When arts and cultural organizations were closed in 2020 due the pandemic, LAND studio found a way for people to immerse themselves in Cleveland’s public art scene through its social media campaign, The City is Our Museum.
The campaign was so successful that Land studio last week introduced yet another way to experience Cleveland’s expansive public art and public spaces virtually—with a new app, The City is Our Museum—which features several self-guided neighborhood tours as an opportunity for Clevelanders to explore their city this spring and summer.
The City is Our Museum app promotes the exploration of Cleveland’s expansive public art and public spaces, says Tara Turner, LAND studio’s senior director of development and communications.
“There is nothing like this,” Turner says. “We have all these wonderful artists featured around the city, and sharing their work and their stories—that’s kind of the impetus for the City is Our Museum app.”
The app currently has five tours: Buckeye Shaker, the Central neighborhood, the near West Side, MidTown, and the Cleveland Walls! mural festival. Users can learn about the art they’re seeing, the artists who created the works, have opportunities to follow those artists on social media, and even see media clips associated with the piece.
Turner says Land studio plans add additional neighborhood tours throughout the summer.
The vision for the app is to connect residents and visitors to Cleveland’s ever-expanding public art collection, highlighting the beauty in the city’s neighborhoods, as well as include other notable sites related to the city’s history and infrastructure that residents might explore.
Two Land studio interns, Jess Long, and Lauryn Smith, who are working on their post-graduate work in art history at Case Western Reserve University spent last summer collecting and compiling the information on the artists who contributed to these various Cleveland landmarks. FreshWater managing photographer Bob Perkoski provided most of the photos on the works and their locations.
“Now we’re going to answer some of the questions you’ve always asked—who made that?” Turner says, adding that intern Long wrote many of the tombstones (information placards) for each stop on the tours. “Without her, this would not have happened. This is her baby.”
The app was funded by PNC Bank and an anonymous donor who, after downloading a paper map on the City is Our Museum virtual tour via social media last year, approached LAND studio about improving the experience.
“A major donor and his wife downloaded a PDF of the Gordon Square tour on a ratty piece of paper,” Turner recalls. “And he said, ‘we want to offer some support to make this better.’”