Expressions of Black Culture Public Art Passport

Expressions of Black Culture Public Art Passport

Throughout Cleveland’s neighborhoods and into the suburbs, works of art celebrating Black culture and commemorating moments and contributions of Black residents dot the landscape. Use this free passport to track your progress on a self-guided and self-paced tour of 35 works. The passport’s featured pieces, which are by both local and national artists, can be viewed from public access points. Plus, users who check in at 25 sites will be entered in a quarterly drawing for a $200 gift basket filled with goods from local minority-owned businesses. As some works are located on private buildings, please respect the properties and the neighborhoods that host them.

All check-ins must be completed by March 31, 2023.

Click here to see what’s included!

Expressions of Black Culture Public Art Passport

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  • Explore murals throughout Cleveland

Included Venues

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"A World Built Of Sweat And Steel"
Artist: John Rivera-Resto

During Cleveland’s industrial heyday, workers poured into the city from many nations in Eastern Europe, along with African Americans leaving the South during the Great Migration. Together, these groups created the products that Cleveland shipped around the world. John Rivera-Resto and his team tell the story of these products and people through this expansive mural in the Slavic Village neighborhood. Portions of this mural were never completed, but it has an interesting story to tell even in its incomplete state.
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"Arches Of Tradition"
Artist: Jerome T White

These nine arched murals represent the nine innings of a baseball game. They are applied to the facade of League Park, the first home of professional baseball in Cleveland. Both the Cleveland Indians of the American League and Cleveland Buckeyes of the Negro League called the Hough neighborhood home for a time. Eight arches contain paintings of legendary players with connections to League Park: Satchel Paige, Babe Ruth, Elmer Smith, Bill Wamby, Quincy Trouppe, Tris Speaker, Bob Feller and Cy Young. The ninth arch depicts the artist Jerome White and his son and represents passing down tradition through the game of baseball.
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"Bound For Glory"
Artist: Jerome T. White

This mural, sponsored by the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Community Mural Program, is located on the facade of Al’s Deli in the Glenville neighborhood. It references Cleveland’s position as one of the final stops on the Underground Railroad. The boy on the front of the train has arrived at his destination and looks forward to a new beginning.
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"Bridge That Bridges"
Artist: Gus Turner et al.

In 1958, the Innerbelt freeway separated Downtown Cleveland from the neighborhoods immediately to the east. The freeway is an example of structural racism built into the infrastructure of the city. In 2018, the “Bridge That Bridges” project was completed, decorating the connections over the Innerbelt on Cedar Avenue and East 22nd Street. These bridges are the remaining links from the Central neighborhood to Downtown Cleveland. Over the course of the six-month project, people that work, live or go to school on either side of the bridge were engaged in dialogue about race, segregation and privilege. These conversations became the basis for the design of the mural.
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"Cleveland is the Reason"
Artist: Glen Infante

Glen Infante’s large-format work often features celebrities and cultural icons in a bright, vibrant style. “Cleveland is the Reason” focuses on famous Northeast Ohioans, including Olympic track and field legend Jesse Owens, basketball star LeBron James, football great Jim Brown, musicians Machine Gun Kellyand Tracy Chapman and Nobel Prize winning writer Toni Morrison. The work, which is located in Downtown Cleveland, was commissioned by Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett as part of his efforts to support artists of color in Cleveland.
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"Community Of Rhythm"
Artist: Multiple Artists

The many panels within this mural depict young people from several countries with a presence in the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood: Slovenia, Croatia, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Puerto Rico, Lithuania and Nigeria. They wear traditional ethnic clothes and play instruments from their region. The mural was created as part of the “Mural My Neighborhood” program and lives on the west-facing wall of Sheliga Drug Store on St. Clair Avenue.
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"Kings And Queens Of Lakeview Terrace"
Artist: Ananda Nahu

The retaining wall along the West Shoreway has separated the Lakeview Terrace housing projects from the rest of the Ohio City neighborhood for over 75 years. Brazilian artist Ananda Nahu visited with the children of Lakeview Terrace and created this mural to reflect their lived experience. She was particularly moved by the strength of Black culture in the Lakeview Terrace community and the vulnerability of the children. "Each one is very precious. Each kid here is like a king and like a queen,” she said. At 620 feet long, the mural is the longest in Ohio.
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"Life Is Sharing The Same Park Bench"
Artist: John F. Morrell

Painted in 1969 by John Morrell and a group of volunteers, this work was commissioned by Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes. Located in Downtown Cleveland, it shows four people of different races, genders and ages sitting together. In the early 1990s there was a proposal to paint over it, but public outcry resulted in its restoration.
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"New Horizons"
Artist: Neal Hamilton

Neal Hamilton’s “New Horizons” greets you at the southern entrance to Quincy Park in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood. The family depicted in the mural is on a path through lush terrain that represents hope for a bright future. The image represents the connection the park makes between the neighborhood and nature. The vibrant colors symbolize the vitality of the Fairfax community. This work was installed as part of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Community Mural Program.
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"The Storyteller: Hough"
Artist: Anna Arnold

This mural, part of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Community Mural Program, is located on the Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center in the Hough neighborhood. Anna Arnold relates the story of a wise old woman telling the neighborhood children about her past. First, she is shown as a girl standing in front of the church with her parents. The quilt, which represents her stories and dreams, winds through the mural, showing connection to one's heritage and past. The couple with the child represents hope for a prosperous future.
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"What Is That In Thyne Hand?"
Artist: Van Taylor Monroe III

Van Taylor Monroe III is a Cleveland-based artist best known for his custom hand-painted sneakers. His work “Obama ’08” is painted on a pair of Nikes and is featured in the Smithsonian Museum. During a residency at Cleveland Museum of Art, Monroe created this mural in the Fairfax neighborhood for the façade of St. Adalbert School, the oldest African American Catholic parish in the Cleveland. Monroe explained that his inspiration for the piece is drawn from the Old Testament “where God reveals to Moses that the only tool needed to fulfill his destiny is already in his hand.” He elaborated, “My goal was to illustrate this message and encourage people to pursue their dreams, becoming a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic or beginning at Karamu House to become a film and theater director.”
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African-American Cultural Garden
Artist: W. Daniel Bickerstaff II

Rockefeller Park is home to 33 gardens celebrating Cleveland’s diverse heritage. The African American Cultural Garden features this work, “The Past Pavilion,” which evokes the experience of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The Garden reflects the despair and brutal conditions of departing Africa through its polished black granite walls, which create a sense of compression, tension and apprehension. The path between the walls evokes a sense of going down into the bowels of a slave ship. The sandstone portal is the “Doorway of No Return” which represents transition into the unknown. A second phase “The Future Pavilion” is in the planning and fundraising stage.
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Atlas Against The Wall / Don’t Kill Your Lily
Artist: LNY

Installed in 2015 as part of the Zoetic Walls project in the Waterloo Arts District of the Collinwood neighborhood, this piece is by Ecuadorian artist Layqa Nuna Yawar, known as LNY. His artwork seeks to disrupt established systems and reimagine a world of shared liberation and a better future. In Greek mythology, Atlas was a titan condemned to hold up the celestial sphere for eternity.
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Black Girl At Chalkboard
Artist: September Shy

September Shy’s work explores culture and identity through design. The complex works of the “Black Girl at Chalkboard” series use powerful black and white contrast with pops of color to explore social and political issues. This work is the first permanent piece in the series and is applied to the west side of Deep Roots Experience art gallery in the Fairfax neighborhood.
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Constellation
Artist: Odili Donald Odita

Odili Donald Odita’s large-scale works use kaleidoscopic patterns and vibrant colors to reflect the human condition. The “Constellation” mural was installed on the east-facing exterior of the historic Halle Building in Downtown Cleveland as part of the 2018 FRONT International art exhibition. Born in Nigeria and raised in the American Midwest, his work evokes a sense of dual identity, and “Constellation” combines aspects of Western and African culture.
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Dialoge, Diversity, Democracy
Artist: Christopher Darling

A mural sponsored by the City Club of Cleveland for the Freedom of Speech Mural Project, this work is that of the late Christopher Darling. Located at Collinwood High School in the Collinwood neighborhood, “Dialogue, Diversity, Democracy” depicts three groups of racially diverse men and women. These groups are set against the simple linear illustrations that recall a graphic novel to reflect the diversity of the neighborhood and the ideals of the City Club.
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Don't Judge Each Day By The Harvest You Reap But By The Seeds That You Plant
Artist: Sequoia C. Versillee

The title of this mural is drawn from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson. Artist Sequoia Versilee chose it because it represents the pay-it-forward spirit of Kathryn Tyler. "Mrs. T," as she was affectionately called, founded what is now the Murtis Tayler Center in 1971. She was a passionate social activist, who dedicated herself to the service of her community. The work of “Mrs. T” and the Murtis Taylor Human Services System continues to improve lives in the Glenville neighborhood every day.
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Harvey Rice Photomurals
Artist: Don Black Jr. 

Two large scale photomurals grace the front and rear facades of the Harvey Rice Branch Library in the Buckeye-Woodhill neighborhood. The photos were taken and produced by Cleveland artist Don Black Jr. “Reflection of Self” depicts a young boy reading. “Tangle” shows a young girl throwing her head back with her eyes closed, suggesting that she is dreaming of something. This installation was funded by the St. Luke’s Foundation.
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Jesse Owens, Olympic Champion
Artist: William M. McVey

At age nine, Jesse Owens’ family moved to Cleveland from Alabama so that his father and older brother could work in the steel mills. Owens rose to prominence in track and field while at East Technical High School. He continued his dominance on the track at Ohio State University, where he set three world records and matched a fourth in the span of 45 minutes during the Big Ten meet in 1935. Most famously, Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics held in Nazi-controlled Germany. McVey’s sculpture in Huntington Park captures Owens as he crosses the finish line, arms raised and eyes closed relishing victory.
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Lady Noel
Artist: Lauren Pearce

This mural by Cleveland-based artist Lauren Pearce is in Cleveland’s Midtown neighborhood. Pearce uses iconic shapes and color to captivate viewers. Lauren’s artwork aims to brings forth the colorful language of womanhood, race and identity.
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Larry Doby
Artist: David Deming

Larry Doby was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball’s American League, signing with the Cleveland Indians in July 1947 – just three months after Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Throughout the 1940s, Indians owner Bill Veeck had been planning to integrate the team when he could find a player who was both talented enough to be a star player and with the disposition to stand up to the racism that he would undoubtedly face. Doby was just that player. On October 9, 1948, Doby became the first Black player to hit a home run in the World Series. Deming sculpted Doby taking off for first base just after launching a home run. This work sits outside the outfield gate of Progressive Field in Downtown Cleveland.
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Luke Easter
Artist: William M. McVey

Following closely behind Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby, Luke Easter was one of the first players to integrate professional baseball. He was the second African American in the Pacific Coast League. When asked his opinion on integrating the PCL he told San Diego Padres president Bill Starr, “Everybody likes me when I hit the ball.” Easter joined the Indians in 1949 and a year later hit the longest home run in the history of Cleveland Municipal Stadium, a ball that cleared the auxiliary scoreboard and travelled an estimated 505 feet. After his playing career, Easter served as union steward at a factory in Euclid. In 1979, he was killed during an armed robbery. The park in Cleveland’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood was named in his honor, and this bust was erected in the park.
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Maya Angelou
Artist: mr.soul and others

This mural, located on the side of Nikki’s Music in the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood, is part of the Inner City Hues project by LAND Studio. Over a dozen artists worked with residents and community stakeholders in conceptualizing, designing and implementing public art installations. The words surrounding the poet represent the struggles faced in her life and in the lives of many people in the neighborhood. The scroll contains Angelou’s own written words of inspiration. This mural is primarily the work of Cleveland artist Kevin “mr.soul” Harp, who was assisted by members of the graffiti artists group Cleveland Skribe Tribe and local residents.
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Our Lives Matter
Artist: Gary Williams & Robin Robinson

This two-story work was inspired by a Washington Post article that reported a rise from 860 to 1,092 non-accidental police killings of Black people from 2014 to 2015. The boy in a hooded sweatshirt is a reference to 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who in 2012 was killed by a neighborhood watchman partly because he was racially profiled for wearing a hoodie. This work was later presented in augmented reality on the Cuyahoga County Courthouse as part of the Art in Our Midst project.
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Road To Freedom
Artist: Stina Aleah, Davon Brantley, and Christa Childs

The suburb of Bedford was formed as a railroad town and played a part in the Underground Railroad, which helped deliver escaped slaves to freedom. The mural features important faces and stories from the Underground Railroad, including Julius Ceasar Tibbs who was an orator, philosopher and humorist that lived in Bedford for 50 years after escaping slavery. Downtown Bedford Alliance partnered with GraffitiHeart to produce this work.
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Ruby Dee Monument
Artist: Kent Twichell

Karamu House, America’s oldest producing African American theatre, hosts this 40-foot-tall mural of the actress Ruby Dee whose extraordinary career on stage and screen spanned six decades. Dee was born in Cleveland in 1922 but grew up in Harlem. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for her portrayal of Mama Lucas in American Gangster. She and her husband actor Ossie Davis were long-time supporters of Karamu House. Known for his large-format portraits, artist Kent Twitchell explained his rationale for placing Ruby on the Karamu House facade by saying, “When I was growing up, we used to have heroes to look up to and give us inspiration. And, so, I just wanted Cleveland to have one that would make sense.”
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Stephanie Tubbs-Jones
Artist: Michael Murphy

Stephanie Tubbs Jones was the first African American woman to be elected to Congress in Ohio. This sculpture by Michael Murphy sits in front of the Downtown Cleveland Transit Center named in her honor. Murphy’s sculpture often relies on the viewer’s perspective and perception to reveal its full form. In this piece, eight stainless steel sheets stick up vertically from a granite base. When viewed head-on, the eight images align into a portrait of the Congresswoman. From any other angle, they appear to be abstract.
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Storytime (BLM)
Artist: Chanell and Donald Boyd

Residents and community activists Chanell and Donald Boyd were set to open the Cure Nail Gallery in this building on East 156th Street in the Collinwood neighborhood. The Boyds installed a new public art work that more adequately reflected the spirit of the community in 2020. Chanell explains that “Storytime (BLM)” depicts a young Black boy under a tree, reading a story about his ethnicity and his family.” Seven pages of the book are open, and four artists were free to interpret their own “page.” Artists Lacy “Lacerrrr” Talley, Michelle Suells, Aldonte Flonnoy and Niquo Braxton each contributed to the mural.
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Unity And Community
Artist: Christopher Darling and KSU Design

Oriana House is a residential reentry center in the Hough neighborhood. Illustrator Christopher Darling secured a grant to design a mural that would integrate with Oriana House’s reentry curriculum. Darling and design students from Kent State University translated self-portraits from those in the program to large-scale. Then, the Oriana House residents painted themselves into the impressive “Unity and Community” mural.
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Voices Of CLE - Lauren Pearce
Artist: Lauren Pearce

This work by Lauren Pearce, a Black artist based in Cleveland who creates powerful mixed media art to explore the colorful language of womanhood, race and identity, was installed on the recently renovated Lincoln Building in Downtown Cleveland. Lauren’s powerful images and dramatic use of color pulls inspiration from the community and captivate all who walk by them.
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Vote!
Artist: Gary Williams, Robin Robinson, and David Hayes

This work in the Glenville neighborhood depicts a young Black boy’s cry for action and awareness. Robin Robinson, who is also active in community organizing in Glenville, designed the mural with the neighborhood in mind. The work was produced by Sankofa Fine Art Plus, an organization which promotes awareness and appreciation of the rich history and tradition of African American art and artists.
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