Photo by Anna Oprisch

MidTown volunteer Carolina Anton, (left) urban planner Joyce Huang (back) and CDI director of programming Rachel Oscar (right) put another base coat of color on the edge of the Euclid Avenue bridge on Saturday, Oct. 21.

 

 

Oct. 30, 2017

Euclid Avenue bridge will send message of international welcome

Two Cleveland neighborhood districts joined forces to organize a mural on the Euclid Avenue bridge between East 24th and East 30th Street, with the intention to create a connected space that displays a message of international welcome.

The Campus District, Inc. (CDI) and MidTown Cleveland District are nonprofit, community development corporations tasked with beautification, streetscapes and housing and business improvements for their districts.

The CDI office is located on campus,   directly to the left inside the Levin College of Urban Affairs on Euclid Avenue.
Where the Campus District, Inc. service area ends on East 30th Street, the MidTown Cleveland district begins.  This overlap spurred the collaborative effort to beautify the surrounding area.

“The thought was that we have this big stretch of land that covers the highway, and if you’re driving or walking [it] is not great to look at, and this is an opportunity to bring some color and some vibrancy to the area,” said Rachel Oscar, director of programming and community development for CDI.

Those who think a mural happens by buying paint and diving in, are mistaken.

Diana Hasrouni, economic and communication coordinator at CDI, had the task of recruiting international students to participate in photo shoots to give the artist reference photos for the art. 

Photo shoots extended over five days to focus on students from Cleveland State, Cuyahoga Community College and the Campus International School, grades K- eight.

Hasrouni described it as a challenge to find students who wanted to participate in the photo shoot, but her favorite part of the process was seeing the expressions and enthusiasm of the students who did participate. Students were teaching each other about their cultures and brought their own ethnic clothes for the shoot.
She noted one Muslim student brought multiple traditional outfits to be photographed in so she could accurately represent her culture.

The mural project also included creating a committee of members from CDI and MidTown Cleveland to choose the theme of the bridge and choose an artist for the job.

The committee chose Darius Steward, a St. Ignatius art teacher, for the large scale project.  Because the bridge lacks wall space, the plan is to photograph as many international students as possible, and then Steward will create a painting that melds all of the photographs together. His piece will then be digitized and printed on a windscreen to hang on the fence that scales both sides of the bridge.

“The committee, prior to putting out the call for artists, had decided that the theme of the bridge they wanted was international welcoming,” Oscar said,  “in part because CSU has a really robust international student population, and especially in this political climate, now more than ever it’s important to be reminded that people are welcome here.”

This digital mural does not mean that there is any shortage of painting.  Volunteers have already painted the concrete edge of the bridge with bright colors.
The Cleveland State softball team contributed its painting skills on Thursday, Oct. 18.

Bailee Gray, a junior softball player participated in the event.
“It was such a great experience! My team and I are grateful that we were able to be a part of the painting that reflects on our community,” she said.
Organizers said the painting project should be completed within the month of November.



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