Tag Archive | Cleveland Museum of Art

What Makes a Rembrandt a Rembrandt?

On Sunday, Feb. 19, the Cleveland Museum of Art opens the first major exhibition to explore in depth the collecting of Rembrandt paintings in America. Organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art, the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the exhibition takes a look at the artist’s contributions and more importantly, what makes a Rembrandt truly a Rembrandt.

Famous painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, born July 15, 1606, is generally considered one of the greatest painters in European history. Though his life was marked with personal tragedy and financial hardships, his paintings were incredibly popular throughout his time, and to this day Rembrandt is easily recognized for his contributions during the Dutch Golden Age.

Consisting of approximately 50 works, the exhibition brings together autographed paintings by Rembrandt as well as others thought to be by the artist when they entered American collections, but whose attributions can no longer be maintained. The exhibition presents a survey of the long career of Rembrandt as a painter, including his studio and a broader network of adapters, followers and copyists. Rembrandt in America offers the public the rare opportunity to examine the evolving opinions and methods of scholars and collectors regarding what constitutes an autograph Rembrandt painting.

Rembrandt in America begins Feb. 19 and runs through May 28, 2012 in the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Exhibition Hall at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, $7 for children 6-17 and free for children five and under. Discounted admission is available for groups of ten or more. Email groupsales@cleveland.org for more information or to buy your group’s tickets.

- Corinne Allie


The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art is many things to many people. It’s a highly anticipated field-trip, a first-date, an escape from a hot summer day or cold and snowy afternoon. Free admission year-round makes going to the Cleveland Museum of Art an experience everyone can enjoy, just as founders intended when they proclaimed the museum would be “for the benefit of all the people forever” and a vast collection keeps people coming back for more.

One of Cleveland’s most visited attractions, the Cleveland Museum of Art is currently undergoing a massive $350 million expansion and renovation. Upon completion the museum will offer 20,000 square feet of new educational space and 35,300 square feet of new gallery space for total museum space of 595,500 square feet.

CMA’s collection boasts more than 30,000 works of art ranging over 5,000 years, from ancient Egypt to the present, and includes masterpieces from all over the world. Currently there are more than 40 galleries open with more to come. The museum’s permanent collection includes African Art, Ancient Egyptian Art, Ancient Near East, Greek and Roman Art, American Painting and Sculpture, Contemporary Art, Decorative Art and Design, Drawings, European Painting and Sculpture, 1500 to 1800, Medieval Art, Modern European Painting and Sculpture, Photography and Prints. 13th century through 16th century Europe, Western Medieval, Art of the Americas, Islamic, Textiles, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Indian and Southeast Asian Art will not be on view until the end of the building project.

In addition to the staple permanent collections, each year the museum offers world-class traveling exhibitions, musical performances, educational programs, festivals, guest speakers and a parade which attracts one of the largest crowds of any Cleveland event.

CMA is situated amongst a slew of other popular attractions in Cleveland’s University Circle. The most densely packed square mile of arts and culture in the county, UCI is also home to the Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Glidden House, Case Western Reserve University and more.

For more information visit www.clevelandart.org and click here for more photos.

– CA and FC

Italian Masterworks at the Cleveland Museum of Art

In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, the Cleveland Museum of Art and The Cleveland Orchestra present a program of the great chamber works of Italian composers. This concise survey of Italian masterworks indulges in the splendor of several centuries of music, from the Renaissance to present day, performed by members of one of the greatest orchestras in the world under assistant conductor James Feddeck. The program will feature music by Boccherini, Berio, Vivaldi, Scelsi, Scodanibbio, Dallapiccola, and more in conjunction with pre-concert talks discussing Italian art and artists.

Tickets are $20 per concert or $50 for all three. For more information, visithttp://www.clevelandart.org.

– Submitted by FC

A vacation, in our own backyard

It happens like clockwork. The end of January rolls around and I am literally itching for something to do. Call it the winter blues, call it cabin fever, call it whatever you want; it’s a problem, a very expensive problem. I ultimately start planning an elaborate long weekend getaway that I can’t afford so soon after the holidays. Well this year I can’t, just can’t get away right now. But does this mean I have to spend another weekend fine tuning the body imprint on the couch, scanning the latest new releases on Netflix? After some thought and research, I discovered no, there is plenty to do in my hometown of Cleveland in the winter; lately I’ve just been too lazy to get out and do it.

So this weekend I’ve planned a vacation for my husband and I to get away. Sure, it’s only 20 miles away from our humble abode but there are plenty of things to do and places to eat that often we complain we “never have time” to experience. Well, this weekend is our chance. The only rule is that we can’t go somewhere where we have been before, just as if we were on vacation in a different location.

Cleveland Museum of Art

The weekend will start after work on Friday (no need to waste precious vacation time on travel, perk numero uno.) While I love the Westside neighborhoods of Tremont and Ohio City for a post-work happy hour or weekend dinner, rules state we can’t go to the norm. So, guess we’ll have to go some other time to Momocho, Bier Market and Prosperity. What better way to warm the winter chills than some hearty Italian drinks and dining? Our first stop will be Gusto! (www.gustolittleitaly.com; 216.791.9900) in Little Italy, only 5 miles outside of downtown Cleveland. With a happy hour until 8pm which includes $5 house wines, half priced cocktails and $5 appetizers such as calamari della liguria, prosciutto w/cantaloupe and gusto pizza, this charming restaurant is just the place to get the weekend started.

After some wine, we will hop on a bus to the Cleveland Museum of Art (www.clevelandart.org; 216.421.7350), less than a mile away in University Circle. In the process of a massive renovation, the museum reopened some galleries this past summer,  bringing back more than 900 pieces, many of which have been out of the public’s eye for the past five years. With more than 40 galleries still open during the renovation there is plenty to see and the best part is admission to the permanent collections is free and open until 9pm on Fridays.

Presti's Bakery

For a late dinner, the plan is to head to Guarino’s Restaurant (www.guarinoscleveland.com; 216.231.3100). Italian traditions like the lasagna and manicotti get rave reviews at the oldest Italian restaurant in the neighborhood, opened in 1918. Hopefully, we’ll have time to swing by Presti’s Bakery (www.prestisbakery.com; 216.421.3060) before dinner and pick up some dessert. With freshly made baked goods, the doughnuts, cookies and cannoli’s would make for the perfect treat to end the evening.

To save money, Friday evening we’ll stay at home. To keep with the vacationing spirit though, no early morning Saturday workout for me. Instead we’ll rise and shine bright and early for skiing and snow tubing at Boston Mills/Brandywine (www.bmbw.com; 800.875.4241). Then, we’ll get in a workout by cross country skiing at Lake Metroparks (www.lakemetroparks.com; 440.358.7275). Hey, if we’ve got this much snow, we might as well enjoy it.

Debonne Vineyards

While out on the east side of town, we’ll head out to Debonne Vineyards (www.debonne.com; 440.466.3485) for dinner and delicious Ohio wine. In addition to tours and tastings during regular business hours, Ohio’s largest estate winery features European style wines including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Cabernet and Riesling. The worst part will be only choosing one.

After a quick change to prepare for a night on the town, we’re heading to the Kennedy’s Theater at PlayhouseSquare (www.playhousesquare.org; 216.771.8403) to check out Flanagan’s Wake. According to reviews the performance is half scripted, half improvisation as the audience is transported to Ireland. The audiences then participate with the villagers in the telling of tales, singing of songs, and mourn the passing of one of their own, Flanagan.  Sounds like something worth the low cost of admission, around $20.

The best part about winter vacations? Hotel rooms at way discounted rates. The Radisson Gateway actually has a “red hot deal” online for only $59! Other hotel properties such as the Wyndham have deals based on the temperature outside. For special hotel packages, click here.

Champagne Bar

Since we’re staying downtown for the night, what better way to finish off the evening than with a nightcap? While both East 4th Street and the Warehouse District are home to a variety of restaurants and bars, to stick to the rules we’ll try the Champagne Bar at Pickwick and Frolic (www.pickwickandfrolic.com;216.241.7425). Known for their comedy club and martinis, Pickwick added the Champagne Bar devoted to bubbles, featuring 50 bottles of champagne and sparkling wines. If we’re ambitious we may also check out the Lobby Lounge at the Ritz Carlton to celebrate our Cleveland vacation with a Rocktail.

Sunday morning we’ll finish off the weekend with brunch at Lucky’s Café (www.luckyscafe.com; 216.622.7773) in Tremont. (You can always try one of these brunch options as well) and head home with a new stash of vacation memories and a bank account still on budget.

For more vacation ideas, hotel information and restaurant listings visit www.positivelycleveland.com.

– Submitted by A.I.



Final Summer Fling in Cleveland Plus

In no particular order…

10. Enjoy an End-of-Summer Festival

Get to the the Sparx City Hop Sept. 11. This day-long event connects nine of Cleveland’s bustling neighborhoods and celebrates the visual, culinary and musical artists in each. Attendees can park their car in one location and then use free trolleys to explore the more than 60 galleries and 100 eateries along the way.

Presented by the Lake County Visitors Bureau, the Lake County PerchFest brings a weekend (Sept. 10 – 12) devoted to Lake Erie’s favorite fish – the perch! Enjoy a mouthwatering fish fry, local live entertainment, “Just For Kids” entertainment featuring a youth fishing tank, a perch fishing tournament, karaoke and more.

The Cleveland Museum of Art presents its 20th annual Chalk Festival Sept. 11- 12, an art that is a 16th century Italian tradition.  Great for kids and adults.

Visitors can step back in time 200 years to the Yankee Peddler Festival at Clay’s Park in Canal Fulton Sept. 11 – 12, 18 – 19, 25 – 26.  Visit pioneer America with master artists and crafters setting up rustic shops, food cooked over open fires and non-stop entertainment. Keep up to the hour with the Town Criers and visit with the militia and mountain men.

Celebrate both the edible gardening revolution and Northeast Ohio’s thriving commitment to local food at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. RIPE! Food & Garden Festival Sept. 24-26 lets visitors choose among three tracks of programs: culinary, gardening and children’s. Each track includes comparative tastings, demonstrations and appearances by gardening and local food experts. An onsite farmers market and garden marketplace lets you take home garden-related products, while local restaurants on-site sell harvest-inspired, ready-to-eat dishes.

9. All Aboard the Goodtime III and Nautica Queen

Take in the last wondrous moments of the summer weather aboard one of these passenger boats sailing Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River with good food, music and entertainment.

  • The Goodtime III features a panoramic cruise of Cleveland’s lakefront and the Cuyahoga River. Daily tours, on-board entertainment and dining are available.
  • Cruising April through New Year’s Eve, the Nautica Queen is a luxury ship featuring daily lunch and dinner cruises with elaborate buffet dining and on-board entertainment for sightseeing up and down the Cuyahoga River.

8. Take a City Tour

Spend the rest of your summer like a tourist – take a city tour of Cleveland.

Consider a one-hour, narrated tour of downtown Cleveland on a Segway. Thanks to Electronic Tranpsort LLC Segway Tours of Cleveland, you can learn all about the city while riding one these awesome gliders (weather permitting; year round).

And, while you may have seen those jolly red trolleys driving around the city every day, you might not know that these buses offer city tours and specialty city tours all over the town. Great for all ages and especially fun during warm weather months, check out Trolley Tours of Cleveland (year round).

Or, hop on a Take a Hike! Tour where you can experience three exciting tours through some of downtown’s most intriguing districts with the help of costumed historical characters from Cleveland’s past.  Tours run until Sept. 12.

Want to guide yourself? Download a free walking tour from www.cityprowl.com and explore the art, architecture and history of Cleveland at your own pace.

7. Cedar Point

The thrills keep going until October 31 at the amusement park recognized as the “World’s Best” for 12 consecutive years. This year, check out the 14th Annual Halloweekends, which promises to offer more thrills and fun than ever before. Check out spooky musical performances, monster midway invasions, haunted houses and its ever-popular scream-worthy collection of rides. Event runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Watch the Halloweekends video here.

6. Baseball

Summertime wouldn’t be complete without giving some love to one of America’s favorite pastimes – baseball. And, Cleveland Plus is no stranger to the sport, as it enjoys another season of Cleveland Indians Baseball. Tickets are still available for home games until Sept. 29.

Or, head east of downtown Cleveland to watch the Lake County Captains, the Single A Affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Regarded as one of the most fan-friendly ballparks in the minor leagues, Classic Park offers “Thirsty Thursdays,” family fun games, fireworks and ethnic heritage events. Home games run now through Sept. 10.

Also check out the Akron Aeros, the Double A Affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Like the Lake County Captains, the Aeros offer a traditional baseball experience paired with creative family-friendly promotions and special events like “Dollar Dog Mondays,” “Two for Tuesdays” and “Fireworks Fridays.” Ticket prices range from $7 to $9. Home games run through Sept. 15.

Find more Cleveland Plus baseball information here.

5. Farming and Living History

Part of enjoying the summer means escaping the hustle and bustle of daily life for something a bit more down-to-earth.

Visitors looking to slow down should head back to the 19th century in this outdoor, living history museum. Guests of Hale Farm & Village can see Wheatfield Village, a small Ohio town struggling with the impact of the Civil War. Period crafts are made on the premises, with skilled artisans demonstrating glassblowing, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, candlemaking and basketmaking. Farm animals also are in residence with a “stable” of horses, pigs, cows and sheep. Hale Farm & Village is open weekends in September and October.

Also in the living history departments is the Historic Roscoe Village. Experience life in the 1800s in this beautifully-restored canal town with journey tour and horsedrawn canal boat ride. Also open in the fall and for Christmas tours, it’s a great “get outside” family activity for the end of the season.

And, while they’re opened year-round, Lake Metroparks Farmpark is also a wonderful option for those looking to enjoy the last of the summery weather. Discover more than 50 breeds of farm animals on a trip to this hands-on science center.  While here, milk a cow, take a wagon ride, stroll through gardens and enjoy animal shows and demonstrations.  Learn more here.

4. Head to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Get to the Zoo before Sept. 12 to experience FLUTTER!, an exhibit that allows you to walk among dozens of free-flying butterflies from around the world; DINOSAURS!, where animatronic dinosaurs, including several “babies,” roar and move just like they did millions of years ago and Scoop on Poop, an exhibit teaching children about natural, umm…functions.

3. Get Wet with Great Lakes Watersports

Experience the extreme side of Cleveland Plus while jet skiing, boating and kayaking on Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River. Great Lakes Watersports, located in the Flats, offers rentals including boat accessories like jet skis, wakeboards and tubes Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 19.

2. Go Island Hopping

Whether you’re looking for a wild night or a relaxing getaway, Kelleys, Middle Bass and South Bass islands in Lake Erie eagerly welcome all visitors with a variety of vacation options accessible by the Jet Express, Miller Boat Line and the Goodtime I. Learn more about the islands here.

1. Charter Boat Fishing

Enjoy what’s left of summer aboard a charter boat where visitors can use the charter company’s fishing and boating equipment as well as their skilled fishing guides and captains for one last hurrah on Lake Erie.  Some of our favorites include Fishin Boat Charters (30-foot Sport Fisherman) and Holiday Charters (56-foot steel-hulled, twin-diesel boat serving groups of up to 75 guests). Also check out these services:

  • North Coast Charter Boat Association: NCCBA is a group of professional charter captains eager to provide an enjoyable and rewarding day of fishing on Lake Erie’s Central Basin.
  • Wildwood Marina: A one-stop shop, Wildwood Marina offers boat charters for fishing, sightseeing and scuba diving for sunken ships.  Other services provided with charters include bait, tackle, fishing licenses, rental rods, fish cleaning services and more.

Click here for more end of summer ideas from the Plain Dealer.

– Submitted by L.R.H.

Cleveland Plus Art Galleries

You may be familiar with the always free Cleveland Museum of Art unveiling renovations one amazing gallery at a time, or the well-known Akron Art Museum, but did you know that Cleveland Plus is also home to the largest art gallery between Chicago and New York? Recently, I had the opportunity to visit four Cleveland art galleries where I met some of the friendliest locals and learned that the region’s art scene is both inviting and affordable.

The Brian Jones Gallery
2021 Murray Hill Road, Cleveland
216.229.5110 / www.brianjonesart.com
In 1999 Brian Jones, a native Clevelander, decided to pick up a paint brush. With no formal training and a little encouragement from his daughter, he quickly took to the hobby. Today, his colorful pieces can be found in 38 states and nine countries and now in his charming Little Italy gallery on Cleveland’s near east side. Packed with Italian eateries, boutique shopping and a handful of galleries, Little Italy is a popular Cleveland spot for tourists and locals alike and the perfect place for him to display his eclectic taste and bright palette. Jones offers original pieces as well as prints at varying price points providing something for everyone. He also showcases work by local sculptors. Note: Cleveland’s historic Little Italy neighborhood dedicates the first weekend of June to their annual art walk. More than 20 galleries and studios feature international, national and regional art in all media. Meet visiting artists and browse special exhibits featured throughout the galleries and shops.

The Bonfoey Gallery
1710 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland
216.621.0178 / www.bonfoey.com
Twitter: @bonfoeygallery
Monday-Thursday-8:30am-5:30pm, Friday-8:30am-4pm and Saturday-9am-3pm
Established in 1893, The Bonfoey Gallery is Cleveland’s oldest, most comprehensive gallery and the largest art gallery between Chicago and New York. Making no waste of their 14,000 square feet, Bonfoey offers a wide selection of artwork in various mediums from both regional and national artists, custom framing (thanks to a huge storage of various moldings and frames), art appraisal and art restoration. The gallery also offers professional artwork installation in corporate or residential settings, as well as full-scale pick-up and delivery services. Art consultants can provide on-site consultation in the home or office to help you choose pieces and arrange them appropriately. For more information or to schedule an appointment to meet with a consultant call 216.621.7033.

MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
8501 Carnegie Avenue, Cleveland
216.421.8671 / www.mocacleveland.org
Twitter: @MocaCleveland
Tuesday- Saturday-11am-5pm and Wednesday-11am-5pm
As Cleveland’s forum for interpreting culture through contemporary visual art, MOCA Cleveland connects visitors to the dynamic art and ideas of our time. MOCA, now in its 42nd year, started as the New Gallery in a small storefront on Euclid Avenue. Today, you’ll find the museum housed in a series of converted Roebuck’s Department store spaces connected to the Cleveland Play House on Carnegie Avenue (parking is free in the Cleveland Play House lot if no events are being held). MOCA hosts between nine and 12 exhibits per year, changing every three to four months in more than 10,000 square feet of space. In addition to not having a permanent collection, they generally focus on living artists or artists from the past 50 years, many of whom are regional. MOCA is always free on Fridays and it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to make your way through the museum. The guards are very knowledgeable and always willing to answer questions. But, if you’re interested in more information while touring the museum, use their guide-by-cell program. Small icons on labels indicate a number you can call to hear the artist speak more about a particular piece. (They have a version for children too!)

Kokoon Arts
1305 West 80th Street, Cleveland (Located within 78th Street Studios)
216.832.8212 / www.wgsproductions.com
Kokoon Arts is more like a large living room than a gallery. An intimate setting provides a place to sit and chat and eclectic art lines the walls throughout the space. On view is both contemporary and historic work largely from Northeast Ohio, changing every three months or so as well as the occasional exhibit from artists outside of the region to keep Clevelanders educated on what’s happening elsewhere.

Kokoon Arts, part of the 78th Street Studios, is located on Cleveland’s west side in the up-and-coming Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. The building itself is incredibly charming, housing Kokoon Arts as well as several other galleries and workspaces. Monthly openings take place on the third Friday of the month allowing visitors the freedom to roam five world-class art galleries, tour artist studio space and explore architectural design, art auction, art supply, clothing design and music and entertainment businesses. –Submitted by CA

Insider Tips for Making the Most of University Circle

About 15 minutes east of downtown Cleveland, University Circle shines as a world-class arts and culture destination. There’s a lot to see and do in the circle so we made it our mission to discover the things you absolutely cannot miss when you visit. Read on for tips for making the most of your University Circle experience or watch the Positively Cleveland video below.

Cleveland Institute of Art
Founded in 1882, The Cleveland Institute of Art is an independent college of art and design that also offers a wide array of public programming.
11141 East Boulevard, 216.421.7000, www.cia.edu
Reinberger Gallery open 10am-5pm on Tues., Wed., Thurs., Sat. and 10am-9pm on Fri.
Various alternative and arts film showings at the CIA Cinematheque.


  • CIA’s Cinematheque shows more than 250 domestic and international films each year, films you probably can’t see anywhere else. Admission is $8, parking is free (right next to the building) and concessions won’t break the bank. Tickets may be purchased at CIA’s box office before each film. View the schedule here.
  • Just inside the doors of CIA’s Gund building, visitors are welcome to browse the FREE Reinberger Gallery where local artists as well as major traveling exhibits are displayed Tuesday through Saturday.
  • The Visiting Artist Program invites artists of regional, national and international renown to CIA to present free lectures showcasing a wide variety of topics in fine arts and design. These lectures are free and open to the public.

Severance Hall
Long considered one of America’s great orchestras, the Cleveland Orchestra performs in Severance Hall, located in University Circle on the campus of Case Western Reserve University.
11001 Euclid Avenue, 216.231.1111, www.clevelandorchestra.com
Various concert and event times.


  • Silver aluminum decorates the entire hall and the acoustics are prime, making it a fantastic place to hear a concert.
  • The Cleveland Orchestra packs their schedule with family-friendly events throughout the concert season. Browse the events calendar to find something for the whole family.
  • The Orchestra has two homes. Severance Hall , the orchestra’s winter home is in University Circle. In the summer, picnic with the orchestra at Blossom Music Center, a large outdoor venue.
  • Severance Hall offers free public tours on selected Sundays at 12pm and 1pm during the Severance Hall season. Call 216.231.1111 for reservations. Private tours can be arranged for a fee by calling 216.231.7421.
  • Severance offers on-site parking, dining and a music-inspired gift shop.

The Cleveland Museum of Art in University Circle (view from Wade Lagoon side)

Cleveland Museum of Art

One of the nation’s most preeminent art museums, featuring 6,000 years of the world’s great art and significant special exhibitions. The current expansion project re-imagines the museum.
11150 East Boulevard, 888.CMA.0033, www.clevelandart.org
Open 10am-5pm Tues., Thurs. and Sat. and 10am-9pm Wed. and Fri.


  • The Cleveland Museum of Art is FREE (excepting some special exhibitions)
  • Coming soon are galleries for Asian, antiquities, ancient Americas, medieval European and  Sub-Saharan African art, textiles, and prints and drawings.
  • Head to the second floor to experience CMA’s newly renovated art research library, the 3rd largest in the United States, including 401,918 volumes. Open to the public free everyday for leisurely reading.
  • CMA hosts some of Cleveland’s most popular events, including Parade the Circle

Cleveland Institute of Music
CIM is an internationally known observatory of music boasting a gorgeous recital hall where faculty, visiting musicians and students of the highest caliber perform hundreds of free concerts each year.
11021 East Boulevard, 216.791.5000, www.cim.edu
Various concert and recital times.


  • The public is encouraged to attend one of more than 400 free concerts performed each year by students, faculty and well-known guest musicians.
  • As part of the curriculum at CIM, students are required to perform individual recitals (open to the public) to help prepare them for large audiences.

Read More…

Discover the Unexpected Museums of Cleveland Plus

What would Cleveland Plus be without the renowned, ever-expanding Cleveland Museum of Art? I certainly couldn’t picture the backdrop of the city without our own homage to rock at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum or the gridiron greats at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And, to imagine this region minus A Christmas Story House just makes me sad. But many aren’t familiar with some of Cleveland’s lesser-known museums like the ones dedicated to polka music, policemen and carousels. These niche institutions score big points in uniqueness, diversity and importance to Cleveland Plus.  So, whether you’re a visitor or a local, we’ve got a couple of not-to-be-missed attractions worth an afternoon visit.

Think Manhattan’s the only place to learn fashion? Think again. The Kent State University Fashion Museum explores the history of fashion through its eight galleries featuring changing exhibitions of work by many of the world’s great artists and designers. Closely linked to the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University, the Museum provides visitors a first-hand experience with historic and contemporary fashions, as well as costumes representing many of the world’s cultures. In early October, the museum will feature “Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen.” Pulled from Katharine Hepburn’s personal collection of her stage and screen costumes, the exhibit will explore her fashion influence on the emergence of what is now called “The American Style.”

Uniqueness is certainly the theme at the Merry-Go-Round Museum located in Sandusky (home of Cedar Point Amusement Park). Visitors can expect an entertaining and educational visit that focuses on the art, history, preservation, production and restoration of these beautiful and historic amusement rides. While there, you can even catch a ride on the fully-restored Allan Herschell Carousel with the band organ playing. New for 2010, the museum features an exhibit displaying rare carousel animals from several nationally-known private collections called “Wild!” Think: reindeer, pelicans and buffalo.

During the holiday season, take a trip into holiday cinematic magic at Mark Klaus’ “Holly”wood Christmas Movieland to explore thousands of pieces of holiday movie memorabilia including promotional posters, costumes, props and entire sets. Collected by ornament designer Mark Klaus, “Holly”wood Christmas Movieland comes to life with indoor snow demonstrations and elaborate displays focused on films like The Grinch, Elf and Miracle on 34th Street. The exhibition is not open year-round, so be sure to check their website for location, dates and hours.

Dancing at the Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame.

Take a step into the Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame located in Euclid and you’re instantly surrounded by Cleveland’s polka history. With plaques of big names like Frankie Yankovic, Johnny Pecon and Johnny Vadnal adorning the perimeters, the museum takes visitors on a journey involving legendary oompah bands, vintage accordions, ornate performance costumes and images and video of this post-war, ethnic folk dance that reflected a time of happiness and prosperity. Admission is free to the four-room museum, but it’s always nice to toss a donation their way (or purchase a fabulous polka CD in their gift shop).

Once you’ve perused the Polka Hall of Fame, don’t forget to walk upstairs to the Greater Cleveland Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame and Museum (both museums share the same building).  While primarily focused on local softball heroes of days past, visitors get the opportunity to learn a thing or two about the sport including the start of women’s leagues and the ever-changing equipment used. During my first visit, I had the pleasure of taking a British radio host who’d never played the sport in his life. What fun it was to explain the difference between baseball and softball and watch as he attempted to catch a ball in a mitt for the very first time. The facility is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am-3pm.

BBC reporter Gordon Sparks.

Is baseball more your sport? Make a trip to the Baseball Heritage Museum where fans get a real education on former players and coaches connected with the rich diversity of our American pastime. This display began when Robert Zimmer began displaying Negro Baseball League memorabilia while Cleveland hosted the 1997 MLB All-Star weekend. Nine years later, Zimmer secured a space in the historic Colonial Marketplace (conveniently located near Progressive Field) and opened the small museum.

Regardless of age, ethnicity, religion or creed, all visitors should expect a fascinating, educational experience during a trip the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. Inside the 24,000-square-foot museum, the stories of many of the region’s Jewish people and families–past and present–come to life through state-of-the-art exhibitions, interactive shows and films, oral histories, photographs and artifacts. The ultimate experience is unforgettable and, in my opinion, should be a “must-visit” attraction for visitors and locals alike.

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Kick, Push and Glide

University Circle skating rink at dusk (Photo: KFCrisafi)

University Circle skating rink at dusk (Photo: KFCrisafi)

Winter brings beauty to the Cleveland Plus landscape in many unique ways. Visit the snow-blanketed ski resorts of Peninsula, race the Chalet Toboggan Chutes in the Mill Stream Reservation of the Metroparks, or spy the Hinckley Ohio buzzards coming home to roost in their Medina Township nesting grounds. For fans of frozen sports, one of the more unique winter attractions  has to be the polymer ice skating rink at University Circle’s central park Wade Oval.

“The Rink enjoyed tremendous success in its inaugural year, with more than 10,000 visitors taking advantage of the only outdoor skating rink in Cleveland,” says Sheila Obrycki, director of marketing at University Circle Inc.

Because of its unique plastic polymer surface, The Rink requires no electricity or water to maintain, which means it’s open from November 21 to sometime in March when the weather starts to warm up again. Plus, it skates like real ice, almost indistinguishable when practicing your patented triple lutz for family and friends. And, perhaps best of all–admission is free and skate rentals are only $3, so it’s great budget-friendly fun.

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Summer (Solstice) in the City

Wow. The summer solstice is really heating things up here in Cleveland. There are almost too many things to do this weekend. It’s Father’s Day weekend and I already have tickets to the Lake Erie Crushers on Friday, tickets to laugh along with Joel McHale from The Soup at Lakewood Civic Auditorium and reservations to see actor James Franco at the Cleveland Museum of Art. I just can’t decide where else I’ll be. Here’s a rundown of some of the big happenings:

09CoolCatsBig Cool Cats Steve Presser (owner of Big Fun and Big Fun Cleveland vintage and collectible toy stores), Thomas Mulready (CoolCleveland.com) and singer/songwriter Denis Devito (Cats On Holiday) dreamt up this new all-day music festival—featuring everything from reggae to rock, roots, blues, Cajun, country, alternative pop, ragtime, swing, Afro-electronique, New Orleans Mardi Gras music, traditional Americana and a combination of hip-hop blended with Brazilian bossa nova at Cain Park’s Evans Amphitheater. Go for the sunshine, the music and to support some cats who generally love our city and just want to put together a fun day. Saturday, June 20, noon – 11pm. General admission $40; persons presenting a military ID, senior citizen or student ID or a Friends of Cain Park membership card are eligible to receive a discount.

Summer Solstice Celebration  Welcome the longest day of the year with an all-night party celebrating the new east wing (very cool, by the way) at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Tapas stations, bars and a few surprises. Performers include Hot Club of Detroit, Slavic Soul Party, Dan Deacon and others. Stay the whole night or just close it out ($15 only). Saturday, June 20, 5pm-2am. Reservations are requested for the 5pm and 7pm admissions but are not necessary for 10pm.

Porchfest Porches in Cleveland’s Larchmere neighborhood are being transformed into stages with free musical performances, in the first Larchmere Porchfest. Organized in part by my friend (a musician himself and marketing guy at Telarc records), Jason Linder, the idea came from an annual “porch music” festival in Ithaca, NY. There will be 20 acts, representing a variety of musical styles, performing just off of Shaker Square. Performers include Brent Kirby (from the Jack Fords), Roger Hoover, Clint Holley, Church of the Lazy Bastards, Jesse Barnez, Elec Simon, Russian Duo and Miss Melvis, garage rock. Restaurants like Boulevard Blue, Vine & Bean Cafe, Academy Tavern and Felice are opening early that day for festival-goers to dine or drink. Porchfest, Saturday, June 20, 2-6pm, concludes with a full band, plugged-in concert at Shaker Square from 6-9pm, courtesy of The Coral Company. Free.

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