Cleveland has a history when it comes to art. With the internationally known Cleveland Museum of Art that dates back to 1913 to countless schools and community centers that include art as a major portion of their curriculum, it is no wonder that this energy spills out into the public domain. What follows are some stunning examples of public murals in Cleveland. From murals that are over 90 years old to one where the paint is hardly dry, Cleveland loves its art.
2355 E. 89th St.
Cleveland, OH 44106
This is the newest mural to be unveiled in Cleveland (as of July 31, 2013). The work was commissioned by Sankofa Fine Art Plus (a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing, educating and advocating for African American and other underrepresented visual artists through community collaboration). Kent Twitchell is the artist/designer who, with the help of an army of artist apprentices and community members, used a grid system of his design to map out the 40’ x 36’ mural of famed Karamu alumni Ruby Dee and saw the work to its completion.
Howard Hanna Reality
12435 Cedar Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
For 10 years, this pleasant scene has been a landmark at the corner of Cedar and Surrey Road in Cleveland Heights. Although the original artist’s name is lost in time, it is believed that the mural was inspired by a turn-of-the-century photograph taken near the intersection. The vibrant colors and sharp detail still inspire pedestrians to pause and closely inspect the artwork.
RTA University Circle Rapid and Bus Station
11100 Cedar Glen Parkway
Cleveland, OH 44106
Completed in 2008 by artist Hector Vega with the help from student and faculty volunteers from nearby Case Western Reserve University, this 12’ x 200’ mural is a vignette of some of the high points of Cleveland. Included in the mural is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Browns Helmet, the Cleveland Indians script “I”, college students with caps and gowns (CWRU), a dinosaur (Natural History Museum), a butterfly (Botanical Garden), an RTA Rapid Train, a violin (Cleveland Orchestra), a peace sign, a happy face and more.
Related: Best Permament Exhibits In Cleveland
Beck Center for the Arts
17801 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
Commissioned by TravelArt owner Paul Sykes and painted by Natasha Turovsky, the mural “Marathon” (a 17’ x 51’ canvas) was installed in May of 2012 at the Beck Center for the Arts. The work joins two other Turovsky works installed outside the Beck Center – “Night at the Opera” (a 16’ x 33’ canvas) and “Beck Stage” (a 18’ x 22’ canvas) – making them what is believed to be the largest outdoor canvas murals in the country.
The State Theatre Lobby
1519 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44155
The State Theatre on PlayhouseSquare originally opened on February 5, 1921 and featured a series of three linked lobbies that totaled 320 feet in length and ran from the theater to Euclid Avenue. In the main theater lobby, four murals were painted by James Daugherty entitled “The Spirit of Pageantry—Africa,” “The Spirit of Drama—Europe,” “The Spirit of Cinema—America” and “The Spirit of Fantasy—Asia.” After the theater closed in February 2, 1969, just three days short of its 48th anniversary, the theater and lobbies fell into disrepair. A huge restoration project was undertaken and the theater reopened in 1984. PlayhouseSquare is now booming with over 80 productions scheduled for this coming season.
Mark Horning is a freelance writer covering all things Cleveland. His work can be found on Examiner.com.