Beginning next week, the employees at Bloom Bakery
at the 200 Public Square location will tap into their creative juices to paint a 10-foot by 10-foot mural on the walls of the café.
Aiming to connect the arts with business, the project is a joint endeavor between Towards Employment
, the non-profit organization dedicated to helping low income and disadvantaged adults achieve self-sufficiency through employment, the founder of Bloom and Negative Space Gallery
executive director Gadi Zamir.
“We always wanted to do something with the space and tie in art,” explains Bloom general manager Logan Fahey. “This fits with our mission and uses art to represent what the business stands for. Through this mural, employees will be able to gain exposure to the artistic community and help create an artistic expression that is ingrained in Bloom.”
Five Bloom employees, all of whom recently came out of incarceration and are graduates of Towards Employment, volunteered to be involved in the project. Bloom employs 18 at its two locations, 16 of which are Towards Employment graduates.
“Everything we do is about providing opportunities to our graduates and employees,” says Fahey. “We want this mural to be emblematic of our commitment to providing training and employment opportunities to those with barriers.”
The mural is inspired by the painting “Purple Haze” by local artist James March
, who specializes in abstract works.
Zamir, who is also an artist
, will sketch the mural on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 8 and 9. The employees will begin painting it on Monday, Dec. 12. Zamir will help the employees through the process, then touch up the mural when it is complete.
Fahey says Towards Employment began talking with Zamir a few months ago about how to motivate the organization’s graduates through the arts. “He really has a passion for helping people with barriers to employment,” Fahey says. “He is an artist who was willing to open up to our graduates and let them into his studio.”
More than 6,000 people in Cuyahoga County are released from state prison each year, according to Towards Employment. The organization helps more than 500 of them with finding jobs. The organization helps a total of 2,000 people yearly in Cuyahoga County with its various programs.
Bloom Bakery plans two additional murals next year. Fahey says a second mural will be painted in the upstairs area of the Public Square location during the first quarter of 2017, while a mural at the Cleveland State University
location – in collaboration with CSU students – is planned for next spring.
Bloom opened its bakeries earlier this year
as a social enterprise venture.