Fostering Creativity and Connecting Neighbors at the Waterloo Arts Fest

When I think of summer in Cleveland, one of the first things that comes to mind is all of the unique and wonderful community festivals and events that bring the city alive and give people a reason to connect. One such event is the Waterloo Arts Fest, which will soon fill the streets of Waterloo with a flurry of activity on Saturday, June 24. This festival is a brainchild of Waterloo Arts, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to enrich the neighborhood culturally and economically by providing a variety of art-centered programs for all ages.

In 2002, Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood was in a poverty-stricken state, hit hard by the postindustrial era. Because of this, local residents Sarah Gyorki, who owned a coffee shop at the time, and Cindy Barber, owner of Beachland Ballroom & Tavern, decided to share their spaces with promising neighborhood artists. It started as a single gallery event, but the merging of these creative minds quickly led to big visions of an energized street, lined with art galleries and coffee shops where the neighborhood’s diverse community could mix and mingle. With the help of some aggressive grassroots marketing techniques and start-up funding from Neighborhood Connections and Councilman Michael D. Polensek,  a beautiful work of art began to emerge.

[bctt tweet=”Waterloo Arts: Never doubt the transformative power of a small group of passionate artists. ” username=”@WISHcleveland”]

Now in its 15th year, the Waterloo Arts Fest is one of the many masterpieces created from the original idea of a culturally rich neighborhood. During this one-day annual festival, visitors can enjoy the best that a vibrant Collinwood community has to offer, from artists and vendors, to live music and storytelling events,  food trucks, live music. And this year, the Good Cause Blog team will be there, celebrating our 1 year anniversary! Stop by for a cupcake and help make our birthday “WISH” come true by nominating a person or organization to be featured on our site.

Other Cleveland community-building events:

The 9th annual Larchmere Porch Fest  takes place on June 17 in the Larchmere neighborhood of east Cleveland. The event is free and features 30 bands on 30 porches, with everything from Americana to Hip Hop.

Night Market Cleveland takes place on the final Friday of each month from June to September. Located at East 21st and Rockwell, this event is a hodgepodge of food, art, and entertainment, highlighting the culture of the St. Clair Superior, Campus, and AsiaTown districts, with the goal of connecting the community.

Every Friday evening from July 7 to September 15, the steps of Lakewood Public Library come alive for the Front Porch Concert Series. This free, family-friendly event encourages the community to come together and explore a wide variety of diverse musical genres.

The Cleveland Flea is a small business incubator that draws thousands of people to lesser-known Cleveland neighborhoods, including a monthly flea hosting over 170 vintage, salvage, and art vendors in AsiaTown and a smaller brunch-themed version, Sunday Market, in Ohio City’s Hingetown.

Please add your favorite community events in the comments below. You might even see them featured in an upcoming post on our site!

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