Tag Archives: art

Weekend Adventure: Hessler Street Fair

Cleveland Scene.com

Cleveland Scene.com

Although I have lived in Cleveland my entire life, this weekend marked my first visit to a local festival celebrating its 40 year anniversary, the Hessler Street Fair (website).  

The Hessler Street Fair started as an annual block party and in 1969 began its path to the street festival it is today.  Back then, University Circle Inc. wanted to bulldoze Hessler Road to build student dorms and parking lots, and thanks to the money raised by the street festivals the streets became Cleveland Landmarks and were saved from demolition. 

The fair today is a wonderful mixture of arts, crafts, music and food and attracts more than 10,000 visitors a year.  I, as a first time visitor, was greatly impressed by the offerings of the fair.

Hessler Road and Hessler Court (there is interestingly enough no actual Hessler Street) are the two roads which host the fair.  They are lined with a number of quaint, historic houses and end in a courtyard of apartments where local bands set up and played throughout the weekend.  I had the pleasure of listening to the JiMiller Band (website), who’s mix of jazz, bluegrass and blues was a perfect backdrop to the relaxed, free-spirited feeling of the festival. 

I did not get the opportunity to sample any of the food (as Emily and I had a craving for Tommy’s, a great Cleveland Heights food establishment), but we did stop by the craft stands, purchasing some fabric-covered hair clips and picking up flyers for a gallery opening of a local printmaking artist that I plan to visit in June.

My favorite part of the festival may have been the children’s section, Harmony Park.  A make shift drum circle was set up there where adults and kids alike joined together to make “music” and embrace the festivals musical roots.  

The festival, its visitors and the street’s welcoming feel made this a great first festival of the summer season.  If staying in Cleveland I would love to someday live on Hessler Road and partake in the planning of this yearly celebration of one of Cleveland’s great hidden neighborhoods.  Even when moving on and away from my hometown, I plan to make the Hessler Street Fair an event I revisit in the years to come.

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A voice for the financial crisis

Bear Sterns CEO  James Cayne

Bear Sterns CEO James Cayne

No matter who you are, you are aware of or are personally affected by thefinancial crisis that is occurring here in America.  I currently am blessed to still have a job and to not be largely affected by the dropping stock prices, but it is still something that is on my mind each and every day.  The worst part about this situation in the fact of how helpless we feel.  We tune in every day to see the stocks getting lower, more companies going bankrupt and yet there is very little we can each do to help this downward spiral.  Well now one person is attempting to help change that silence.  Geoffrey  Raymond, an artist from Brooklyn has now given the people a voice, one canvas at a time. 

I first learned of Geoffrey Raymond when he was featured on the Today show for the controversial work he has been producing.  Geoffrey paints financial big-shots on canvas and then go to the streets of Wall Street, canvas and sharpie marker in hand, and gives passersby the opportunity to write on his paintings their thoughts and feelings regarding the current situation.  His works include paintings of large financial figures such as Eliot Spitzer, James Cayne and Richard Fuld.  I have since become intrigued by this man and his paintings, because although he is only one man with few paintings and a sharpie, his voice and the voice of those who comment on his paintings is being heard.  Geoffery Raymond is a great example of the affect one person can have.  It is amazing the voices he has been able to share through his paintings and shows us that it is not impossible to make our voices heard during this crisis.

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