Slideshow: 'Cleveland 20/20' photo exhibit at downtown library captures beauty of urban scenes

If you live or work in Cleveland, you probably see scenes of urban grit and glamour on a regular basis. But who has time to stop and take pictures while going about our busy lives?

Leave it to talented photographers, of which we have no shortage, to preserve these moments for posterity. Twenty-five of them, both professional and amateur, spent the last nine months seeking out and capturing nearly 200 images for an impressive new exhibit at the Cleveland Public Library.

“Cleveland 20/20: A Snapshot of Our City” opens Monday, Jan. 20, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with a reception from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Cleveland Public Library’s Main Library, 325 Superior Ave., in Brett Hall on the first floor. The exhibition will remain on display during normal library hours through Nov. 30.

Billy Delfs Photography - Feast Little ItalyThis dramatic show, produced in conjunction with the Cleveland Print Room, is divided into four themes: intimate moments, geography, leisure, and water.

Like location scouts for a movie, the photographers scoured the city for their subject matter, from Ohio City to Little Italy, and from Euclid Beach to Public Square.

But these are merely words. See for yourself with the sampling of nine photos from the exhibition in our slideshow.

“The exhibition presents 25 points of view of Cleveland, interwoven in groupings that evoke the texture of urban life at various intersections, monuments, and neighborhoods—some familiar, others not,” said exhibition curator Lisa Kurzner, in a prepared statement.

“The project turns a historical archive into a curatorial time capsule,” said Shari Wilkins, executive director of the Cleveland Print Room.” The photographs show the realness of Cleveland that is often taken for granted.”

The participating photographers are Tim Arai, Enahjae Beasley, Stephen Bivens, Bridget Caswell, Matthew Chasney, Hadley K. Conner, Destanee Cruz, Billy Delfs, Shelly Duncan, Maria Fallon, Aja Grant, Diana Hlywiak, Da’Shaunae Jackson, Adam Jaenke, Jef Janis, Felix Latimer, Daniel Levin, Greg Martin, Christopher Mason, Gabrielle Murray, Owen Rodemann, Ruddy Roye, Michael Tsegaye, and Shari Wilkins.

The public library, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, will preserve the images in its Photographs Collection, which holds 1.3 million photographs, most from the mid-1800s to the 1990s.

For more details about the exhibition, visit here.

Read more articles by Chris Ball.

Chris Ball became managing editor of FreshWater Cleveland in August 2019 after more than 20 years of editing and writing for The Plain Dealer. A graduate of Hawken School and Oberlin College, he previously worked for Crain Communications, the Lorain Morning Journal, The Free Times and The Cleveland Edition. A lover of Frisbee and film, Ball wrote a DVD review column for The PD for 15 years. He won a Press Club of Cleveland award in 2018 for Best Headline Writer in Ohio. Ball stepped down as managing editor of FreshWater in April 2020.