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December 18, 2011

Storefront Art 2.0

If you have visited this blog before, you know it all started when I applied for a grant to beautify my neighborhood. One of my pet projects is working with other non-profits to beautify abandoned storefronts throughout the city of Cleveland.

Last February, I heard a story about Cleveland Storefront Art on WCPN-90.3. The organization works with local artists to place art in empty storefronts. They were talking about the work they were doing, placing art in The Galleria at Erieview.

Since the abandoned-building-artwork-connection was something I had experimented with in Old Brooklyn back in 2009, I was hoping there was room for some collaboration.

I e-mailed Joan Smith and Robert Carillio, who head up the Cleveland Storefront project. They mentioned that they were always looking for art to use. Since I had a stockpile of re-usable art, we soon put into motion some ideas for local use.

First, I worked with Gloria Ferris and Sharon Martin, who are involved with the Brooklyn Centre Naturalists in Brooklyn Centre. They used some of the art during the Pop Up Pearl Event, which was held in Old Brooklyn just before Memorial Day. Then, I met up with Ofelia Bernstein, an interior designer in Westlake, who was offering to decorate a storefront at the Galleria. I dropped off a pile full of recycled art and let her pick and choose what she needed so she could go to town on a design.

Her results were fantastic. They just sent me an e-mail with some Flickr photos, so be sure to check them out.

And Speaking of Art ...

Kudos to my colleague Richey Piiparinen, research assistant over at the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve. His public art project has helped turn tragedy into something special over in Detroit Shoreway.

So What Else Did I Forget to Blog About?

- The work with Friends of Big Creek continues. In addition to attending a spring fundraiser and working the booth during Earthfest at the Zoo, I stopped by for a day to work on a home they were fixing up in North Royalton. The home was donated so they could fix it up, sell it and use the proceeds to continue their mission of conserving the Big Creek watershed and existing greenways.

I Know. It's Almost Winter Already!

Still, it was a wonderful summer in Cleveland, Akron and Northeast Ohio and I just wanted to blog a little about that. There was Pedal for Prizes/Pop-Up Pearl, Fireworks at Loew Park, the Taste of Tremont, music at Cropicana, Wade Oval Wednesdays, Polish and Ukrainian festivals in Tremont and Parma, the Romanian Festival in Lakewood, and the list goes on.

Just before school began, the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning hosted a service day for the Class of 2015. New students (many of who had never seen Cleveland before) went out into the streets to landscape, repair, organize and paint.

Thanks to the efforts of CCEL Director Elizabeth Banks and Angela Lowery, they were able to organize a successful event near my neighborhood. The two connected with Johanna Hamm, the executive assistant to Ward 14 Councilman Brian Cummings, and sent 14 students out to clean up an apartment building on Denison Av. Johanna wrote: "The building was so overgrown you could barely see it. With their help we were able to take out half of a retaining wall and the majority of the bushes. We offered anyone to contact us if they wanted to see pictures of the final product. Some wanted to come back and help us finish!

I am proud that our students are so engaged in the Cleveland community. This is the reason so many of them have decided to stay, because they make such an impact on where they live.

Posted by mcd34 at December 18, 2011 01:28 PM

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