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In response to the unrest and social justice imperatives that arose in the spring of 2020, in our city and across the country, Cleveland businesses and organizations committed to working through their frustrations with the status quo by engaging local artists, activists and people of color to create positive change though creative, artistic projects throughout Downtown Cleveland as part of the #VoicesofCLE Public Art Project.
Glen Infante, Stina Aleah, Jerome T. White, Rashaun Dillard and Lauren Pearce are just a few of the Cleveland artists that answered the call to inspire, communicate and represent by creating original works of art for #VoicesofCLE.
The first time Stina Aleah tried her hand at art, she was recovering from an injury that temporarily derailed her decorated track and field career. She left corporate America to chase her passion and became a successful artist and entrepreneur, to the surprise of no one.
While she usually prefers to work on her own, she was moved to step out of her comfort zone and engage with Cleveland’s artist community by the #VoicesofCLE project, and the hope that she could make a difference for her young son.
Education is what Jerome T. White is all about. Whether it’s his year of studying art culminating in a Master’s in Art Education from Case Western Reserve University, or his return to his alma mater at Cleveland Heights High School where he has taught art for close to 25 years, sharing his passion and love of art with others is an essential part of his life.
Jerome’s art is about connecting with a higher power and connecting with history. Deeply influenced by Cleveland’s important role in the Underground Railroad as “Station Hope,” his involvement in #VoicesofCLE is part of his larger mission to “enlighten the world around (him) with history, culture, the human condition, with our existence.”
A graduate of Cleveland School of the Arts, artist and muralist Rashaun Dillard knows the power and importance of using art as a platform for messages of hope and change. “I’d like to use my art to share the message of unity, our community experiencing tough times yet coming together in the aftermath to promote a change that we can use to teach and heal each other."
A natural introvert, Rashaun knew that he had to use his talent and speak up in this moment. "I feel it’s important to share my voice because it’s a tumultuous time and everyone has a wide variety of emotions we’re all trying to convey. Everyone doesn’t have an outlet. I use my art to let others know I see you and you’re not alone.”
Lauren Pearce pulls inspiration from her community to create powerful mixed media art, including murals that feature iconic shapes and colors that captivate anyone walking by. She has a passion for expressing her identity, which led her to art school at a young age. At 24, she began her professional career as an artist, where she uses an array of materials in her work and transfers her world and her imagination to her paintings through the use of the colorful language of identity, race and womanhood.
Image © Wil Lindsey
Already a celebrated mural artist (you may have seen his Ohio City mural of Prince holding a donut), Glen Infante was commissioned by Browns star Myles Garrett to create “Cleveland is the Reason” as part of the #VoicesofCLE project. A mural depicting personalities from sports, culture and music that helped shape the heart and soul of our city including Toni Morrison, Tracy Chapman, Jesse Owens, Jim Brown, Machine Gun Kelly and LeBron James, Infante wanted to ensure that these artists and athletes that found success in their fields were recognized and thanked for their imprint on our city. You can see the mural outside the Cleveland Visitors Center.
Head to the #VoicesofCLE Public Art Project website for more information on #VoicesofCLE artists and information on where their work is currently installed.
And if you’re looking for more bold, vibrant Street Art, you’ve come to the right city. Check out some of the amazing murals you can find all around Cleveland.