This Tuesday, April 17, LAND studio will kick off Inner City Hues, a public art project in Cleveland’s Buckeye-Shaker and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods designed to unite the community and bring some vibrancy into forgotten parts of the city.
The project will pair four established artists with blank canvases, of sorts, on existing surfaces, buildings, vacant walls, and abandoned properties—with the goal of enlivening the neighborhood’s commercial district.
“We’re creating space for local artists to shine a light on what they are doing, as well as shine a light on public art and community engagement,” says LAND studio project manager David Wilson. “The community has a chance to provide input and their voices will be reflected in the art created.”
With funding from the St. Luke’s Foundation, LAND studio has been working for the past several years to facilitate and implement public art projects, greenspace improvements, and park programming throughout the greater Buckeye neighborhood. The idea is to better connect residents to their commercial districts, transit centers, natural resources, and other neighborhood assets.
The four artists chosen for Inner City Hues are Kevin “mr.soul” Hart, a graphic artist and a Lee-Harvard neighborhood native; acerbic, an artistic collective made up of Ali McClain, Donald Black, Jr., and Gabriel Gonzalez that uses various media to address racism, violence, and discrimination in Cleveland’s urban neighborhoods; Shooting Without Bullets, an organization that works with youth to combat social injustice through art and photography; and mixed-media artist Derin Fletcher.
“We’re really hoping these artists will work closely with the community to develop concepts around the community,” says Wilson.
To that end, LAND studio is also engaging community development corporations (CDCs), local businesses, schools, and other organizations in the area, such as Mt. Pleasant Now, Buckeye Shaker CDC, and East End Neighborhood House. Community members will have an opportunity to meet with the artists and provide ideas and feedback before the artists begin the murals later this summer.
The project kicks off tomorrow, Tuesday, April 17, with a Meet the Artists event from 5 to 7 p.m. at Zelma George Recreation Center (3155 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive). Open to the public, the event will include art, entertainment, and food.
“This is meant to be an informal event for residents of the community and businesses to get a sense of what the artists are doing and really start a conversation,” says Wilson. “We will have more focused workshops in May and June, then in August, we’ll focus on implementing [the murals].”
Another event will be held at the end of the summer when the project is complete.