'Rooms to Let' Returns to Slavic Village

click to enlarge "Secret Garden" - Dana Depew
Dana Depew
"Secret Garden"
Following the housing crisis of 2008, Slavic Village was one of the most devastated areas in the country. In an effort to continue the conversation around vacancy and the current state of Cleveland’s historic neighborhoods, Slavic Village Development presents its third annual Rooms to Let: CLE (RTL). The event originated in Columbus with a similar theme. RTL returns to Slavic Village from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 21, and Sunday, May 22.

“Every year, I am amazed by the creativity of our artists and the interaction between visitors and the installations,” says Executive Director of Slavic Village Development Christopher Alvarado. “Unlike conventional gallery openings or museum events, this is a fully immersive experience that is accessible to everybody, and I am proud that our neighborhood hosts this.”

Each year, Slavic Village Development selects a group of curators to receive vacant homes throughout the neighborhood – some of which are slated for demolition as well as those that will be rehabilitated. Curators of this year’s event include Dana Depew (local artist and curator), Sai Sinbondit (designer at Bialosky + Partners Architects), Amy Krusinski Sinbondit (ceramics/sculpture), Scott Pickering (artist) and Chris Webb (artist). Each curator assembles a team of artists to transform both the interior and exterior of a dilapidated house into an enveloping art installation. This year’s houses are located on East 54th Street in the Slavic Village neighborhood.

"I look forward and am extremely excited to participate once again in this project,” says Depew. “Rooms to Let: CLE offers the unique opportunity to utilize a vacant home that has a date with the wrecking ball as a nontraditional exhibition space. The participating artists and curators enact their vision in order to give these spaces a proper eulogy."

Artists include: Jeffrey Chiplis, Ron Copeland, Dana Depew, Rick Ferris, Eli Gfell, Keith Graham, Jake Hochendoner, Kara Isabella, Jonah Jacobs, Charles Kiss, Robin Latkovich, Christine Mauersberger, Liz Maugans, Ella Medicus, Loren Naji, Rian Brown-Orso, Kristina Paabus, Cindy Penter, Scott Pickering, Nancy Prudic, Edward Raffel, Rebecca Rinaldi, Marc Spangenberg, Grace Summanen, Paul Sydorenko, Anna Tararova, Annette Yoho Feltes, Hector Castellanos-Lara, Roni Callahan, April Bleakney, Danielle Moorer, Latecia Wilson, Sampson Smiley, Latoya Webb, Stephanie Kluk, Melinda Placko, Rebekah Wilhelm, Jeannie Oakar, Michael Gill, teens from joint Broadway School of Music & the Arts/University Settlement after-school arts class at Washington Park Horticulture Center (under direction of artist Claudio Orso).

Maker Artists include: Catherine Butler, Kate Snow, Martha Lattie, Helen & Dot Von Schneider, Valerie Grossman, Peter Debelak, Anastasial Sobvola, Makenzie Tigert, Jeremy Smith, We Can Code It, Jason Radcliffe, Laura Cooperman, thinkBox, Amy Sinbondit and Sai Sinbondit.

Curator Chris Webb elaborates on his portion of the project: “'The Healing House' is the name of the space I'm curating for this year's Room's To Let. In it, I am examining many issues that face Northeast Ohioans (from economic turmoil to local 'headline' news), and I'm artistically posing the question, ‘How can we heal?’”

RTL includes a block party with live music, interactive art activities and local food vendors. Hands-on activities include Zygote Press’ Mobile Press, an opportunity to design and build your own “Dream House” in miniature with local artist Hector Catellanos and more.

For more info, pick up an event map at 5324 Fleet Ave., and enjoy a beer garden sponsored by Platform Beer Co., snacks from Saucisson and music sponsored by Agumboot Arts, as well as a preview of Village Market, featuring Coffee Drop, City Fresh, Christy’s Custom Cakes, Delicate Skin Essentials and Tourmaline Designs.
At 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, neighbors and visitors are invited to a Community Meet & Greet with the Rooms to Let artists to reflect and share feedback.

Additionally, in conjunction with Rooms to Let, Elevate Gallery (3675 E. 65th St.) showcases the work of artists Patsy Kline, Anna Arnold and Johnny Perkins. The gallery will also feature hands-on piñata crafts for kids and live music from the Celtic fusion band, Mud in Yer Eye.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, the Polish American Cultural Center (6501 Lansing Ave.) hosts a free exhibition of local artists and craftspeople. Admission to the show is free. A homemade lunch of ethnic foods will also be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

(Rooms to Let) various locations throughout Slavic Village, http://slavicvillage.org/roomstolet