KINGS AND QUEENS OF LAKEVIEW TERRACE
ANANDA NAHU BREAKING RECORD: THE LONGEST MURAL OF OHIO
The artwork covers the entire 620-foot length of the gently curved retaining wall along Washington Avenue on the north side of the elevated West Shoreway between West 25th and West 28th streets, which rises more than 30 feet above the street below.
Established in 1914, The Cleveland Foundation was the world's first community foundation. As of December 2011, it is America's fourth-largest community foundation. The Cleveland Foundation is a charitable organization whose purpose is to support human welfare activities in the areas of Health, Social Services, Education, and Arts and Culture among others. They do this by making grants to non-profit organizations which provide services in these broad areas, and they develop programs of their own to fill needs that are unmet by others.
Creative Fusion is a major initiative of the Cleveland Foundation, being one of the foundation`s own programs created and supported by their Board of Directors. Creative Fusion was launched five years ago, its purpose is to broaden the base of internacional cultural expression in our community. Creative Fusion hosts 12 internacional artists per year, in two separate cohorts of six artists each. Ananda Nahú was selected for the fall 2016 residency and was one of the six artists hosted by six different Cleveland cultural organizations.
The Creative Fusion 2016 was the largest of the Cleveland Foundation's Creative Fusion residency projects done by pairs of international and local artists. Several murals were to brighten up the developing area between Ohio City and Detroit-Shoreway, called Hingetown.
Ananda was hosted by Cleveland Public Theatre, and together they create the most spectacular - physically and in its social ambitions - project of the residence. The artwork covers the entire 620-foot length of the gently curved retaining wall along Washington Avenue on the north side of the elevated West Shoreway between West 25th and West 28th streets, which rises more than 30 feet above the street below.
Nahu's vast mural, said by the Cleveland Foundation to be one of the largest in Ohio, portrays at monumental scale the faces of children Nahu met through Cleveland Public Theatre's Brick City program, which provides year-round after-school and summer programs at the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's Lakeview Terrace Apartments.
When Nahu arrived in Cleveland, she planned to decorate the massive wall with vibrant-colored patterns. For weeks she interviewed and photographed Lakeview residents. But Ananda was struck by the isolation of the area, the underlying strength of black culture there -- especially of the women who head most of the households -- and the vulnerability of some of the children.
"I figured out maybe I should paint something to protect them, their innocence," Nahu said. "Each one is very precious. Each kid here is like a king and like a queen."
Lakeview Terrace opened in 1937. The cluster of 53 buildings was constructed for $3.8 million as part of a federal Public Works Administration effort to clear cities like Cleveland of "slums" of substandard and unsafe housing. Along with two East Side projects, it was run by a newly formed housing authority, now the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. Lakeview's first residents, military families and immigrants, had apartments furnished with new Westinghouse refrigerators. They also were vermin-proof, fireproof and anti-tubercular.
Aided by Cleveland artists Gary Williams, Robin Robinson, Derrick Quarles and Adam Zimmerman, Nahu raced the clock and fought the weather to complete in six weeks a mural she estimated would normally have taken her four months.