The Music Settlement, the 101 year old music institution from University Circle will broaden its reach as it plans to come to Ohio City, specifically Detroit Avenue, in 2014. The owners of the Cleveland Bop Stop donated their building to the Music Settlement to enable educational programming and a performance space in the 4,000 square foot concert space. The Bop Stop previously operated as a jazz concert venue. The organization serves 4,500 with classes and programs for infants, preschoolers, junior and high school students and adults. At their new west side location they will offer after school programs, music therapy and concerts.

The new energy at the Bop Stop will add to the exciting momentum on Detroit Avenue and in the the neighborhood. It complements the surrounding Transformer Station Gallery, ICA Art Conservation and other creative businesses nearby.

If Ohio City is an artisan neighborhood, then Mike Kaplan and Chris McGillicutty of the Glass Bubble Project are its original artisans.

Established in 1998, the Glass Bubble Project pre-dates most of trendy bars and restaurants that have become the lifeblood of the West 25th nightlife corridor. Built around 1920, the building formerly housed Diamond Welding, and later became a band practice space. It wasn’t a particularly welcoming location, which was just fine for a couple of artists looking to set up shop. “When we got here,” said Chris, “the place was full of old tires.”

The Cleveland Museum of Art’s successful Ohio City Stages program, which debuted this summer with a series of free outdoor concerts at the Transformer Station at West 29th and Church, continues this fall with a new series of performances. 

“The Transformer Station will be a space for adventurous music as much as adventurous visual art,” says Tom Welsh, Associate Director of Music Programming at CMA. “This is the museum’s great strength and role to play – this is something different, I think, a pretty terrific series of first-class international artists.”

The concerts, which will be held inside the Transformer Station, are intimate, mostly solo performances with limited seating. They are intended to showcase artists that typically do not appear in Cleveland, especially ones whose work is not easily categorized. Tickets cost $20 ($18 for members) and concerts begin at 7:30 pm.

The summer months are arguably the best and busiest time time of year in Ohio City. There is something for everyone, every day of the week, from live music and unique outdoor entertainment to family-friendly programming that makes good use of wonderful neighborhood parks like Fairview and Greenwood. Take advantage of all of the summer happenings in our neighborhood!

Quietly tucked away in the northeast corner of our neighborhood sits one of the most storied churches in all of Ohio. St. John’s, built in 1836, is the oldest church in Cuyahoga County, and one of the oldest in the state. For the past 177 years, St. John’s has been a spiritual home to mayors, senators, ambassadors, and captains of industry – but its real significance is for serving as a home to those without power, prestige, or prominence. St. John’s – through its abolitionist parishioners and the citizens of Ohio City – became known as Station Hope, a temporary refuge for those seeking freedom along the Underground Railroad. Yet, this national landmark has sat empty for too long.

Ohio City will once again be transformed on Wednesday nights this July as the Cleveland Museum of Art launches a free summer arts series. CMA Ohio City Stages, presented by Charter One, will bring acclaimed global music artists to a stage on the blocks surrounding The Transformer Station.

In addition to the diverse, award-winning musicians, films by contemporary artists will be shown on the Transformer Station lawn at West 29th and Church. Food and beverage will be available for purchase at the event.

CMA Ohio City Stages has been spearheaded by Bellwether, a project of CMA’s Contemporary Arts Society.

The Brews + Prose reading series at Market Garden Brewery on West 25th Street ain’t exactly your typical author reading. While most readings take place in quiet libraries or bookstore basements, this one is held in Ohio City’s hottest new bar, bringing together great literature and craft beer.

“There’s a gap between the hushed, almost church-like readings of universities and libraries and the places you can enjoy yourself and have a glass of beer,” says Dave Lucas, a poet and Lyndhurst resident who spearheaded the event with Market Garden Brewery to celebrate talented Cleveland authors.

“We want to remind people that literature is fun,” he adds. “Readings shouldn’t be the broccoli of literary life, yet you shouldn’t have to sacrifice quality.”

If you’ve seen the striking new mural that overlooks Market Square Park, you’ve probably noticed the beautifully detailed images of weathered hands engaged in activities.

Yet what you probably didn’t know is that the hands were inspired by people who live and work in Ohio City. Artist Augustina Droze of Buffalo, New York spent a month in the neighborhood, photographing the hands of workers at the West Side Market and other locations and painstakingly recreating them.

Droze’s mural, which is entitled “By Hand,” depicts pairs of hands in various states of activity – holding barley used to make beer, fixing a bike, working on metal and pulling beets from a garden.

The artwork is an homage to the many talented artisans who make Ohio City what it is today. It celebrates the community’s past and looks to its future.

Inside of the stout brick building that once lent power to Ohio City’s trolley cars, a bold gallery is taking shape that will provide crackling new energy to the west side’s art scene.

When it opens in February, The Transformer Station will house the col-lection of nationally-known art collec-tors Fred and Laura Bidwell. It will also incorporate rotating exhibitions of con-temporary art jointly curated by the Bidwells and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Bidwell was first drawn to Ohio City by the building’s unique architecture and the collection of cutting-edge artistic venues that are a stone’s throw away. “We wanted to break down barri-ers between the east and west side,” he says, citing the presence of SPACES, the Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA), Cleveland Public Theatre and even the Happy Dog within the area.

Last year I led an after-school creative writing club for fourth- and fifth-graders at my son’s school. On the first day everyone introduced themselves – name, grade, what kinds of books you like, etc. Everything was going fine until we got to Mary Jane, who stood up and declared: “My name is Cheez-It. I was born on Mars, and I moved here from California yesterday.”

For about two seconds, no one reacted. Then hands shot up all around the room as the other kids begged to change their answers. To restore order I had to prom-ise that the following week we’d set aside time to choose nicknames for everyone.


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