CLEVELAND - As the weather changes for the best, community members and leaders are taking charge to change the way their city is perceived through public art. The Cleveland Planning Commission is set to review a number of public arts projects slated for downtown.
Two of those projects will be presented by the Campus District involving the third phase of their Bridge that Bridges work and a new Artstop project that seeks to convert a bus stop at 21st & Superior into an art gallery.
"In addition to adding vibrancy through aesthetic and color, we see art as a means of also connecting groups of people that wouldn't inherently be connected," said Rachel Oscar of the Campus District.
"So the Bridge that Bridges project was designed to get folks north of the freeway and south of the freeway to talk to one another," she said.
Freeways like the Innerbelt historically in cities across the country have divided neighborhoods.
"I-90 is no different, it kind of divided the institutions which are historically white from public housing which is historically black. So the bridge is used to kind of be a connection between folks."
The paintings have traditionally been about themes of unity as one big community. The new bridge art will be near the old Juvenile Justice Center off Cedar.
"In addition to painting, we do 10 full sessions of talking about race inequity in our communities," she added.
Outside art in the Campus District as a whole makes sense since it's also home to the Superior Arts District which is where the ArtStop bus shelter will go.
"We kind of estimate that we have about 100-150 working artists that live and work in our neighborhood so the more that we can bring that to the street and call attention to it the more energy and vibrancy comes to the street," Oscar said.
Mark Lammon, campus district executive director agrees.
"The more public art that we can incorporate throughout, anything whether it's a bus stop, it's a fire hydrant, a trash can I think it's vitally important it helps create that artist feel, that funky neighborhood that we're wanting to achieve," he said.
"It is growing and we want to encourage more and more artists to look at the Campus District as a potential home for them to live but also to have their studios so that when we can do that with the public realm I think it sends a message to the entire community that we are a welcoming community and a good artist community," Lammon said.