October 30, 2008
Cleveland Public Art (CPA) is pleased to announce the unveiling of a redeveloped park in Cleveland’s Buckeye neighborhood. The park, newly laid out with added greenspace and fresh landscaping, features four new public artworks. CPA, Neighborhood Progress, Inc. (NPI), the Buckeye Area Development Corporation (BADC), ParkWorks, and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) implemented a comprehensive strategy for transforming the park, now known as the Art and Soul of Buckeye Community Park, at the intersection of East 118th Street and Buckeye Road. The transformation improves the park’s usefulness as both a venue for major community events and a backdrop for the everyday comings and goings of neighborhood life. Construction for the project concluded in July 2008, just in time for BADC’s annual Soul of Buckeye series of music festivals.
The park’s redesign, which will also result in the relocation of an RTA bus stop designed to the standards of RTA’s transit waiting environments (TWE) program, was led by McKnight and Associates of Cleveland. CPA coordinated a call for artists that resulted in photographer Chip Carter, then of Cleveland, and muralist Francisca Ugalde of Hudson being chosen to produce temporary (two-to-five-year) installations for the two major building walls that face the park. In addition, CPA commissioned two artists, Angelica Pozo of Cleveland and James Simon of Pittsburgh, to design permanent public art elements for the new park.
This project is part of a comprehensive BADC-led strategy that includes major redevelopment initiatives along Buckeye Road and the neighborhood’s enhancement and promotion as an arts and cultural district. A dedication ceremony for the park will take place at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, September 9, 2008.
About the Artwork and the Artists
Seating Wall by Angelica Pozo
Angelica Pozo’s tiled seating wall and chessboards bring added color to the park and enhance its ability to visually engage park users and passersby. Various musical instruments, from the flugelhorn to the grand piano are playfully depicted in the tilework, and the work as a whole appears both formal and free spirited.
Angelica has lived in Cleveland since 1984. A full-time, self-employed artist, she divides her time among widely exhibited sculptural studio work, major public art commissions, and education-oriented artist residencies. She has been awarded individual-artist fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Buckeye Trumpet Man by James Simon
The 16-foot-tall Trumpet Man and the little dog watching him from afar are the iconic centerpieces of the park’s new incarnation. With their massive scale and intricate details, the concrete sculptures, designed specifically for the site, are dramatic in the daylight and at night, when they are lighted from below.
Pittsburgh artist James Simon has been sculpting for 20 years, and his work can be found worldwide. His sculptures speak to a diverse population and range in size from small desktop pieces to large public art commissions. He works in a variety of mediums, including ceramic, concrete, bronze, and mosaic. (Photo source: Greg Ruffing)
Buckeye Mural Project by Francisca Ugalde and Chip Carter
Two murals, on walls facing the park, were installed in 2007, in anticipation of the park’s reconstruction. The two artists, painter Francisca Ugalde and photographer William “Chip” Carter, were chosen from among the nearly 20 artists who submitted proposals.
Francisca’s colorful mural, a mix of painting and collage, went up in July 2007, and Chip’s photo mural, made up of five individual pieces by him and associates Greg Ruffing and Scott Sykes, went up a few months later. Francisca’s mural comprises several 4-by-8-foot panels stretching along a wall. She rented studio space in Midtown specifically to carry out this project. The photographs in Chip’s installation are drawn from life in Buckeye and neighborhood life in general.
Chilean-born Francisca now lives, works, and attends school in Northeast Ohio. Chip, who is also a law professor, was a lifelong Clevelander before relocating to Philadelphia last year.
CPA’s Project Partners
As noted above, CPA and three area nonprofit organizations—NPI, BADC, and ParkWorks—worked with each other and RTA to revitalize the park, a neighborhood asset.
Neighborhood Progress, Inc.
NPI’s Strategic Investment Initiative (SII) focuses on six neighborhoods that have developed plans for stimulating market recovery and improving the quality of life to create neighborhoods of choice. Since fall of 2005, CPA has worked with NPI and community development corporations in the SII neighborhoods, one of which is Buckeye, to identify and prioritize potential public art improvements.
Buckeye Area Development Corporation
BADC is the community development corporation that assists the Buckeye neighborhood through housing and commercial development and community organizing. BADC works with its neighborhood residents and merchants and city government to build a stronger community.
BADC is the lead organization in efforts to revitalize the Buckeye neighborhood. One strategy it has embraced is bringing the arts—visual and performing—into the picture. The presence of the arts is now hard to miss as one travels through the neighborhood, and further additions to the neighborhood art scene are on the horizon.
ParkWorks promotes neighborhood and downtown revitalization through the development and programming of public spaces. ParkWorks believes that vibrant parks and public spaces, compelling streetscapes, a thriving and energized downtown, and neighborhoods with character and urban appeal contribute to the vitality of Cleveland.
ParkWorks focuses on four major program areas—its geographic focus areas, including downtown Cleveland, city neighborhoods, and University Circle—and its Building Cleveland by Design program, a joint initiative with CPA aimed at enhancing the quality and sustainability of development in the region.
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
RTA is the public transportation system for Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. Its buses and trains carry nearly 60 million passengers per year—nearly half of all transit riders in Ohio. In recent years, RTA has embarked on an ambitious plan, the TWE initiative referred to above, to add amenities and improve conditions at the thousands of bus stops it maintains in its 458-square-mile service area.
About Cleveland Public Art
CPA, an independent, nonprofit organization nearing its 25th anniversary, works to improve public spaces through art and design. CPA moves art outside of museum walls and into the public realm, making it accessible to the entire community and part of everyday city life.
CPA believes that high quality public spaces are essential to building healthy cities and neighborhoods. By actively engaging the public, artists, designers, and decision-makers, CPA works collaboratively to enhance the quality of life in Cleveland.
In its history, CPA has worked with more than 200 local and national artists and has completed projects in some of the city’s most visible public spaces as well as in its most underserved communities.
CPA is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, the Ohio Arts Council: a State agency that supports public programs in the arts, The Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, and our individual donors.
Funding for the Art and Soul of Buckeye Community Park project was generously provided by the Saint Luke’s Foundation, the Charter One Foundation, NPI, RTA, the Neighborhood Connections program of The Cleveland Foundation, and the City of Cleveland’s City Works grant program.