Station Hope is another name for St John’s Church. St. John’s is the oldest standing consecrated building in Cleveland, dedicated in 1836. It is not far from my home. The church was a stop on the Underground Railroad, hence the name.
On Saturday April 26 there was an event at the church which was motivated by the leadership of the city councilman, Joe Cimperman and put on by my friends at Cleveland Public Theater. About two months ago they enlisted the arts community to participate. At the event was a diverse array of performance and visual arts for the event and over 2000 attendees. I was there with my collaborator, Inda Blatch-Gelb, with two examples of a project we have started called Station Hope : Bound. We are bringing people together from both the neighborhood and anyone who has any ties to the church. Inda is casting the clasped hands of two strangers from these groups and while the casting material is setting, I am photographing them “bound” together. We then do a short interview asking for them to talk about the church. The work is being done in the sanctuary and we are seeking volunteers for future sessions.
How appropriate that this all started at this time of the year as we have just celebrated the Easter and Passover holidays. Easter is about rebirth and Passover is about the trip out of slavery. Perfect.
There are a lot of themes here as we look at one of many churches in Cleveland that have an uncertain future due to the city being so much smaller than it was at its peak. The story has a long arc that begins in 1836 and continues on.
It was a great night and am very excited about this new project.