Year-round, the Cleveland Plus tapestry of art, culture, music and food puts on its most vibrant and immersive display at the region’s many festivals and gallery hops, but with the onset of strolling weather, now’s the time to fully dive in and explore the offerings at two of the city’s most famous art walks.
On the East Side, the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday weekend each June find the historic Murray Hill neighborhood transformed by the ever-growing Little Italy Art Walk into an all-senses-enriching experience of dance, song, dining, wine tasting and more than 100 art exhibits.
You’ll find dozens of galleries, studios and specialty shops offering limitless exploration, from the Verne Gallery and its renowned Japanese art collection to Galeria Quetzal’s Hispanic folk crafts to the locally-championed Brian Jones Gallery.
And when it’s time to eat, more than 20 neighborhood restaurants mean a great meal, whether you’re in the mood for the rich Italian tradition of La Dolce Vita, the pastries of century-old Presti’s Bakery, or the new Asian cuisine of Tea House Noodles.
Across town, the near west-side Tremont ArtWalk has been a second-Friday-of-the-month institution since 1993, with an eclectic flavor and a close-knit feel all its own. What started as a seven-business combination of energy and resources has since involved more than 20 neighborhood businesses every month – a rotation of participants keeps things constantly fresh – and showcased the works of more than 1000 different artists.
From the recently-opened Aperture Photography and Variety Store to the studios of fourth-generation artist Rob Hartshorn to the mouthwatering creations at Lilly Handmade Chocolates, creativity and craftsmanship are around every corner.
That goes for the Tremont kitchens, too, whether you’re in the mood for the spicy southwest menu of Grumpy’s Cafe or something more out-there, like The South Side’s grilled German bologna on a pretzel roll.
And it’s all just a few steps away.
– Submitted by John Booth, guest blogger
EDITOR’S NOTE: We talked to a few notable Clevelanders and asked them what they liked about Northeast Ohio. Here’s Derek Hess, renowned music industry artist.
Were you born in Cleveland?
I was born in University Circle.
And what part of town do you live in now?
I live downtown off Superior in a warehouse close to the Plain Dealer building. I’m digging it. I’ve been three years now.
What’s the best thing about your neighborhood?
It’s a really wide street so it’s easy to make u-turns. Slyman’s Restaurant is a few blocks over and of course I dig Slyman’s.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
I like the Mad Greek in Cleveland Heights. I’m 46 and getting up there. I was going to that place in the sixth grade. That just shows that a good restaurant lasts. That place has been around for decades.
What do you like best about living in Cleveland?
I have a handful of things. Number one, we live on one of the Great Lakes. One thing that’s important is that they’re the largest source of fresh water in the world. That resource is going to be one of the most desirable things in the next 50 years if not in the next decade. Our water isn’t going anywhere. Houston is out of water, L.A. is out of water and Las Vegas is out of water. Deserts weren’t made to have millions of people living there. Also, the sports teams are great. I live and die by the Browns. They play right on the lake and it’s an open air stadium on a natural turf. I like all of that. I like the climate, the season changes. We’re blessed with that. Nothing gets stagnant. The location is great. We’re not too far from the East Coast. We’re close to Chicago. A lot of businesses can be run from Cleveland and be successful without the expenses of a larger metropolitan area. Those are a few of the things I really dig.
Museums Galore: Discover the Unexpected Arts + Culture of Cleveland Plus!
Each year, more than 2.5 million people make their way to Cleveland’s University Circle. As the nation’s most concentrated square mile of arts and cultural institutions, this thriving neighborhood offers experiences from art and history to music and natural beauty all within walking distance.
And, while University Circle remains the area’s hub of arts and culture, hundreds of wonderful historical, cultural and artistic museums and institutions exist throughout the entire region offering unparalleled educational and learning opportunities. Here are just a few lesser known museums:
- Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Society -Explore the culture of Hungary and Hungarian-Americans through exhibitions and programming.
- Dunham Tavern Museum – Once a stagecoach stop, this museum offers a glimpse into the life of early settlers.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland – Learn about money and value through interactive games and exhibits.
- Hale Farm & Village – A 19th-century outdoor history museum specializing in living history, crafts and real farm.
- Historic Roscoe Village – Living history tours, horse-drawn canal boat ride and shopping in this restored historic village.
- International Women’s Air + Space Museum – Discover the achievements of female pilots and astronauts.
- Kent State University Museum – Eight galleries showcasing major fashion collections and decorative art.
- Kirtland Temple Visitors Center – The first temple established by Joseph Smith and his Mormon followers is now a free museum.
- Louis Stokes Museum – Chronicles the life of Congressman Stokes from his rise out of public housing to becoming a political hero.
- Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage – A moving historical showcase of the region’s Jewish community.
- Maritime Museum of Sandusky – Interactive exhibits explore region’s maritime history of boat building, fishing and ice harvesting.
- MAPS Air Museum – Preserves and exhibits all forms of aviation artifacts.
- USS COD Submarine Memorial – Tour this real WWII submarine
- Western Reserve Model Railroad Museum – Largest model railroad museum in the world.
– Submitted by L.R.H.
As the show opens, a former spelling bee winner and hostess of the “bee” introduces the six spelling finalists. (And be forewarned, following the opening number, four audience members are brought up on stage to participate in the spelling bee through the first act.) Throughout the show, we learn more about the spelling bee finalists: their backgrounds, family life, present fears and future aspirations. One by one, the finalists are eliminated to the moment when the new Putnam County Spelling Bee winner is announced. The show is cute, endearing and funny, and it reminds us all what it was like to be a “little kid in a big world.”
I saw the touring production of this show when it came to PlayhouseSquare two years ago. I have to say that I actually enjoyed this performance a little more. The set design was even better than that of the touring production. The Beck Center is a more intimate setting, which gives this show a very different feel from those put on in a larger theater. The smaller venue actually made me feel as though I was really attending a spelling bee. Overall, performances were excellent and the humor of the show and that of the actors/characters keep me laughing in my seat the entire time.
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
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
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!)
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
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.
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.
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.