All you need is love, plus some arts and culture, for a perfect Cleveland Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air as Valentine’s Day, Friday, Feb. 14, approaches. But rather than following the usual traditions of candy, flowers, and romantic dinners, many Clevelanders are opting for a more cultured holiday.

From creating love potions with your valentine to enjoying activities for the whole family, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture suggests some fun events planned by their partner organizations. Here’s a sampling of where love is blooming in the arts and culture world.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden and Yates Perfumes are a match made in heaven. Love potions

The Cleveland Botanical Garden and Melissa Hale, owner of Yates Perfumes, are a match made in heaven. The garden is all about creating a natural, blooming urban escape on its 10 acres of outdoor gardens in University Circle, while Hale specializes in creating unique scents through her use of essential oils and all-natural botanicals at her studio in Lakewood’s Screw Factory.

As part of its $193,947 general operating support grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the Cleveland Botanical Garden will host Love Potion: A Natural Perfumery Workshop on Saturday, Feb. 15. Bring your date or come solo to learn about natural perfumery and the different aroma notes of various essential oils. Hale will teach participants about building a scent before everyone gets a chance to build two of their own signature versions.

“Melissa used dried herbs, flowers, and crystals that will adorn and infuse these love potions,” says Ellie Rial, manager of adult education at the botanical garden. “Melissa offers guidance, but then she [encourages] scent explorations. So, people can really create their own combinations.”

While Love Potion recently sold out for the Valentine’s Day event, Rial says they partner regularly with Yates Perfumes for other workshops throughout the year. So keep an eye out for future events or check out Yates’ other workshops.

Great Lakes Science Center believes that all you need is love and science on Valentine’s Day weekendThe art of technology

The staff at the Great Lakes Science Center says all you need is love and science on Valentine’s Day weekend, as the center is hosting We Heart Tech from Friday, Feb. 14, through Monday, Feb. 17.

The weekend is packed with events around topics like wind and water, DNA and genetics, and robots on Mars. Or Makey Makey Mario demonstrates how video game controllers work by exploring the engineering and circuitry behind these popular devices.

“We are the place to go for anything STEM science related,” says Scott Vollmer, vice president of STEM learning for the science center. “We pulled out the big programs for a value-added weekend. You’re going to walk out of here with an ‘A-ha’ moment, and you’re going to drawn on it in the real world.”

Vollmer points out that Monday, Feb. 17, is Presidents Day, so kids have the day off school. So aside from falling in love with science over Valentine’s Day, kids and parents can have a uniquely fun learning experience on the day off.

“You don’t have to sit around the house being sedentary. This is a good place to go to stretch your mind,” he says. “Keep your mind sharp. Here, there are no expectations. This is about discovery and curiosity.”

The science center produces events like We Heart Tech thanks to a $250,265 general operating support grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Events are at various times throughout the weekend. Tickets can be purchased in advance.

“Herve Koubi is a French-based company made up of [mostly] Algerian street dancers,” says Sarah Hricko, Dance Cleveland’s associate artistic director.A French twist

Making their Ohio debut with Dance Cleveland, Compagnie Herve Koubi, a French dance company made up of 12 male dancers who awe audiences with acrobatic flips, stunning spins and elusive creativity, will perform What the Day Owes To the Night on Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Mimi Ohio Theatre in Playhouse Square.

“Herve Koubi is a French-based company made up of [mostly] Algerian street dancers,” says Sarah Hricko, Dance Cleveland’s associate artistic director. “Herve grew up in France but found out he had Algerian roots. It was almost the missing piece to his history. He fell in love with the movement style and brought the dancers back to France with him.”

The performance combines capoeira, martial arts, hip hop, and contemporary dance for a unique program. Thanks to a $48,961 general operating support grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Dance Cleveland can bring performers like Koubi to Cleveland.

Although this performance is expected to sell out, Hricko also urges people to come out and see the Stephen Petronio Company from New York make their Ohio debut on Saturday, March 14.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with love songs, fire, and flirtation with Apollo’s Fire.An Italian valentine

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with love songs, fire, and flirtation with Apollo’s Fire, when the ensemble stages four performances from Thursday, Feb. 13, until Sunday, Feb. 16, at various area locations. The concerts feature double concertos by Monteverdi and Vivaldi.

The baroque orchestra, whose artistic director Jeanette Sorrell says blends classical, folk, and even jazz, will get flirty when 15 musicians—including guest vocalists Erica Schuller and Brian Giebler­—perform “L’Amore: An Old Italian Valentine.”

Sorrell, who points out that baroque is a precursor to jazz, says the performance is sure to please audiences with its fun tone. “It has almost a cabaret feeling, but from 1603,” she jokes. The musicians do a lot of improvisation during the performances, she says. “So, it will be a different performance every night.”

Guests will also get to see and hear some unique instruments, like the theorbo. “It’s a giant lute,” she says. “It looks like a cross between a guitar and a giraffe.”

Apollo's Fire concerts such as “L’Amore” are funded in part by a $104,031 general operating support grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

Apollo’s Fire will play Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Akron; Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15, at 8 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights; and Sunday, Feb. 16, at 4 p.m. at Rocky River Presbyterian Church. Buy tickets here.

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.