LAND studio is putting the 'public' in public art with a community-designed gathering place

It takes a village to build a community gathering place, and LAND studio is looking for that village to help build its latest public art project—Forum, a large, permanent outdoor pavilion designed to be a setting for public engagement and community gatherings.


Sketch-level design of FORUMThe structure—designed by London-based architecture firm Studio Weave—will be an 864-square-foot open-air building topped with a 28-foot-high peaked roof over a ceiling of curved arches. The arched wood ceiling will be comprised of 40 individual works of art that will be made using marquetry (paper-thin pieces of wood cut and re-assembled to make unique patterns, designs, and pictures).


The marquetry of the ceiling, with all of its peaks and valleys, will cover a total of 3,000 square feet, says Peter Debelak. Debelak is the co-founder of Soulcraft Cleveland, which is facilitating the design, fabrication, and installation of the marquetry. The wooden marquetry tiles will utilize various species of wood in different colors and will follow a theme of “home” throughout the intricate ceiling.

“The outdoor pavilion has a very simple feel from the outside, like a barn,” explains Debelak. “When you walk in, you’ll see all of these cathedral arts elements. It will kind of be like a community-made Sistine Chapel.”


Previous work by Studio WeaveWhile the location for the Forum has yet to be determined, Debelak says the spot will be “in a Cleveland Metroparks location in the vicinity of downtown.” The Metroparks is a partner in this latest part of LAND studio’s Landform program, with the goal of producing public artworks to enhance the public spaces of downtown Cleveland. The Forum project is being supported by the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation.

LAND studio has issued both a call for artists and a call for participants in the project. Eight local artists will lead up to 100 community members to learn marquetry and form teams of eight to 12 people to create the ceiling designs.

“Each team could choose to do one large image or do separate images, according to each participant’s interpretation of ‘Home,'" says Debelak. "There will be a lot of creative license given to the public.”

A selection committee will choose the eight artists from applications and, if need be, the community participants. “If we get a couple of thousand [community] applicants, only a fraction can participate,” says Debelak. “But the hope is that anyone who wants to participate can. We want a cross-section of Cleveland, representing different demographics.”

Debelak warns that the project—which will begin in March and run in July—does take commitment. Team drawing workshops begin the third week of March, followed by marquetry workshops in March and April and open studio times through June. Completion of the marquetry tiles is scheduled for the second week of July.

The deadline for artists to apply is Monday, February 25, while community applications will be accepted until Friday, March 1. An informational session for interested participants will be held tonight, Wednesday, February 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Soulcraft (5401 Hamilton Ave., Cleveland).

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.
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