Art as Experience
Parade the Circle and Solstice Are Just Two of Cleveland’s Cool Art FestsBy Keith Gribbins
Some art sits quietly. It hangs beautifully on walls, perches neatly on pedestals, or lives in pristinely-regulated, glass-encased environments only to be viewed from a safe distance. Other art lives and lives loudly. It dances, pulsates, screams, laughs, and occasionally jumps in your face to prove the creative spirit is still kicking and breathing in the world of the living.
These various forms of inspirational art take on new life during the Cleveland summer months, when art institutions and festivals all over Northeast Ohio open their doors to celebrate creativity with a little fresh air. A great example is the Cleveland Museum of Art — a local cultural leader in all categories of creativity — which continues to keep its general admission free. The museum just finished a $320 million renovation of its gorgeous neoclassical building in University Circle with, among other things, an amazing glass atrium and new wings. It’s also home to a jaw-dropping collection of more than 45,000 works of art, spanning some 5,000 years. But sometimes that art spills out into the streets of University Circle, which is also home to Cleveland’s art, education, music, and science community from the Cleveland Botanical Garden to the Cleveland Orchestra.
Specifically, two big events launch the Cleveland Museum of Art’s “live” summer celebrations — Parade the Circle and Circle Village (June 14) and Solstice (June 21). Celebrating 25 years in 2014, Parade the Circle remakes University Circle into a free-for-all art fest, replete with parade and giant puppets. International and local artists join greater Cleveland families, schools, and community groups in a display of bright costumes, massive puppets, stilt-dancers, and colorful floats. Nearby Circle Village, which includes art activities, entertainment, and food, is presented by University Circle Inc.
Exactly one week later, art meets melody at the sixth annual Solstice, a sell-out event, which brings globe-trotting musicians to the steps of the museum. Enjoy the best in world music with bands and DJs going simultaneously on two stages inside and outside from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., or just wander the galleries and get a sneak peak at the upcoming exhibition, Yoga: The Art of Transformation, while enjoying fine food and drink. These are just two examples of how Cleveland’s unique mixture of visual and performance art is reanimating the creative culture of Northeast Ohio. Here are four more:
One of the coziest enclaves shines every second Friday of the month at the Tremont ArtWalk. Besides funky galleries and unique storefronts, the art walk frequently offers perks like wine tastings and live music.
Cain Park Arts Festival
This is a juried fine arts and crafts event, featuring the work of up to 150 artists in Cleveland Height’s gorgeous Cain Park. Find everything from hand-pulled prints and leather crafts to free live music and a wine and beer tasting.
Murray Hill Art Walk
Three times a year, typically the first weekends of June, October, and December, Little Italy’s art studios and galleries open their doors and take over the sidewalks; this neighborhood is also home to some of the city’s best Italian dining.
Every third Friday of the month, the 78th Street Studios opens its doors for a spirited free-for-all during which visitors can browse 40-plus studios and art galleries, indulge in food truck fare, and support various local artists.