Beautifying the Ride

Beautifying the RideKarin ConnellyFresh Water Cleveland

In September of last year, the Cleveland Foundation announced a $150,000 grant to LAND Studio to create public art along five to seven stops on the RTA Red Line from Downtown to the airport. The grant follows support from the city’s economic development department and $357,000 in funding from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA).

The money will go toward the first phase of a project that will eventually span the Red, Green, Blue and Waterfront RTA rapid lines to become one of the largest outdoor public art galleries in the country. The goal is to get the first phase done in time for the Republican National Convention in July.

To that end, LAND Studio has recently launched an international search for artists to celebrate diversity through their works.

“Right now we are looking for any and all artists who are qualified and have portfolios in the realms of large-scale murals and photography,” explains Joe Lanzilotta, LAND studio project manager. “We don’t want to dissuade anyone from applying for this, because this is something that will last for many years into the future.”

Dubbed the INTER|URBAN project, in honor of Ohio’s history of having the largest interurban rail system in the country in the early 20th century, the task is a citywide initiative to create an experience that connects public transit riders physically, socially, and culturally through the installation of public art along Cleveland's transit railways.

The work should be inspired by the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, celebrating authors of literary works dealing with social justice and the celebration of diversity and the people of all cultures and backgrounds. “We want this to be something accessible, but we don’t want to be restrictive,” Lanzilotta says. “We want to make sure this project is highly visible to RTA riders, who will enjoy it and it will be a positive experience.”

“We want artists who can get it done,” Lanzilotta continues. “In this first phase it’s pretty critical in finding people who we feel can get this work done in a short period of time.”

The LAND Studio curatorial team will review all submissions before choosing the final group of artists. The curatorial team will then work with the artists on executing their projects. Artists will be paid for their work, Lanzilotta says, but the fees will not be pre-determined.

In addition to the Cleveland Foundation, LAND Studio partnered with the City of Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, North East Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards to bring INTER|URBAN to Cleveland.

Submissions are due by Friday, Jan. 29. For more information, artists and teams should review the requirements or contact Lanzilotta at jlanzilotta@land-studio.org.