August, 2021: The Cleveland Walls weeklong festival added almost 20 new pieces of public art to Cleveland’s MidTown neighborhood. Using both local and national artists, these splashes of color brightened up the sides of so many buildings, many of them clustered along Carnegie and Euclid Avenues.
Jeff Epstein, MidTown’s CEO, partnered with local non profit LANDStudio and internationally recognized Jasper Wong of POW!WOW! to physically transform the neighborhood through vibrant art and a week’s worth of free programming.
Here’s the story of one of those murals, painted on the side of the headquarters of HausMalts, a craft malting facility which provides grains to breweries & distilleries. Located on the north side of Carnegie Avenue just east of the railroad bridge at E. 55th Street, HausMalt owner Andrew Martahus, and his father Craig, were happy to have their building selected to be beautified . And, when they saw the proposed mural and heard Miami, Florida artist, Tatiana Suarez‘ story behind her art selection, they knew it was was the perfect fit for them
Tatiana’s Try A Little Tenderness mural was inspired by the lyrics of an Otis Redding song. The night before he died in a plane crash in December, 1967, Redding performed his last concert at Leo’s Casino, one of the most racially integrated nightlife spots in Cleveland. Packed houses, made up of blacks and whites, listened to great music at this lounge, including The Supremes, Mavin Gaye and Aretha Franklin. Unfortunately, Leo’s is long gone. An Aldi’s supermarket sits on the real estate at 7500 Euclid Avenue where it once stood. But it left behind a powerful message of how music (and art!) brings people of all colors together and that is the message Tatiana wanted to leave behind. Kind of beautiful!
Here is the wall prior to the mural. Bland and forgettable, right?
It took Tatiana just one day to outline her mural on the side of the building. She worked solo, in 90 degree humidity, with only an umbrella to provide shade as she maneuvered the cherry picker to the top of the three story building.
A steady stream of visitors stopped by the building all week, some screeching to a halt in active lanes on Carnegie Avenue to jump out and snap a photo. It seemed the whole city was mesmorized, watching artists in action. Tatiana graciously stopped painting to talk to everyone who wanted to meet her. And yes, her medium is cans of spray paint. She used dozens of them for this project.
When asked about the Otis Redding lyrics she chose, Tatiana told me that the last 18 months have been hard on so many people with a global pandemic, civil unrest and devisive politics. She just wanted to remind us all of what’s important. Lovely.
And in a nod to Ohio, she added a few unique touches to her mural for us including a cardinal (our state bird) and carnations (our state flower). Six days after she started, it was complete and she snapped a photo with Andrew.
So if this story inspires you to head out this weekend to see all 19 of the murals, here is a list of locations. Grab your kids or some friends and make it a fun scavenger hunt day in Cleveland!
Executive Arrangements Inc, has been the talent attraction partner to hundreds of businesses in the Greater Cleveland/Akron area for more than 40 years. Helping job candidates and their families experience the quality of life in our region thru guided explorations as they consider an opportunity in our region is what we do better than anyone else in the world. Public art is just one way of showcasing all our city has to offer. If your organization needs help wooing out-of-town recruits to our region, or on-boarding a new hire to our city, call us: 216.231.9311.