WELCOME TO COLLINWOOD
By Carissa Woytach and Elisabeth WeemsAnnexed by Cleveland in 1910, the Collinwood neighborhood on the far-east side is an arts island all its own. With industrial
roots south of the railway that cuts the area in two and a growing service industry in the north, the area is in a constant state of change and growth.The neighborhood is in the northeast corner of the city, the closest point in Cleveland to the Lake County border. It stretches from approximately East 134th to 200th streets, bounded by Lake Erie to the north and the railway and U.S. 20 to the south, and bordered by East Cleveland, Bratenahl and Euclid. Residents consider themselves “Collinwood-ers,” first, because of these geographic divisions.
Originally an industrial area, and a major switch for the New York Central railway, Collinwood boomed through the 1930s. But through a loss in revenue as the steel industry collapsed and racial tensions climbed in the 1950s, Collinwood’s population fell during the next 40 years.
Today, through an increase in lakefront property and a push for homeownership, the population is on the rise. The area is now home to more than 11,500 residents. As of the 2010 census, Collinwood was 87 percent black, with a median income of $24,995. The majority of households are female-headed, with 38 percent of reporting residents having a high school diploma and 26 percent having some college experience.
Recently, the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District, which cuts through the center of North Collinwood, has experienced exponential growth, attracting local and national artists alike. Making the northern district a destination for Clevelanders and visitors, independent venues have opened over the years. Attractions include Zygote Press, Blue Arrow Records, the Beachland Ballroom & Tavern, and restaurants like the Callaloo Cafe and Citizen Pie, Muldoon’s and Scotti’s along the quickly developing East 185th Street retail district.
While the area has experienced economic and social growth, perceptions are still at odds. Northeast Shores Development Corporation conducts an annual survey of community perceptions, including safety, education and housing. Questions that got the lowest scores concerned accessible healthy food options, whether the area was a good place to raise a family, and safety.
To further Collinwood’s renaissance, Northeast Shores is using the “arts to fight blight,” creating arts, entertainment and greenspace to bring people in from across the region, activating vacant or unused properties to do so.
Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District
by Elisabeth Weems
The flourishing Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District is the cornerstone of Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood. In this district, community leaders use the arts and entertainment to attract visitors from neighboring cities, which boosts the local economy.
The district is home to several music venues, galleries, shops and restaurants. Among them are the Beachland Ballroom &
Tavern, the Waterloo Sculpture Garden and Blue Arrow Records.
Since 1994, Collinwood’s community development corporation (CDC), Northeast Shores, has worked with residents and local businesses to launch revitalization efforts.
Brian Friedman, executive director, explained that the CDC secures money from philanthropic organizations such as Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Cuyahoga Arts and Culture to invest in education, create greenspace, and fund hundreds of community arts projects each year.
Along Waterloo Road, buildings provide huge canvasses to showcase the work of national and local artists. For example, Zoetic Walls was a recent public art project in which artists enlivened the street with color and creativity by crafting murals on buildings that were once eyesores. Works include portraits and contemporary designs. The project was curated by Waterloo Arts’ Executive Director Amy Callahan.
Waterloo Arts is a nonprofit organization that provides workspaces for artists and public workshops. Also, it produces the annual Waterloo Arts Festival on Waterloo Road. This year, the festival is June 25, from noon to 7 p.m., and will include exhibits, food trucks, educational programming and live music. The organization shares its building with the Waterloo Art Gallery, the Callaloo Café and a community arts center.
As a constant reminder of the community’s commitment to the arts and to its residents, Waterloo Arts hosts “Walk All Over Waterloo,” an art walk that takes place the first Friday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. During the event, residents gather in local galleries including 10PM Studio, Gallery One Sixty, and Space: ROCK to see work created by artists from around the nation.
Each year, the CDC administers a “Picturing Collinwood” survey to residents to gauge their perception of the neighborhood. Over the years, respondents have increasingly agreed that having artists in the neighborhood helps the local economy.
Collinwood has used art and entertainment as a tool to engage the community and to combat socioeconomic issues such as housing vacancy. Through the efforts of Northeast Shores, local artists and business owners, the number of vacancies has decreased, showing the impact that arts and entertainment have made in North Collinwood.
Ballot Box Initiative
By Carissa Woytach
The first of its kind in Ohio, Collinwood’s Ballot Box Initiative gave community residents the opportunity to decide what arts and culture programming they wanted through a voting campaign held in spring 2016.
The project allowed those living in the area to decide how the community would spend “their” money. It invited locals to submit projects to receive funding from the $120,000 the neighborhood had to spend on arts and culture initiatives.
Starting in October 2015 with preliminary community meetings, residents selected four issues the projects should address: Collinwood history, vacancy, healthy eating and youth engagement.
The project received 34 submissions, and funded nine, with awards varying from $12,500 to $15,000. Leading up to voting, groups could campaign within the community at “science-fair” style exhibits, educating voters about the Ballot Box project as well as the individual proposals.
Voting, open to any Collinwood resident over the age of 14, began in March. Polling locations included high schools during lunch hours to allow young residents to vote. With 522 voters’ selections, many of the winner’s projects will go into effect this summer.
To kick off the voting, Northeast Shores Development Corporation organized the “Democracy on the Move” parade, Friday, March 4. The approximately two-mile procession wound its way from the Collinwood Recreation Center (16300 Lakeshore Blvd.) to the Slovenian Workmen’s Home (15335 Waterloo Road), with local musicians performing at Glencove (231 E. 156th St.) and BRICK Ceramic + Design Studio (420 E. 161st St.). It included a New Orleans-style brass band, floats from local businesses — several from the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District — stilt walkers and “funky art.”
The winners include:
Stephen Bivens, Collinwood history:
“This is Collinwood: History in Everyday People,” will offer free family portrait opportunities during the summer at local businesses. The resulting photographs will be on display at community locations such as libraries and the recreation center.
Benjamin Smith, Collinwood history:
An ice cream truck with recording equipment, known as the “Splice-Cream Truck,” will be at local events and special occasions, chronicling local artists, residents and patrons to create a record of everyday history within the neighborhood.
Linda Zolten Wood, healthy eating:
A free workshop for families to create upcycled characters and play games focused on learning about healthy eating. Participants will win real prizes of local produce with two games at two locations during the summer.
Lori Kella, healthy eating:
This project focuses on creating environmental portraits of gardeners and local produce, which will later be published in a cookbook with seasonal recipes provided by Collinwood residents.
Kevin Scheuring, healthy eating:
This program plans to create three local food shows for residents, including four free cooking classes held in the weeks following each seasonal show. These hands-on cooking programs hope to promote healthy eating and cooking techniques, and food preservation. By engaging with local chefs, food pantries and other community groups, residents will be able to taste gourmet food and learn from the chefs that made it.
Michael Hudecek, vacancy:
To address vacancy rates, “Craft Up Collinwood” hopes to teach residents how to create art installations using upcycled materials, which will then be attached to empty storefronts, boarded up buildings and other lesser-used areas of the city.
Margret Craig, youth engagement:
Children in Collinwood will learn about photography, spoken word poetry, creative writing and drama, and use these skills to teach other residents about arts programs in the community. They will also be paid for their work on the project.
Cindy Barber, youth engagement:
Area youth will be employed part-time to pull bicycle rickshaws at special events. They will relay Collinwood history to patrons, as well as decorate their rickshaws with art and poetry about the area.
Bridget Caswell, youth engagement:
The “Collinwood Camera Club” will teach local high schoolers photography skills, allowing them to take artistic photographs in their community as a way to tell stories and offer free portrait sessions to residents.
Collinwood Recreation Center
By Elisabeth Weems
At no cost, the Collinwood Recreation Center has been strengthening the muscles of Ohio residents near and far for five years.
Located at 16300 Lakeshore Ave., adjacent to the north end of Humphrey Park and across from Euclid Beach State Park, the state-of-the-art facility opened on Nov. 12, 2011 gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors before and after a visit to the center.
It was the first rec center built in Cleveland since 1997 and construction costs totaled about $14 million.
The City of Cleveland’s Department of Public Works contracted Panzica Construction Company to create the center from a building which formerly housed K-Mart and later Big Lots, and to feature the work of local artists in the finished project.
The city’s public art program mandated that 1.5 percent of the project’s budget fund public art, which amounted to about $100,000. LAND (Landscape Art Neighborhoods Development) Studio, a public works design studio, oversaw the installation of all projects.
In front of the bright exterior with red, green and blue siding and large windows, about 10 cement and tile chessboards furnished with round, mosaic-covered brick seats designed by Cleveland artist Angelica Pozo, appear near the front doors.
Inside of the main lobby hang original paintings by local artists Angela Ferritto, Linda Zolten Wood and Daniel Rothenfeld. The front window features stained glass crafted by area artist Michelle Biondo. Outside of the indoor pool is a sundeck enclosed by a fence that Mike Moritz and Stephen Manka created from recycled shipping container panels.
In addition to its colorful exterior, the two-story rec center is also green. It is the first Cleveland-owned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, which means that it reduces its carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions by using energy-efficient practices. In addition to recycling an abandoned building instead of constructing a new one, it produces energy and heats water with solar panels.
Brian Friedman, executive director of Collinwood’s Northeast Shores Development Corporation, says that the rec center is a “national example of revitalizing defunct, big-box retail.”
The center is not exclusive to Collinwood community members. Instead, it is open to the general public. Its free admission attracts people from neighboring cities to enjoy its amenities.
Those features include an indoor track, a daycare center, an indoor pool with a waterslide, a basketball court, and rooms for gaming, computing, creating arts and lifting weights.
Soon after it opened, Cleveland Ward 8 councilman Michael Polensek, who had advocated for the center for more than two decades, told Cleveland.com that the center’s immediate popularity was a result of its lack of an admission fee. According to Polensek, the center was unable to accommodate the influx of visitors from nearby cities, so he proposed that non-residents should pay for entry, but Mayor Frank Jackson rejected the proposition.
East 185th Street Retail
By Carissa Woytach
A longstanding retail corridor cutting through the easternmost edge of north Collinwood, East 185th Street is making a comeback in the effort to complement the growing Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District.
With easy access of Interstate-90 and less than two miles from the rapidly expanding arts district, the rehabilitation of East 185th is a natural progression for the renaissance of Collinwood.
Northeast Shores Development Corporation is taking advantage of a little-used state subsidy program to rehabilitate vacant lots by promoting home and business ownership in the area.
Bringing East 185th back to its former glory, the development corporation is also working to reopen the historic La Salle Theatre. Originally opening in 1927, it was a part of a mixed-use project by the International Savings and Loan Association that housed retail, apartments and the theater itself. It closed in 1990. Northeast Shores acquired the building in 2009.
Northeast Shores is in the process of rehabilitating the forgotten treasure — with help from lenders, donations and grants — into the LaSalle Arts and Media Center, which it hopes to open sometime in late June or early July 2016. It will provide the community with three new storefronts, a multi-use community room, theater space and six new apartments.
While the newly budding business district still has a long way to go, some businesses have become cornerstones within the Collinwood community. Many of the residents and visitors’ favorite restaurants are along this corridor, including Scotti’s, The Standard and Muldoon’s.
Founded in 1999 by Scott Nathanson, Scotti’s Italian Eatery (882 E. 185th St.), was a new venture for a long-time Cleveland creative. Hanson opened the eatery after his local music career failed to keep his family financially stable. Seventeen years later, the restaurant is integral to the revitalization of the retail center.
Using fresh ingredients grown on his roof-top garden, Nathanson creates pies that contend for Northeast Ohio’s Best Pizza award, making the finals in 2014.
A new take on timeless American comforts, The Standard (779 E. 185th St.), came to Collinwood in 2013. While many business owners were leaving the area, owners Matt Quinn and Chris Hammer chose to repurpose a space that Quinn had previously occupied for more than a decade.
Further investing themselves in the community alongside other longtime strongholds, the pair filled an Americana gap that the budding dining destination previously lacked. With a menu designed by a previous colleague of Chef Michael Symon, The Standard boasts updated classics that recognize the area’s ethnic roots, with items such as spaetzel, served with duck confit, and shrimp and grits.
Quinn and Hammer also own Euclid’s Paragon, another nearby upscale American-flavored restaurant. Quinn, who grew up in Collinwood and attended Villa Angela-St. Joseph, has long committed to revitalizing the business area along East 185th Street..
One of the longest-running restaurants in the area, Muldoon’s is a literal and figurative cornerstone to bringing back the retail corridor. Sitting at the corner of East 185th Street and Mozina Drive, it is the first sight off the 185th exit from I-90.
Billing themselves as the “neighborhood gathering place,” the Irish saloon and eatery, established in 1980 by Billy Dagg, a retired Cleveland firefighter, offers an endless beer list and affordable menu. As other restaurants may come and go in Collinwood, Muldoon’s commitment is long term.