The Ballot Box Project

Northeast Shores Development Corporation

Funding Received: 2015
Cleveland, OH
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
September 12, 2016

Photographers came out above all other disciplines, after the residents of Collinwood voted for their favorite project in the Ballot Box Project. These three artists have been out in the community capturing people and place. Those artists are Stephen Bivens, Lori Kella, and Bridget Caswell.

Ballot Box winner Stephen Bivens’ project “This is Collinwood: History in Everyday People” took him to the streets to capture the everyday people of Collinwood. His journey began with the multitude of small businesses, both long established and recent additions. Bivens showcased the familiar faces of Collinwood was on display at the Millard Fillmore Presidential Library, a bar that is new to the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District. While on display, the collection brought people from the neighborhood together to experience the ambiance of the “Fillmore” while enjoying the stunning black and white photos of business owners and notable figures. Next, Bivens is going through the neighborhood and setting up in parks and homes to take portraits of Collinwood families.

Lori Kella’s Ballot Box Project, “Grow.Cook.Eat Collinwood” is a neighborhood cookbook that does more than share neighborhood recipes featuring local food; it creates a portrait of the neighborhood. She is exploring the community, in search for growers and gardens, recognizing them through her cookbook. During the project, residents are encouraged to submit their favorite recipes that Kella will cook and photograph for the website and cookbook.

The Collinwood Camera Club is a project Bridget Caswell. She offered Cleveland teenagers the experience of a lifetime- a free photography class. Once a week throughout the summer, notable Cleveland photographers taught the youth about their careers and the diverse types of photography that exist. During three community events, the group offered free family portraits of highly professional quality. Upon conclusion of their class, the students will be able to show the world all they learnt over the summer at a local gallery that will feature their work for two days in August.

The three photography-centric projects funded by the Ballot Box Project have displayed why this discipline took the forefront. The breathtaking photos of people, the artistry of photography, and the development of future professions show why this art form resonates with people. Most important, these projects brought people together.