the environmental costs of long-distance food systems.

In addition to his freelance work, Michael has served as adjunct faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Art since 2007, where he teaches courses in Information Design, as well as Basic and Advanced Web Programming and Design. He also currently serves as Technical Director for the Cleveland design and technology firm Boondock Walker.

Prior to his time as a freelancer, he worked as a software engineer for a variety of high-tech institutions, including the European Aerospace Agency (Eurocopter), and NASA. He holds advanced degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science, and German, as well as a Master of Fine Art (MFA) in Digital Art.

John S. Thomas Photo: Kidist Getachew

John S. Thomas

John Thomas was born in Akron, Ohio, but spent many of his formative years living in Asia. He earned his undergraduate degree at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and has since traveled overseas extensively.

John enjoys the construction and installation of small- and large-scale project. Married to artist Kidist Getachew, he has played an integral part in the design and installation of her video art projects. John lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio.