#CLEative Groove: Meet Robert Gatewood of Master Collective and Gatewood Home/Share

Our #CLEative Groove series features Q&A profiles on our city’s creative makers and shakers! Read on for our next installment with Robert Gatewood, founder of Master Collective and program director for Gatewood Home/Share.

How long have you lived in Cleveland, and where do you currently live? I was born at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, and I’ve lived on the East side my whole life with the last 24 of my 36 years spent in Collinwood.

What do you for work and how do you get into your CLE-ative groove? Via my business Master Collective, I serve as a creative consultant and graphic designer for clients—creating branding materials, marketing, social media, and designed products (like reports, applications, and proposals) for a handful of retained organizations and creatives.

Additionally, I help manage and design programming for our family business, the Gatewood Home/Share (where I also lead design and branding efforts). Aside from that, I am creating games culture-related programming and workshops under my GamerHaven brand, working with nonprofits and Cleveland Public Library in particular.

Adam Tully, Krystal Sierra, and Robert Gatewood at the East 152nd banner and mural dedication ceremonyHow did the vision for GamerHaven and Gatewood Home/Share come to life? I had a vision of a space that served our community with games at its center all the way back in 2006. Fast forward to 2016, when I learned a method of creating a co-working model that allowed me to create an office space that had all the game play and development tools I'd want to use but also make it available to my neighbors.

Over time, this model expanded to support all kinds of creatives, and I ended up hosting and incubating multiple small businesses in my first brick-and-mortar space on East 185th Street. Through this work, I was able to further develop a neighborhood support model incorporating games and other creative outlets.

Due to construction and the pandemic, we decided to let the original space's lease end. It was difficult, but because what we offer is so unique, it wasn't lucrative enough to support the needs the lease required. We did, however, identify a building farther up the street that could house GamerHaven and its original intentions and allow us to expand into a space that more directly responded to Collinwood and its immediate needs. With the support of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Village Capital Corporation, we secured our own building and re-launched the space as the Gatewood Home/Share: very much the same ideals of community resource access and support, but with an acceptable homestyle feel.

GamerHaven now acts as a brand within our Home/Share, offering classes, workshops, and games resources while supporting a broader event space and community center.

GCDC executive director Jamar Doyle and Robert Gatewood at the City Club of ClevelandA typical day in your life might include… Meetings with neighbors and clients around the city; developing social media posts and other ways for clients and partners to communicate with their markets and communities; printing shirts and other apparel; connecting neighbors to Greater Collinwood Development Corporation; and creating lesson plans for classes and workshops.

In your opinion, what are Cleveland’s best-kept cultural and creative secrets?
Classes at BRICK Ceramic + Design Studio and Praxis Fiber Workshop, where two local creatives (Valerie Grossman and Jessica Pinsky, respectively) and their teams are teaching really unique art skills within blocks of each other to help make Waterloo a one-of-a-kind hub for self-improvement and expression. TechCentral at Cleveland Public Library (in the Louis Stokes Wing) downtown offers a ton of creative and technology resources for 3D printing, laser-cutting, music and graphic design creation, and almost all of it is free or only for the cost of materials as long as you have a library card!

Favorite local artists and galleries include: Mortar Gallery on Waterloo—as the newest gallery space to the street, it’s an interesting combination of 2D and 3D art that features Valerie Grossman’s art, the ceramic work by members of BRICK, and other art shows by visiting artists! Nearby on Waterloo, Photocentric does a great job of hosting photography that often has a neighborhood focus or is work made by neighbors, which I’m all about supporting.

I'm also a fan of Aaron Williams. His mural work near Five Points (and on the banners along Five Points at St. Clair and East 152nd) exposed me to his art style, which is really illustrative and unique.

Share a fun fact about you that might surprise other people: Believe it or not, my mother and I nearly got run over at 1997's NBA All-Star Game by a car that had Michael Jordan in it. I still remember it clearly.

If you were a Cleveland landmark, which one would you be and why? The Terminal Tower. Even if I am eventually not the largest in our city anymore, people will always associate me with my city and vice versa.

Favorite Cleveland mural/piece of public art: The Cleveland script sign at Euclid Beach. When the weather is nice and the sunset is just right, it's the most peaceful place in the city. Close second is the clocktower at Collinwood High School.

Anything else you want us to know about you? I want everyone to live out their dreams. I believe we possess everything we need to be whatever we want to be—so much so that if anyone thinks the city of Cleveland is holding them back, and I ever hit the lottery, I would literally pay people to leave and not come back.

Learn more about Robert and Master Collective here, and stay tuned for more #CLEative Groove profiles! You can also follow @CLEativeGroove on Instagram here, or send suggestions for people to profile here.

Read more articles by Jen Jones Donatelli.

As an enthusiastic CLE-vangelist, Jen Jones Donatelli enjoys diving headfirst into her work with FreshWater Cleveland. Upon moving back to Cleveland after 16 years in Los Angeles, Jen served as FreshWater's managing editor for two years (2017-2019) and continues her work with the publication as a contributing editor and host of the FreshFaces podcast. When not typing the day away at her laptop, she teaches writing and creativity classes through her small business Creative Groove, as well as Literary Cleveland, Cleveland State University, and more. Jen is a proud graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.