You are invited to welcome RAFT Coexist to Cleveland Heights
On Aug. 7, a new art installation will be unveiled in the Cedar Fairmount neighborhood of Cleveland Heights. RAFT: Coexist is a 12’ x 8’ semi-permanent wooden platform for rest, contemplation and community. Tiffany Laufer, a filmmaker, artist and resident of Cedar Fairmount, created RAFT together with her neighbors Kristin Hopkins, Emily Dunford Hubbard, William C. Laufer and Victoria Mills. The group envisions it as piece that will highlight a place in their neighborhood and create platform for people to rest, be present in the moment and coexist in nature harmoniously and comfortably.
RAFT will debut at noon on Sunday, Aug. 7, at the corner of Bellfield Avenue, West St. James Parkway and North Park Boulevard. All are invited to visit RAFT from noon to 5 p.m., coinciding with the 15th Annual Cedar Fairmount Summer Festival taking place at the same time. The installation will remain in place throughout the fall pending inclement weather.
"In Cleveland Heights, we are a diverse community of race, cultures and socio economic levels," said Laufer. "Raft is a symbol of that diversity—and that on this RAFT in Cleveland Heights we come together, we travel together to new views and collective experiences to new places and destinations as a people and a community as a whole."
Laufer explained that a raft can be two things, a place for recreation such as at a swimming pool, or it can be a tool for saving lives, such as when it is used as a flotation device. “Both have a place in society and in our lives,” she said. “What if RAFT could be both for our community? RAFT can help us coexist by bringing us together to rest, to talk, to meet and know our community and our nature—better in a physical and tangible way."
The location for RAFT is a vacant parcel of land that had been an informal garden created and maintained by a former resident of North Park Manor Apartments, which it adjoins. The land is owned by both the cities of Cleveland Heights and Cleveland.
Laufer created a video to explain her concept for RAFT, which can be viewed at http://ulysseadesigngroup.weebly.com/.
The RAFT project was made possible by the RAFT Coexist team, the City of Cleveland Heights, the City of Cleveland, Land Studio and FutureHeights. The project was awarded a FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grant because it was designed to activate a vacant lot in a neighborhood and bring people together to build community through art.
The next FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grant application deadline is Sept. 15. For more information and to apply, visit: http://www.futureheights.org/programs/community-building-programs/.
Sruti Basu is director of Community Building Programs at FutureHeights.