This Weekend In Cleveland: Rooms to Let, Sunday Funday and more

This weekend, explore art in unexpected places at Rooms To Let, enjoy a Cleveland tradition at Hessler Street Fair, support Ingenuity Fest at their unique Bal Ingénieux costume party, pump life into the Flats West Bank at Sunday Funday and more.

Rooms To Let
May 16 - 17th. 1 pm - 5 pm
7019 Fullerton Ave. (corner of East 71st & Fullerton)
Free (all ages)
Abandoned structures can be seen as blank canvases. The concept isn’t new -- in fact, many artists have used abandoned buildings as a tool to transform tragedy.
Detroit’s Heidelberg Project is an outdoor art project that was founded in 1986 and uses repurposed salvaged items to create a street of art echoing themes of social justice. Project Be rose up from post-Katrina New Orleans when a group of artists took over an abandoned public housing project and filled it with art installations.
In a similar vein, Rooms To Let transforms foreclosed homes into blank canvases. This weekend, four homes slated for demolition will be transformed from emptiness and dormancy into thought-provoking transient art installations.The event hopes to put Slavic Village back onto the map and to educate visitors and participating artists on the history of the neighborhood.
“The foreclosure crisis was hard on our neighborhood. Although we are coming back from it there are still a lot of abandoned structures. We want to honor the history of the neighborhood and see it as a way to repurpose and rebirth the structures,” says Elizabeth Grace, director of Marketing & Fundraising at Slavic Village Development.
Rooms To Let was founded in 2010 by Melissa Vogley in Columbus. This is Slavic Village’s second Rooms To Let event. This year, a team of six curators -- Dana Depew, Sai Sinbondit, Amy Krusinski Sinbondit, Rian Brown-Orso, Rebecca Cross and Scott Pickering -- chose 40 artists to be involved in the project. This year’s showcase will also include a performance by three ensembles of the Cleveland Orchestra.
"Rooms To Let is a unique intervention of artists in abandoned homes in an historic Cleveland neighborhood — a bittersweet song honoring the passing and memory of these four dwellings with art, community and music,” says Brown-Orso, curator, artist and associate professor of Cinema Studies at Oberlin College.

Many of the homes are like time capsules, vacant since the ‘90s; they contained a mix of personal belongings, junk and pieces of wood. Cleveland artist and curator, Dana Depew is cutting parts of the house to create a makeshift sanctuary room that utilizes the existing natural light to help illuminate the house.
“Certain artists were attracted to certain areas of the house and others took materials we found inside of the house to make installations. There’s no steadfast end result — it’s all trail and error,” he says. “I’m cutting sections of the front rooms and installing stained glass windows and creating fountains that will become makeshift wishing wells.”
Everything will be in motion until the day of the show. Depew is most excited to see the unique and poignant ways that each artists conceptualizes the empty spaces.

“We work with the Cuyahoga Land Bank on this project and they allow us to use these properties slated for demolition. It’s freeing for the artists because the house is truly a blank canvas. With the exception of safety, the possibilities are limitless,” says Grace.

Hessler Street Fair
May 16 - 17th. 11 am - dusk
Hessler Road
Free (all ages)
Beginning in 1969 on what is arguably the city’s most quaint street, nothing says Cleveland in the summertime quite like Hessler Street Fair. Enjoy music, dancing, arts & crafts and tons of local food vendors, including a multitude of vegetarian friendly options. The festival concludes on Sunday with Revolution Brass Band at 6 and popular local reggae band, Carlos Jone’s & The P.L.U.S Band at 8 o’clock.
Brent Kirby & His Luck "Patience Worth" Release
May 16th. 9:30 pm
Music Box Supper Club, 1148 Main Ave.
Brent Kirby and his new band, The Luck, recorded a new album titled Patience Worth in January at a River Junction Studios, a house with a huge live room in Willoughby. The tunes are representative of a constantly evolving singer-songwriter with R&B, soul, jazz and rock influence. The performance will be a full band show, with additional horn section and back up singers.
Patience Worth represents the spirit or muse within all of us that is trying to find its way out,” says Kirby. “It guides us creatively. It's also about the time it takes to get from one place to a better place. Realizing that hard work will pay off, and it's about the little things we do every day that lead us to our goal.” Cleveland’s noir-pop trio Kiss Me Deadly will open the show at 9:30 and Brent Kirby & His Luck will take the stage at 10:15pm. 
The Bal Ingénieux
Saturday, May 16th. 6 pm - 1 am
Kalman & Pabst Photo Group, 3907 Perkins Ave.
four different pricing levels: $20 - $200
Celebrate art, dinner, dancing and more dancing at The Bal Ingénieux! Dress in costume and celebrate the fourth annual Ingenuity fundraiser inside of the beautiful 18,000-square-foot Kalman & Pabst Photo studio warehouse.
Enjoy a mesmerizing jazz and blues performance by Alexandra Huntingdon and the master of illusion, Ray Raymond. Dance to funky soulful mixes later on in the night with DJ Red and Secret Soul Club will be spinning classic soul and old school R&B. Don’t forget: Ingenuity is a nonprofit organization and part of your ticket purchase will be tax deductible!

Sunday Funday
Sunday, May 17th. 11 am - 5 pm
The Tenk Building, 2111 Center St.
A Sunday well-spent brings a week of content. This Sunday marks the kickoff of Sunday Funday! Visit the West Bank of the Flats for a bi-weekly family and dog friendly event featuring local food, fashion, farmers, games and art.
Play four square, badminton, corn hole, and darts and view live graffiti painting on canvas. The event is hosted by nonprofits Graffiti Heart and The Refugee Response, as well as Platform Beer Co., BNR Ventures and The Grocery. “We’re excited to reactivate and pump life back into this part of the Flats,” says Brian Vavra, director of development at BNR Ventures.

Read more articles by Jacqueline Bon.

Jacqueline Bon is a freelance writer that has been contributing to Fresh Water Cleveland since 2014. As a journalist by trade and self-taught photographer, she has a lot of curiosity in people and their stories. She is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and has pursued film and digital photography for a decade. She is likely to be the first person on the dance floor, especially if you put on Prince.
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