Greyt expectations: Thomas Fox says goodbye to CreativeMornings and hello to Greyt Culture

Each year, the majority of days in Cleveland are cloudy or overcast (with the city getting just 168 days of sunshine each year as opposed to the national average of 205). While most people might see that as a drawback, Greyt Culture founder Thomas Fox chooses to see the silver lining.

“[With Greyt Culture], I wanted a way of saying ‘Cleveland’ without saying Cleveland, and grey skies came to mind,” says Fox. “’Greyt’ isn’t just a clever way of changing the spelling of ‘great;’ for me, it means spending our time seeking a positive perspective.”

Golden Hour at The ShorewayFox is attempting to cultivate just that with a slew of new offerings under the Greyt Culture umbrella—from “Golden Hour” sunset rooftop concerts to free “Greyt Big Talk” breakfast lectures. The common thread? To elevate Cleveland’s cultural scene and connect local artists and entrepreneurs.

If Fox’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s been paving the way for Greyt Culture over the last decade—co-chairing the Brite Winter festival for four years, mounting the Agumboot music festival in 2016, and hosting CreativeMornings/CLE talks since 2014. In the nearly seven years Fox led the local CreativeMornings chapter, more than 10,000 Clevelanders attended the monthly events.

“It’s been a long journey for Greyt Culture to come into existence,” says Fox, who also works as a video production consultant. “I wanted to be able to tuck everything I was doing under one banner.”

Held the third Friday of each month, the Greyt Big Talks will somewhat mirror the format of CreativeMornings—with a spotlight speaker, featured artists, and inspired conversation over coffee and light breakfast. The first Greyt Big Talk was held last Friday, August 20, at Public Square featuring ELEVATED Dance Company founder Howard Washington, and Fox has five more talks planned for 2021.

“A ‘Greyt Big Talk’ is meant to encourage the opposite of small talk,” says Fox. “The focus will continue to be on in-person programs so that we can get face-to-face connection.”

Music is also a big part of Fox’s vision for Greyt Culture. Not only is Fox introducing a virtual series titled “Greyt Outdoor Concerts,” but he’s also been hosting monthly Golden Hour concerts at The Shoreway. The former are envisioned to showcase “mixed-genre artists and epic natural landscapes” (with the first shot at Hidden Valley Park in Madison), while the latter is part networking event-part rooftop concert-part happy hour.

“I see the Golden Hours as being complementary to what the art museum community has done with Mix at CMA,” says Fox. “My goal is to provide space providing space for young, creative, cosmopolitan people.”

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.