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Arts and Culture leading city revitalization with collaborative programs

By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa Correspondent

The June 11, 2011 weekend was a grand time for arts and culture lovers in Cleveland as the town buzzed with excitement from East to West. The 22nd  annual Parade the Circle joined forces with the booming arts district at Gordon Square for the second year making sure the thrill continued late into the night.  An estimated 7,000 people attended the Gordon Square party.

Both events started before noon, with free Lolley the Trolley services running between W. 65th and East Blvd. shuttling passengers between events.  While enigmatic puppets, colorful masks and people on stilts began their annual march along University Circle, performers lined the streets of the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood.

The event’s purpose was to showcase all that the revitalized neighborhood has to offer said Joy Roller, executive director of the Gordon Square Art District. From art galleries featuring local artist, to theatres, and ethnic restaurants like Roseangle and Saigon Plaza the events were clear indication arts and culture in Cleveland are leading revitalization and the city’s global aspirations.

This year’s Parade featured the most international collaborators in the past 22 years, with special puppets arriving from South Africa to perform a soccer twist on Romeo and Juliet.  Six artists: three South African, two French and one Burkinabe, spent three weeks in Cleveland participating in workshops for the Parade at the Cleveland Museum of Arts.

Delicious aromas filled the summer air as patios filled with barbeques, hot dogs, and food trucks serving spicy Cajun food lined the streets. Kids sprawled on sidewalks busy expressing their talents through chalk art while others were delighted by mimes.

Manacirque, a Puerto Rican Folkloric Music & Dance Ensemble, captivated pedestrians with upbeat rhythms brining a part of not just the island but also New York to the streets of Cleveland.

Adding to the excitement was the second year of Weapons of Mass Creation Festival, a grassroots event to inspire and enable the creative mind. The movement of young individuals seek to celebrate local visionaries who embody rising to the challenges in life and making things happen.

The two-day event lined up an expressive list of guest-speakers from across the nation to present workshops and lectures on the arts and design industry.  Artists displayed and sold their work at Wall Eye Gallery, while the Reinberger Auditorium packed with guests eager to learn from their role models and mentors.  The conference also featured music bands at Happy Dog. A break dancing competition was held for kids as young as 5 years old at Saigon Plaza.

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Copyright © 1989 to 2011 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06/14/11 19:01:26 -0700.





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