Entries in Cleveland (2)

Sunday
May042014

Station Hope

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.

Wednesday
Feb082012

Started with the bebop, but everything is connected

Sunday's Plain Dealer featured an article about Doan's Corners, Cleveland's "second downtown". This happens to be the neighborhood where my parents lived when I was born and was featured in the first piece, 44102 in my project Every Place I have ever lived - The foreclosure crisis in twelve neighborhoods. Every Place is currently installed at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus OH and will be opening at the Argus Museum in Ann Arbor MI on September 28, 2012

In the 40's and 50's Doan's Corners was the home to theaters and clubs, including Lindsay's Sky Bar, one of the great jazz clubs. Turns out it was owned by the parents of one of my Precious Objects subjects Bonnie D. Bonnie was a complete stranger to me when she participated. Friends keep on prodding me to do a project based upon my love of jazz music. While this remains to be done, I love the connection here. Lindsay's was gone by the time I became interested in jazz music in the early sixties. Pretty much the only club still open in the neighborhood was La Cave which featured folk music. I was lucky enough to hear the Stoneman Family and a very young Jose Feliciano at La Cave. The article also mentions the Jazz Temple which it wrongly locates. The Jazz Temple, only open for a couple of years, was located about a mile a way on the site where MOCA Cleveland is now being constructed. Another connection. While pretty young, I was able to hear some stunning music at the Jazz Temple an experience which certainly changed my life. It too was featured in Every Place on the third piece in the series, 44121.

There is a clear line between Lindsay's, The Jazz Temple and the next club in line, Leo's Casino, when you chart the history of jazz in Cleveland. How fortunate for me that Bonnie, a friend of a friend, allowed me one more way to benefit from it.