Black Girls Spend Time in the Circle

Zoe: Anybody who resides in the CLE should visit a museum at least once a year. Honestly, there are no excuses for any of us considering the number of museums located here and those free admission days that occur more than once a year.

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From science and automobiles to music and sports, as well as art, both traditional and contemporary, Cleveland has no shortage of museums including one rated in 2016 as the 2nd best museum in the U.S.

We should be proud of the Cleveland Museum of Art fondly known as CMA. Not only for its collection of art, its recent multi-million dollar renovation, but for its exhibitions, musical performances, cafe & restaurant, and popular parties like the MIX and Solstice.  

Perhaps some of us don’t visit the CMA because we think it’s boring and not for us. Who cares about old stuff, art that makes no sense, and doesn’t represent us?

Whatever our reasons for not visiting, we should challenge our assumptions and go anyway. We might learn something new, have fun, a relevant moment, or spend time reflecting on life.  

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My first time exploring CMA

Chauna:  I have lived in Cleveland for 9 years now, and this past summer was the first time I went to the art museum. An impromptu decision became a mind-blowing experiment for me. The exhibit that I wanted to see, Black in America, was in a room to itself and highlighted the work of Louis Draper and Leonard Freed.  A tale of two men, one white and one black, who captured the essence of Black America.

It meant so much to me to see these photos and descriptions of my people. It was heartbreaking to see other museum-goers walk right past the room and not bother to see it. Art imitating life, literally. And while that exhibit was there for a limited time, the art displayed all year around was just as fascinating.

Shana introduced me to her favorite painting and it was life-changing. All I can say is that if you are contemplating direction in your life, it can give you clarity. There is so much history and facts that you leave feeling enriched.

 Lot's Wife at Cleveland Museum of Art

Lot's Wife at Cleveland Museum of Art

University Circle has so much to offer, including the UH bikes. I’m terrified of riding on the main streets, but part of my 2018 bucket list will be to take a spin on the bikes one Sunday afternoon around the circle.

Zoe: Wade Oval is the perfect spot for folks to gather and have a good time, even if it is cold outside. Holiday CircleFest took place on December 2 and I could tell that everyone was enjoying themselves.

The weather was perfect for outdoor shopping, grabbing a bite to eat at one of the food trucks, and strolling around the Circle. Families also ice-skated and rode around the Circle in horse-drawn carriages. There was even a guy ice carving.

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All the museums around the Circle were free. I found a couple of new favorites: the outdoor wildlife exhibit at the Natural History Museum and the new exhibit at the Cleveland History Center’s, Cleveland Starts Here.

Cleveland Starts Here...But Where?

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Shana: I had been seeing friends post on Facebook about wanting to go to the Cleveland History Center for something called Cleveland Starts Here. But where was the Cleveland History Center? Fast forward to the Holiday Circlefest.

By this time I had reconnected with the Natural History Museum, and I spend lots of time at the art museum, so when I had seen the carousel in the window while looking for a place to park I knew I had to go exploring.

 Shana at Perkins Wildlife Center

Shana at Perkins Wildlife Center

As I approached there were banners on the building, Cleveland Starts Here.  “Oh this is the Cleveland History Center,” I thought, as I entered the building. Then I realized I had been there before.  As I looked around I realized, I was in the Crawford Auto Museum part of the Western Reserve Historical Society and the venue of my high school prom. Snapping myself back from my 90s memories I began to explore the new exhibit.

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For a small space, there is so much to see there. From early artifacts of the city we call home to more recent items such as the podium from the Republican National Convention and one of Lebron’s shoes that he wore in Game 7 to win the 2016 Championship. There is also the very large Chief Wahoo from the old Municipal Stadium.  

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I was so amazed that I stepped out of blogger mode and decided to just be present. I was awestruck by the one side of the room that had a timeline of Cleveland.  I wanted to sit and watch the movie that was playing in the viewing area and I wanted to look through every drawer and read every caption of every artifact.  I plan to return one day soon so I can take my time and see all that the exhibit and museum has to offer.  

 Euclid Beach Park Carousel at the Cleveland History Center

Euclid Beach Park Carousel at the Cleveland History Center

Obviously,  University Circle is a great place to spend the day and is so much more than the very popular Wade Oval Wednesday concert series. There are museums for everyone in the family and you can park once and spend the day exploring it all.   If your heading out to the University Circle be sure to check the museum websites for hours, and pricing as the museums close at different times and all have different pricing structures.

Let us know your favorite places to explore around University Circle. View our photos and read our post on our other visits to University Circle.