Art Museum expands its presence to Clark-Fulton neighborhood with Community Arts Center

Founded in 1913 “for the benefit of all people forever,” the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) is ensuring its presence truly does reach all people with the establishment of its new Community Arts Center in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood at West 25th Street and Seymour Avenue on the west side of the city.  

“Cleveland Museum of Art has always had a strong presence on the east side, but we wanted to reach the west side,” says Stefanie Taub, CMA director of community arts. “Clark-Fulton has a history rich in the arts and there’s so much going on here. I’m looking forward to getting to know the neighborhood.”

Cleveland Museum of Art Community Arts Center Grand Opening Event at the Pivot Center for Art Dance and Expression.The museum celebrated the grand opening of its Community Arts Center last Saturday, June 12, with the exhibit “Parade the Circle: Celebrating 30 Years of Art and Community.” The exhibit, which will remain up all year, features the 30-year history of the annual Parade the Circle event with a collection of puppets, costumes and masks created by artists and the community that reflect diverse cultures and global art traditions.

Taub says CMA has been involved with Clark-Fulton’s master plan process to help create positive change and identify investment in the neighborhood. Taub says the museum wants to be catalytic in creating that environment and supporting the cultural and artistic endeavors. The CMA worked in partnership with Clark-Fulton Together, a resident-driven master plan headed by MetroHealth Hospital, the City of Cleveland, Metro West Community Development Organization, and local businesses to develop program content that meets community needs.

“The community has been very responsive,” says Taub, “and we plan to continue that community connection at the center.” She adds that the museum plans to have community conversations at the Arts Center. “We’re doing it in a way that recognizes this neighborhood is established—[having] so much arts and culture tells us what they want.”

The 20,000-square-foot Community Arts Center in the former Astrup Awning factory will host daily studio and gallery experiences for schools and community groups, with tours and activities led by local artists, as well as classes, activities, and after-school programs and summer camps.

Cleveland Museum of Art Community Arts Center Grand Opening Event at the Pivot Center for Art Dance and Expression.

“Once COVID restrictions are completely lifted, we will have interactive exhibits where [guests] can work the arms of the puppets, try on costumes and masks,” Taub says, adding that they are handing out copies of the children’s book “Belle’s Wild Ride” and make-your-own puppet craft kits.

The center also will serve as workspace for community members participating in Parade the Circle, Chalk Festival, and the Lantern Festival. And, for the first time, the center gives the Art Museum a dedicated space to safely store large puppets, costumes, and art-making supplies.

Other tenants in Astrup building are LatinUS Theater CompanyLa Mega 1Inlet Dance Theatre Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, and the Cleveland Family Center for Missing Children and Adults, and ICA Art Conservation.

The Community Arts Center is open Wednesday to Friday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cleveland Museum of Art Community Arts Center Grand Opening Event at the Pivot Center for Art Dance and Expression.Also last Saturday, the museum hosted Parade the City—a reimagined Parade the Circle 2021 in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Parade the City kept the spirit of the annual event alive, which always occurs the second Saturday in June, by pairing local artists with community groups to create celebratory art installations throughout Cleveland at community locations.

Parade the City features eight installations created by the artists with the help of eight community groups including Cleveland School of the Arts, Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center, Esperanza, Karamu House, Extended Family, LGBT Community Center, Cleveland Public Library South Branch, and PIVOT Center for Arts, Dance and Expression.

Traub assures fans of Parade the Circle, that they are already making plans for an in-person, traditional Parade the Circle for 2021. “We will do Parade the Circle next year, full-swing,” she promises. “We’re in for something big.”

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.