Cleveland's Gordon Square Arts District (GSAD
) is supported by a strong backbone of dedicated institutions, corporations, merchants, residents and philanthropists, says Judi Feniger, newly named executive director of the West Side arts enclave.
Feniger planned to spend this week meeting with these groups, and looks forward to continuing the relationships that will help make the district even stronger. "It's a dynamic area," says Feniger, successor to GSAD founding executive director Joy Roller, who earlier this month became president of Global Cleveland
. "I need to get a sense of what's going on."
What's been happening in recent years is new loft housing, an enhanced Detroit Avenue streetscape, new retail and gallery ventures, and the renovation of the Cleveland Public Theatre
complex and Capitol Theatre
. The latest milestone occurred in November with the groundbreaking for the Near West Theatre’s
first permanent performance venue.
"Gordon Square is a growing part of Cleveland that attracting young residents," says Feniger. "How can we take these great assets and show them to our community?"
The experienced arts and business leader plans to answer that question thanks to a philanthropy and arts background that includes leadership stints with the American Red Cross
and most recently the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.
"I've been to Gordon Square many times," Feniger says. "It will be exciting to build on the foundation and bring more activity and awareness to the things going on here."
The district's potent combination of housing, new businesses, the arts and neighborhood beautification is attracting national attention and drawing audiences and visitors from throughout the region, notes the new executive director.
"There are many great things to do in Cleveland," says Feniger. "Our challenge will be to get a share of people's time and mind."
SOURCE: Judi Feniger
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth