literary lots aims to transform cle's vacant spots into reading zones

If  Kauser Razvi has a say in it, underutilized spaces in Cleveland will be a place where a child's imagination can run wild, all thanks to power of the written word.

Razvi, founder of the Cleveland-based project management organization Strategic Urban Solutions, is the book-loving brains behind Literary Lots,  a program that aims to "brings books to life" in a vacant lot, playground or other outdoor space.

To pilot this idea, Strategic Urban Solutions plans to launch its first Literary Lot this summer in Ohio City's Novak Park. In conjunction with Cleveland Public LibraryLAND Studio, and Ohio City Writers, Razvi's group will recreate places, concepts, and adventures from select children's books. The space will also host educational programming, with the goal of bringing Cleveland's kids together through the cooperation of the city's cultural institutions.

"Libraries are community anchors," says Razvi. "We thought it would be cool to marry the idea of bringing books to life in places near our libraries."

The summer program spot will have books (of course), poetry readings or a movie based on the book the space is built around. Artists will enliven the space, perhaps decorating a small sandpit in which kids can dig for buried gold,  just like the young adventurer from Treasure Island.

"I think of it as a 'comfortable artistic backyard,'" Razvi says.

Building a nice "backyard" isn't free. A Kickstarter fundraising campaign for the project begins at the end of February, with a minimum goal of $5,500. Razvi believes transforming an underused space into a reading zone for kids is well worth the price of admission.
SOURCE: Kauser Razvi
WRITER:  Douglas J. Guth
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