Thanks to Land Studio, a non-profit in Ohio City that works to connect people with places through public art and Cracking Art, a group of artists based in Milan, Italy, Cleveland has a new elephant just in time for the Republican National Convention. You won’t find him standing around the “Q” awaiting the arrival of politicians, but in the garden space behind the Transformer Station art gallery in Ohio City.
Additional whimsical, colorful creatures made of a plastic-like material have been placed throughout the city. The view from Superior Avenue as you approach the Cleveland Public Library will cause you to do a double take as blue birds reminiscent of the Twitter logo greet you at the main entrance, while meerkats keep watch from above.
Cracking Art has brought its message of social and environmental awareness to over 384 exhibits worldwide, and while I don’t profess to know the artists’ political views, this exhibit seems timely not just in the wake of the RNC, but on a global scale as well. It reminds us of art’s ability to speak to us and how we each bring our own individual life experiences to the process of interpretation.
Birds of a feather do seem to flock together as seen on W. 29th Street in Ohio City, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, when I saw the scene below.
The Great Lakes Science Center has been visited by a pack of wolves that can be seen on the lawn area between the Science Center and the Rock Hall of Fame. Children and adults alike will enjoy the whimsical nature of this unlikely scene. Yet as security tightens in Cleveland for the RNC and with tragedies in Baton Rouge, Dallas and France, it can feel like the wolves really are at the door.
As the world continues its precarious balance between tragedy and hope (often inspired by art) Aesop’s Fable – The Snail and the Rose-Tree – to this day may still bring cause for hope depending on which voice you choose to follow.
“You have led a very easy life,” remarked the snail.
“Certainly. Everything was given me,” said the rose-tree. “But still more was given to you. Yours is one of those deep-thinking natures, one of those highly gifted minds that astonishes the world.”
“I have not the slightest intention of doing so,” said the snail. “The world is nothing to me. What have I to do with the world? I have enough to do with myself, and enough in myself”
“But must we not all here on earth give up our best parts to others, and offer as much as lies in our power? It is true, I have only given roses. But you – you who are so richly endowed- what have you given to the world? What will you give it?” asked the rose-tree.
“What have I given? What am I going to give? I spit at it; it’s good for nothing, and does not concern me. For my part, you may go on bearing roses; you cannot do anything else. I have mine in myself. I retire within myself and there I stop. The world is nothing to me.”
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO GIVE TO THE WORLD – WHAT CONCERNS YOU?
Exhibit runs through October 14, 2016
Follow on Twitter: #flockCLE
Thanks to Land Studio for bringing art to public spaces for all to see.
Art Work © Cracking Art
Snail Photo © Bob Perkosk
All Other Photos © Larry Hamill Photography