In a vacant building, Latinx artists see a canvas ready to bloom

A new project from Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center will brighten an empty building in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood. The boarded-up Weber building at 3140 W. 25th St. will soon be adorned with three new murals by Latinx artists Gilberto Rivera, Bruno Casiano and Gabriel Mercano, improving the look of the building while giving space to marginalized voices.


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A new project from Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center will brighten an empty building in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood. The boarded-up Weber building at 3140 W. 25th St. will soon be adorned with three new murals by Latinx artists Gilberto Rivera, Bruno Casiano and Gabriel Marcano, improving the look of the building while giving space to marginalized voices.


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“El Museo de Mi Barrio celebrates Latin culture while giving a platform to Latin artists,” said Tarra Petras, public art coordinator with the city of Cleveland, in a presentation before the Cleveland Planning Commission on Friday, May 21st. “As you know, this neighborhood has a very large Latin population.”


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“The goal is to bring a collection of new and vibrant artwork by Latina, Latino and Latinx artists in the Clark Fulton and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods,” added McKenzie Merriman, program coordinator at Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center. “As these types of artists are rarely seen in museums or galleries, this project will bring artists to the street where people can see them.”


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Each of the panels is 106 inches wide by 92 inches tall. They are part of the Creative Fusion program that is being funded by the Cleveland Foundation. Two of the images will be digitally produced, while Gabriel Mercano will furnish a painting.

The method of installation will allow the murals to be reinstalled elsewhere, once the building renovations get underway. The Weber building property is part of the planned La Villa Hispana project, which is being led by NEOHCED.

According to a September 2019 press release, “The Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development (NEOHCED), with financing provided by Cleveland Development Advisors (CDA), the real estate investment affiliate of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, and with a social impact investment from the Cleveland Foundation, recently closed on a $939,000 acquisition of the former HJ Weber Building (3140 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44109). The development team led by NEOHCED and Detroit-Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO) are finalizing predevelopment activities to turn the onetime garment factory and light manufacturing plant into an adaptive reuse commercial and office building aimed at driving economic and community development efforts in La Villa Hispana.”

No update was provided on the planned renovations of the Weber building at the planning commission meeting.

In addition to the Cleveland Foundation and the NEOHCED, El Museo de Mi Barrio is supported by Metro West Community Development Corporation.

For more information about Julia de Burgos Center, call 216/894-5664 or visit www.juliadeburgos.org.

Lee Chilcote is a freelance writer and editor of The Land.

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