Image courtesy of Bob Perkoski

Image courtesy of Bob Perkoski

Collinwood Rising is a collaborative effort to transform North Shore Collinwood, a neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland, by growing a grassroots art movement. The initiative aims to combat urban vacancy and invigorate the community of North Shore Collinwood by engaging artists in the community and increasing the vibrancy of the neighborhood’s Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District. Collinwood Rising will be converting vacant spaces into an artist-inspired playground, a performing arts incubator and artist live/work space and commercial storefronts.

Northeast Shores Development Corporation is leading this multi-organization initiative. ArtPlace spoke with Brian Friedman, the executive director of Northeast Shores, to discuss their best experiences so far.

ARTPLACE: What has been your best event or the most rewarding experience you have had during the course of your ArtPlace grant? Describe how this came about and why it was special. What lesson did you learn from this success?

Our most rewarding experience took place very recently but has been in the making since the beginning of the year. What happens when four musicians unknown to each other walk into a room, plug in, and play? A lucky audience was able to find out through an interesting and innovative project called the Lottery League. Northeast Shores had the honor of being a major sponsor of this year’s event and it has created quite the buzz. The Lottery League is a unique project that started in 2008. It took 140 musicians from the Cleveland area and created a baseball card style stat sheet and number for each person. Four musicians from different musical scenes, genres and social cliques, who have never performed as a group before are then randomly selected through a lottery style drawing and placed together. This often resulted in pairings of musicians from different styles and genres. They would then have 8 weeks to come up with 3 songs and a band name/persona to then perform at a selected venue in one big performance titled the “Big Show”.

To date, the drawings have been held at the popular Beachland Ballroom music venue in Cleveland. This year, courtesy of Northeast Shores, a space was also created and provided near the Beachland Ballroom in which the musicians could practice. A total of 169 players and vocalists and combinations thereof comprised 42 newly drafted bands. These newly-minted groups were then given the task of creating a 15 minute performance of original music. This culminated in a daylong show that took place on three stages at the world famous Cleveland Agora on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

A wealth of pride and a lot of excitement circulated around this event and the organizers worked diligently to put it all together to create a wonderful day of entertainment. This is the only Cleveland music festival made up solely of, by, and for, the Cleveland Music Scene. This year for the first time ever, it was FREE and open to everyone! There was an audience of people from various musical backgrounds and art forms that attended the event and enjoyed food, music and networking with other artists. Northeast Shores was able to be a part of a project that was a tremendous success. It brought artistic (and music loving) members of the community together, created a camaraderie, and formed bonds that will last a lifetime. It was an enlightening event that brought to life the realization that people from different backgrounds could, literally, come together and make beautiful music. Cleveland Rocks, and the Lottery League is living proof. We look forward to and expect to be a part of more exciting projects of this caliber in the future.

Image courtesy of Bob Perkoski

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