(Click on any image on the galleries below to browse through.)
A giant postcard-style mural reading “Greetings from Cleveland” (by Victor Ving and Lisa Beggs) welcomes visitors to Ohio City—and sets the tone that all of Cleveland has become a vibrant canvas for public art.
Ohio City/Detroit Shoreway
Start your art appreciation right there in Ohio City, where Ohio’s largest mural stretches 620 feet long beneath the Shoreway, courtesy of Brazilian artist Ananda Nahu. Other highlights near the Shoreway include the “Love Doves” mural and a giant ode to Prince—both labors of love by local artists. For some global flavor, don’t miss the “Flying Tiger” mural created by Italian-born German artist Michela Picchi.
The Ohio City art appreciation tour continues in Hingetown along Church Avenue, where Mike Sobeck’s “Pizza” mural provides a visual dose of gooey goodness and Joe Lanzilotta’s bright yellow mural provides food for thought with dozens of floating heads. At West 25th Street and Church, the nameless mural dubbed “Ohio Hieroglyphics” by David Shillinglaw is a fun Insta snap.
Nearby in Detroit Shoreway, two-for-one visual fun awaits at 6805 Detroit Ave.—where Justin Michael Will’s “Cartoon Mural” adds a whimsical touch and Lisa Quine’s mural dares Clevelanders to “Dream Big.” It’s all part of a project that brought eight new murals to the neighborhood in 2018, such as Ryan Jaenke’s entry on the western side of the Butcher Building at 6814 W. Detroit Ave.
Heading westward to La Villa Hispana, John Rivera-Resto’s “It’s Up to Us” mural not only depicts the diversity and resilience of the community but has an inspiring backstory—having been lovingly restored after being defaced in 2017.
Much like the west side, Cleveland’s near east side has plenty of Insta-worthy offerings. Karamu House pays homage to famous alumna “Ruby Dee” with a 40-foot rendition of the actress created by Kent Twitchell, while “Maya Angelou” hails the influential author on the side of Nikki’s Barbershop on Buckeye Road.
In Hough, see what happens when a community comes together with the impressive “Unity and Community” mural, painted by illustrator Christopher Darling and a group of Kent State University design students to depict self-portraits drawn by people in a correctional facility. Nearby in Kinsman, a sprawling “Black Lives Matter”mural covers East 93rd Street between Bessemer and Heath Avenues, representing a labor of love and important activism by area artists.
St. Clair-Superior/Glenville/Collinwood/Old Brooklyn/Slavic Village
Be sure to stop by Graffiti HeART gallery in St. Clair-Superior, spotlighting graffiti and street artists on the rise (with its own RISK-painted mural wrapping the exterior of the building). You’ll also want to seek out the thought-provoking “Our Lives Matter” mural in Glenville by Gary Williams and Robin Robinson (both proteges of Twitchell).
And don’t even think about skipping the Collinwood neighborhood, where the Zoetic Walls project created more than 20 murals. (See them all via a self-guided walking tour available on the Waterloo Arts website.) The Pop Life yoga studio is a must-see, featuring an exterior completely covered by global art phenom Camille Walala.
South of the city, more murals await in the Old Brooklyn and Slavic Village neighborhoods. In the former, snap a pic with the “Stay Strong, Cleveland” mural at Sabor Miami, then stay to enjoy delicious Latin cuisine in the equally colorful café. In the latter, take a walk on the Morgana Run trail, home to multiple murals and the 35-foot RotaFlora sculpture, which resembles a dandelion and is made from bicycle rims. Finally, “A World Built of Sweat and Steel” at 7835 Broadway Ave. tells the industrial origin story of Slavic Village going back as far as the late 1800s.
DID YOU KNOW? The #VoicesofCLE initiative kicked off in 2020 to empower local artists, fuel self-expression and matchmake them with local businesses eager to bring public art to the forefront.