Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Our September 2010 Schedule (Finally)

September 2010

Green Road Farmers' Market
September 16th, 23rd & 30th 2pm - 7pm
South Euclid-Hillcrest United Methodist Church
1534 S. Green Road
South Euclid, OH

Shore Outdoor Farmers' Market
September 17th & 24th 2pm - 7pm
Shore Cultural Centre
291 E. 222nd St.
Euclid, OH 44123

Trinity Cleveland Fresh ART
September 21st & 28th 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Trinity Cathedral - Prospect Lot
2230 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH

Tremont Arts Fest
September 18th 11am - 6pm; 19th 12pm - 5pm
Lincoln Park
1208 Starkweather Ave.
Tremont, OH

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Shore Cultural Centre Key to Euclid's Redevelopment

Dear Mayor Cervenik and Euclid City Council Members:

My name is Matthew Orgovan, and I was born and raised in Euclid.  I’m a 1994 graduate of Euclid High School, and participated in many community activities growing up, including Euclid Boys League, Euclid Pony League, Euclid Colt League, the CABA High School World Series, Justin Lanes Youth Bowling League and Holy Cross PSR, as well as many school-sponsored creative activities and organizations, such as Eucuyo (Euclid High School’s literary magazine), Power of the Pen, Euclid High School’s Fall Play, Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay and Poetry Contest, and many others.  Needless to say, as I reflect upon the plethora of creative, athletic and social opportunities I was afforded as a youth, both in school and in the community, I recognize that the infusion of these activities in my daily life greatly helped me develop my leadership skills, made me a well-rounded, culturally aware person and fostered in me an awareness of community, on a large and small scale.

Furthermore, my experiences as the marketing and public relations director for Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School from 2000 to 2009, the City of Euclid’s closest private and/or parochial high school, as well as freelance writing for the Catholic Universe Bulletin, the Collinwood Observer and the Euclid Observer, have kept me keenly aware of what has been going on in Euclid, Collinwood and Northeast Ohio over the last 10 years.  Unfortunately, some personal and economic situations have led me to take up residence in a neighboring community.  However, my parents still reside in Euclid, and my volunteerism and position on the Board of Directors for UpStage Players Children’s Theater Company for the last six years, have allowed me to remain active in the activities of Euclid.

In addition, my personal discovery of painting and art about three or four years ago while volunteering to help the drama program of VASJ, led my fiancĂ©e Joanna Longo and I to engage in arts and craft shows during that same general timeframe.  After being approached at various shows by representatives of Northeast Shores Development Corporation, the Shaker Square Area Development Corporation and Director Pietravoia of the City of Euclid to consider either opening up a shop or a studio in their respective neighborhoods, Joanna and I conducted online and physical research in considering these flattering offers.  We ultimately decided on the City of Euclid and Shore Cultural Centre after further discussions about the economic development plans of Euclid with Director Pietravoia and site visits and conversations with Shore’s building manager, Laura Kidder, of Coral Management Company.

In roughly six months of operating Studio 76 at Shore, Joanna and I have been amazed by not only the passion and commitment that has been displayed by our fellow full-time and part-time tenants, but by the cosmetic and collaborative initiatives and improvements engaged in by Coral, Shore volunteers, Shore’s Board and the tenants.  The groundwork and vision have been laid for the continuation of building Shore back up to the cultural, arts and wellness center that the Euclid City Council and Coral have agreed upon for the building’s future.  While we most definitely couldn’t live on Studio 76, we will be nonetheless strongly committed to Shore if given assurance of its future, because we are able to provide classes and contribute to an appreciation for the arts in the community, while also developing our own personal skills and passions, building a community of artists and entrepreneurs who share similar goals, and being able to use and grow a workspace that is conducive to our crafts.

However, in order to see Shore reach its full potential, many pieces of the puzzle must be inserted to realize the economic, social and perceptual stability that a bustling center of activity such as Shore can have on a city that has felt the affects of the recent socioeconomic times this country has battled.

Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, preeminent researchers, award-winning writers and nationally recognized leaders in the field of leadership, published a document roughly 20 years ago that still has a profound impact on today.  It is entitled “The Leadership Challenge.”  At the heart of this document lies five fundamental practices that leaders should use to not only improve themselves, but also have a lasting influence on all those they inspire.  These practices are: Challenge the Process, Inspire a Shared Vision, Enable Others to Act, Model the Way and Encourage the Heart.

In challenging the process, the City of Euclid and those who are concerned with the sustainable economic and social future of its neighborhoods, must take risks and search for innovative ways to improve itself, not only for the benefit of its citizens, but for the growth and prosperity of Northeast Ohio as a region.  These initiatives have already begun with the Downtown Revitalization Plan, the Lakefront Plan and other economic development plans.  Shore Cultural Centre, in many minds, involves risks, economically and in the eventual impact it could have for the well-being of Euclid residents and residents of surrounding communities.  While these risks are very real, the precedent for a cultural arts center has been set by many communities in Northeast Ohio and across the country.  With dedicated funds, resources and hard-working individuals, Shore can do for Euclid and surrounding communities what the Gordon Arts District has done for the Detroit Shoreway area of Cleveland and the Clifton Arts Center has done for the Cincinnati area.  The Clifton Arts Center is relevant, in that its history very much mirrors the situation that the City of Euclid has with Shore Cultural Centre.

According to www.cliftonculturalarts.org, the Clifton Arts Center marks the geographic center of one of Cincinnati's most treasured and historic communities.  It is located on the site of a school built in 1906, and is the former location of the Resor Academy, built by the citizens of the Village of Clifton in 1870.  After the City of Cincinnati annexed the Village of Clifton in 1896, the owners of the land on which the original Academy was built deeded the land to the city for the purpose of building a new school in furtherance of the original trust, mandating that the land be used “to promote the education of youth of both sexes” and to cultivate “a taste for science, literature and the fine arts.”

The renewal of the Clifton School as the flagship facility for the Clifton Cultural Arts Center now serves as an homage to the progressive character of the visionary benefactors who dedicated the school site to cooperative education in arts and culture more than a century ago.  Today, the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, which was first imagined in 2004 after a series of community engagement meetings that addressed the fate of two key historic buildings – the 1906 Clifton School and the adjacent McDonald Estate Carriage House – both scheduled to fall into disuse in 2008 as a result of imminent initiatives included in the Cincinnati Public Schools Master Plan, is thriving.  A seed was sown – and the Clifton Cultural Arts Center is the outgrowth of that idea: that participation in cultural and artistic activities contributes to more cohesive communities and more successful, more inspired children and adults.  Today, a proactive, dedicated group of citizens have nurtured the potential of that ideal to create a rare and remarkable opportunity: A truly regional Cultural Arts Center encompassing – and preserving – over 57,000 square feet of historically significant space in an incomparable urban campus.  In fact, in 2007, CityBeat of Cincinnati named the Clifton Cultural Arts Center “BEST RE-USE OF AN OLD SCHOOL.”  It stated that, “Clifton Cultural Arts Center will be housed in the old Clifton Elementary School on Clifton Avenue.  Instead of becoming yet another office building with blackboards left hanging to give the place ‘charm,’ the community created a nonprofit organization that will convert and run the new arts facility.”  The precedent of the Clifton Cultural Arts Center proves that an opportunity such as what Shore is and can become can have lasting positive effects on a community and region.

Kouzes and Posner also discuss inspiring a shared vision.  Based on legislation passed by City Council in adopting the concept of the Five Year Strategic Plan that was developed and is now being facilitated by Coral Management Company, this shared vision for Shore Cultural Centre exists.  Included in this vision is the Mission Statement of Shore Cultural Centre, which reads, “To provide transformative, dynamic, and high quality arts, cultural and lifelong learning experiences that build community, enhance quality of life and strengthen Euclid and Northeast Ohio.”  The city’s leaders can now, through their vision, influence and economic means, see this vision through and breathe life into a project that can bring exciting possibilities for the future of Euclid and the region.  Due to the geographic location and accessibility of Euclid, what first and foremost will enhance the quality of life for its citizens, can become another cornerstone for this same growth for the region.

The City of Euclid has the ability to enable others to act.  Collaboration, mutual respect and understanding each other’s mission and expertise will make possible the success of Shore Cultural Centre and its place and influence in the city and region.  Coral Management Company, the Shore Board, tenants and volunteers all must be enabled to continue building for Shore’s growth and sustainability.  This includes a financial commitment by the city for Coral to make immediate improvements, such as a new energy-efficient boiler, other energy and safety enhancements and the hiring of a dedicated development director, all of which will surely more than pay for themselves in the near future.  A committed development person can solicit the needed grant money, corporate and individual support and in-kind donations that Shore needs to be successful…and far exceed the immediate financial support the city is being asked for over the next few years.

The City of Euclid also has the ability to model the way for its own citizens and the region.  Kouzes and Posner point to the prospect of complex change being overwhelming to people, and often leads to a roadblock in the progression of action and goal achievement.  In the case of Shore, this has been evident on many fronts in recent history.  Interim goals and small achievements and commitments that lead to the larger objective of Shore Cultural Centre being the arts, cultural and wellness district that it is capable of, are necessary now.  Verbal, written and financial commitments by the city and those who have a vested interest in Shore and Euclid will show that a vision to a more prosperous Euclid, anchored by a lakefront development plan, economic growth in downtown (which includes the sustainability of Shore) and strategic improvements and growth to other vital pockets of the city, will demonstrate to Euclid residents and the region that the city has great things in store for the future.

Finally, we all know that accomplishing extraordinary things takes hard work.  Kouzes and Posner write that it is essential for leaders to acknowledge the work and contributions of others for common goals to be met.  I applaud the city’s leadership in their resourcefulness and accomplishments in beginning a series of improvements throughout the city that will soon generate economic growth and positive perceptions.  I know that this will continue through dedication and commitment.  In my view, the revitalization of Shore Cultural Centre is one key piece of many that is vital to bringing those just rewards.

Thank you very much for your time.

Best regards,

Matthew Orgovan

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shore Cultural Centre And The Impact On Euclid

Shore Cultural Centre in Euclid is in need of help.  Myself and others have written the city to fight for a worthwhile cause.  I am a firm believer in fighting for what's right and fighting for communities that are in need.  Therefore, I am publicly sharing my letter that I have sent to the Mayor and the City Council in the City of Euclid.  I hope that everyone will read it and help in our valiant efforts to support a city, a building and a community that are worthy and in need.  I have also linked the City of Euclid's website so that if you so choose, can write them in support of Shore Cultural Centre and the positivity and vibrance that has occurred there.

My name is Joanna Longo and my fiancé, Matt Orgovan, and I have a studio at Shore Cultural Centre. I make bath and body products and cosmetics, Matt is an artistic painter and I teach soap making classes. We have been permanent residents of Shore since April of 2010.

We were given the opportunity by three different arts communities to open a store. While we decided to not open a store at this particular time we chose Shore Cultural Centre to be our home. We were impressed with the developments that we were told about occurring in Euclid. I was excited about the new Expo Center, the grant that Lincoln Electric received for a wind turbine, the development of the Lake area and the plans to redevelop the downtown area. Along with that, Shore was suggested as a place that was looking for artists and to build a community of culture. We were both impressed by Laura, the quality of tenants, and what we thought was the support of the city, so we jumped at the chance.

I am originally from Chardon but Euclid has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My doctor, as well as my sons’ doctor is in Euclid and my church is here. I used to come to the Euclid Square Mall all of the time when I was in high school. I moved to Euclid in 1999 and lived here until 2006. My eldest son went to Euclid schools and played in the Euclid Boys League and my youngest attended the Child Development Center on Wilmore. I have performed with Silhouette Productions and the adult troop of UpStage Players at Shore. In fact, if it wasn’t for UpStage and Shore, Matt and I would have never met. I have family and friends that still live in Euclid. Although I don’t currently live in the city, it has a place in my heart.

This brings me to why having a studio at Shore Cultural Centre and the City of Euclid is important to me. Even if you take away the sentimentality that most of the residents of Euclid have for the building itself, it is a unique and thriving community. It IS the Arts District for the City of Euclid. It is few and far between to find a building in Northeast Ohio that has so much to offer for arts and culture. It has one of the biggest stages for performances in an auditorium that is second to none. It has glorious rooms with high ceilings and windows for studios and classes, a culinary school, a day care, space for events and ample parking. It has residents inside who care about the well being and safety of others and work hard to ensure that for everyone who visits. It is centrally located in the heart of downtown which makes it easily accessible to the surrounding community as well as others in other communities.

Everyone knows that Euclid is a changing neighborhood socially and economically. From what I can see the socioeconomic levels have even changed in the four short years that I have moved away. Your more affluent residents have, and are moving away, leaving the city with less revenue and residents than it has had in the past. The city has had a recent stint of bad press due to crimes and other issues. As I can recall, some of the only good press the city has received lately has been about Shore. It was in an article on the front page of The News-Herald and a wonderful article on OhioAuthority.Com. Shore has had many events over the past year that has brought in visitors from outside communities that had never heard of Shore or wouldn’t have considered visiting Euclid. These events have ranged from plays, concerts, classes and a craft show called Cirque Imaginaire, which we participated in. Most of the visitors that attended were from the more affluent, artsy areas of the West Side. They marveled at the building itself and the studios, they inquired about spaces to rent and classes that were available that they couldn’t find anywhere else. As far as I know, it has even lead to another craft show already being booked for next year.

The arts are important for changing communities. Look what it has done for Waterloo, Gordon Square, Ohio City and Tremont, just to name a few. People flock from all over Northeast Ohio to these areas because they offer different independent stores, galleries, eateries, events, shows and more. Euclid is comprised of big box stores and food chains that can be found anywhere. It has a few local eateries and shops but is it enough to be a draw for people of other communities to come and visit all year round? I understand that Euclid isn’t as financially stable as it used to be, but why would you want to possibly destroy an entity that could be one of your best assets? Shore Cultural Centre has the possibility of being a combination of Willoughby Fine Arts and the Lake Erie Building all in one. Both of these places are some of the best assets to their communities and bring people in from all around.

I can only speak for myself that if Coral isn’t given a long term commitment from the city that I have no intention of staying. I cannot operate on three month or one year terms. I have worked hard to promote Shore and spread the word. Having a future that is unknown is something I cannot do. While I may complain about some of the things I see going on in Euclid, I DO love this city. Although, I would have to go to a community where my efforts, along with the efforts of others are appreciated and the value is recognized.

Please don’t take away the ONLY Arts District that Euclid has.

Thank you,

Joanna Longo