As the Euclid Corridor project chugs along, evidence of progress is finally beginning to peek out from behind the orange barrels. And some of the most visible (and exciting) facets of the project are the artistic details, coordinated by Cleveland Public Art at the behest of the RTA. A series of community meetings, extensive research and consultation with artists led to the plan, which will continue to unfurl through the project’s end, says Greg Peckham, executive director of CPA.
“Our overarching goal with the team of artists is to create elements that unify the corridor from end to end,” Peckham says. “The integration in the Corridor project of public art is the thing that makes the project distinctly Cleveland, completely place-based.”
The art pieces, which take basic urban necessities and make them aesthetically pleasing, are the ultimate combination of form and function. Here’s a roundup of the currently installed details that are making the most talked-about project in the city a little more interesting.
What It Is | There are about 200 stainless steel waste receptacles, carefully designed to meet federal safety requirements. They’re covered in lines of computer characters and symbols.
What It Means | “I got the idea by picking out of my own trash can this bad printout,” says artist Mark Howard of Cleveland. “The smiley faces and symbols, they don’t mean anything in and of themselves, they become visual trash. I took that as inspiration.”
What It Is | About 130 cast-iron square grates surround planted trees. There are three different designs in the series. What It Means | “They’re based on American Indian wampum belt designs, from the Iroquois. They used wampum beads and belts for trade and commerce, and for Euclid Avenue [which used to be an American Indian trail], that’s pretty apropos symbolism,” Howard says.
What It Is | Roughly 100 large metal plates, which cover points of access to utilities, are designed in a series of three. The plates feature fashion, performing arts and biomedical themes. What It Means | “Each curb corresponds to a different industry that was or is prominent in that area,” Howard says.
What It Is | Created by artist Cliff Garten of Venice, Calif., crosswalks along the Corridor feature a unique pattern, inlaid with brick. What It Means | “The patterns for thecrosswalks are taken from truss bridge patterns — from all of these bridges over the river in Cleveland,” Garten says.