This summer, the cultured traveler is looking beyond the coasts and discovering a contemporary art center in America’s heartland. With the inaugural FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, the city of Cleveland has commissioned more than 100 local, national and international artists to join the city’s evolving transformation into a prominent cultural center. And everyone’s invited to the party. After all, in 2014 Cleveland hosted the Gay Games, an international sporting event for LGBTQ athletes and their allies, and in 2016 hosted the Republican National Convention that nominated Donald Trump. (For the record, Cleveland voted for Hillary Clinton by 66.1%). It is the rare city where everyone is welcome, and where the moxie of its people is on par with their midwestern charm…
This summer, the contemporary art world is converging in Cleveland. Through September 30, the city hosts the inaugural FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, engaging the region with over 100 programs by international, national and local artists. From traditional museums to repurposed spaces, the Cleveland Triennial is enabling art lovers to explore the city’s major attractions and travelers to revel in world-class contemporary art.
One of the highlights, The American Library by artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, fittingly displayed in the Cleveland Public Library, celebrates the diversity of the United States—never more topical than with the backdrop of the immigration debate, the President’s controversial travel ban and the recent outcry over the separation of families at the border. The American Library consists of approximately 6,000 books, each wrapped in a traditional African textile and stamped in gold with the name of a first- or second-generation immigrant to the United States. And the featured Americans will surprise you: from Leonard Bernstein to Scarlett Johansson to—yes—Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump. Though the backgrounds are all different, each person shares a common bond, they are the American product of immigration.
Curious about an individual’s background?
Head to theamericanlibraryinstallation.com to research the cultural heritage that has shaped each of these Americans. I was particularly drawn to the stories of those who are actively fighting against immigration, though they themselves have greatly benefitted from our nation’s history of welcoming other cultures. For example: Ted Cruz, born in Canada to a Cuban father; or Donald Trump, whose mother is from the U.K. and paternal grandparents are from Germany.
Chances are, you have your own immigration tale. Visit the website to add your story and photograph to the expanding narrative.
What is better than a donut shop? …A donut shop with beer!
Located in the Gordon Square neighborhood of Cleveland, Brewnuts combines two delicious tastes, not typically enjoyed together. Clevelanders Shelley and John Pippin, not only incorporate craft-beer as an ingredient in their doughy deliciousness, but also serve sixteen local brews on tap (and even more bottled). The donuts are all hand-made in their shop, with a regularly changing menu that includes traditional favorites and seasonal features. During my recent visit, the daily offerings included Maple Bacon, Strawberry Sprinkle and Peanut Butter Cocoa Pebbles, among others.
The shop features artwork by local artist Glen Infante and bright-pink donut floaties adorning the tropical-leaf printed wallpaper. Enjoy a donut or brew at the counter or relax in the lanai-inspired sitting area. The Brewnuts shop is trendy and tropical, with decor fitting for both the ladies of Mean Girls and Golden Girls.