Last weekend, Rooms to Let (RTL) on East 54th Street in Slavic Village transformed four houses, two of which are slated to be demolished, into three-dimensional artists' canvases. The efforts ranged from a garage turned into a surreal study in pink and baby blue, The Reverse Birth of an Avuncular Cuncutator by Charles Kiss, to Liz Maugans' glittering homage to Prince in a tiny attic space.
RTL also exposed the soul of this tough, quintessential Cleveland neighborhood. Visitors were treated to an intimate tour of a collection of homes that are historic in their own right, full up with charm, kitsch and impossibly narrow staircases. The artistic creations proved that the spaces still have potential while the ghosts of former residents were palpable in kitchens where their pork and sauerkraut dinners once simmered, in bedrooms where couples fought and made up and in bathtubs where toddlers played with rubber ducks.
The RTL experience was at once funky, heartbreaking, revelatory and moving. While it may be gone for good, Fresh Water managing photographer Bob Perkoski has curated it with his discerning eye in this photo essay.
Bubble Palace, 3603 East 54th Street, future not yet determined
IBABCI Maker House, 3620 East 54th Street, slated for renovation by Slavic Village Recovery and sold to new homeowner
Little Warszawa, 3705 East 54th Street, slated for demolition
Healing House, 3725 East 54th Street, slated for demolition
Event curators: Dana DePew, Sai Sinbondit, Amy Krusinski Sinbondit, Scott Pickering, Chris Webb
Contributing artists: Jeffrey Chiplis, Ron Copeland, Falcon Eddie Cummins, Dana Depew, Rick Ferris, Eli Gfell, Keith Graham, Jake Hochendoner, Kara Isabella, Jonah Jacobs, Charles Kiss, Robin Latkovich, Christine Mauersberger, Liz Maugans, Ella Medicus, Loren Naji, Rian Brown-Orso, Kristina Paabus, Cindy Penter, Scott Pickering, Nancy Prudic, Edward Raffel, Rebecca Rinaldi, Tina Christine Ripley, Marc Spangenberg, Grace Summanen, Paul Sydorenko, Anna Tararova, Annette Yoho Feltes, Hector Castellanos-Lara, Roni Callahan, April Bleakney, Danielle Moorer, Latecia Wilson, Sampson Smiley, Latoya Webb, Stephanie Kluk, Melinda Placko, Rebekah Wilhelm, Jeannie Oakar, Michael Gill, teens from joint Broadway School of Music & the Arts/University Settlement after-school arts class at Washington Park Horticulture Center
Maker artists: Catherine Butler, Kate Snow, Martha Lattie, Helen and Dot Von Schneider, Valerie Grossman, Peter Debelak, Anastasial Sobvola, Makenzie Tigert, Jeremy Smith, We Can Code It, Jason Radcliffe, Laura Cooperman, thinkBox, Amy and Sai Sinbondit
Text by Erin O'Brien