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Issue Date: February 2004 Issue

Snow Daze

Kathleen Murphy Colan

If art happens and hardly anyone sees it, what does it mean? For the hundreds of folks who helped organize the Urban Arts Trolley Tour as part of the city's "Winterfest" activities in December, it means another lost opportunity to draw people downtown.

The Trolley Tour was a good idea and "Winterfest" planners did a nice job of getting the word out about the event with full-page advertisements in the daily newspaper. But their efforts failed to bring the suburban crowds downtown on a snowy December night.

From 6 to 10 p.m. four trolleys traversed streets from Ohio City to Cleveland State University, making 10 stops along the way. Too bad relatively few people took advantage of the free rides and activities at 40 locations.

Gallery owners, artists and performers from 11 galleries at the ARTcade, 530 Euclid Ave., kept the party going anyway. The few folks who turned up enjoyed jamming to the Up Ensemble jazz band in the courtyard and the Discenzo Band at Patsy Kline’s Gallery U. Groop gallery seemed to have the most activity as it screened a number of short films recently made here by Clevelanders.

"Winterfest" volunteer Kelly Blazek hopped on one of the empty trolleys at the Tower City stop toward the end of the night. What did she have to say about the poor turnout for the event? In true PR-speak, she said, "We’re dressing up the front porch of the city for visitors. That’s the important thing."

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