Heights Arts celebrates community and reimagination

Heights Arts public art projects over the years have included the Coventry Arch, youth center mosaic, and the mural on the back wall of the Cedar-Lee Theatre.

Heights Arts has been working to connect its community with the many literary, visual, craft and musical artists who make Northeast Ohio rich with creative energy. Now, as it begins its 21st year, the organization is looking ahead to future decades. Over the last year, as Heights Arts and the rest of the world waited for a return to “normal,” its board of trustees assembled a group of stakeholders, comprising board members and respected community members, to create a Reimagination Task Force.

The task force engaged a consultant to assist with the process of reaching out to supporters and community members, to help determine the direction of future programming.

With its roots in public art, Heights Arts’ first project, the Coventry PEACE Arch, still stands today in Coventry PEACE park.

Cleveland Heights visitors and residents can view other public art projects around the city, thanks to Heights Arts. They include the Coventry Village benches and fences, the mural on the back of the Cedar Lee Theatre building, and the mosaic installed in collaboration with the former Heights Youth Club at the building at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Lee Road (now the site of Christ Community Church).

Its latest public art installation is a multi-disciplinary project, in collaboration with Heights High students, Heights Arts Haiku Death Match poets, and Heights Libraries. The project, in which students responded with visual art to original haiku, is installed in the form of poetry squares, outside the Lee Road and Coventry Village libraries.

Heights Arts operates a store featuring local art and crafts, and offers four group and four individual exhibitions per year. It presents community concerts, and poetry events through its Random Acts of Art and Ekphrastacy poets and artists talk series. While this programming is robust and varied, Executive Director Rachel Bernstein looks forward to hearing ideas from residents and artists, to further improve how Heights Arts is meeting the needs of its community.
"We are very excited to begin this reimagination process," said Bernstein. "While we were disappointed to suspend our regular programming during the pandemic, it allowed us to take time we might not have had to think about how we can find ways to engage as many people as possible through our programming. And we are looking forward to hearing from a diverse population of not only our steadfast supporters, but those who don’t know us and have never experienced our programming. This will help us identify any barriers that might have kept people from engaging with us in the past, and will help us shape our programming to include them in our future."
The “Barriers to Art” surveys include both a community member and an artist survey. The surveys will be open to area residents and artists through mid-August, then refined to engage a broad response from communities throughout Greater Cleveland. Once the results are compiled, Heights Arts will then begin work to determine next steps throughout its 2021–22 fiscal year. For more information, visit www.heightsarts.org

Megan Gallagher

Megan Gallagher has always been a lover of the arts and is excited to celebrate them in Cleveland Heights, working in marketing for Heights Arts. Contact Gallagher at marketing@heightsarts.org.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:57 AM, 07.30.2021