The first great street art hot spot I found after moving Cleveland a few years ago was Collinwood and Waterloo Art District. And there is something about a first love, or maybe it is just this special neighborhood, because I still really do enjoy coming here every change I get.
I like the coffee at Six Shooters and the pizza at Citizen Pie. Browsing records at Blue Arrow and toy memorabilia at Star Pop is also on the cool list. But most of all I come here for the street art and for the Monthly 1st Friday Walk all over Waterloo, with open galleries and workshops, some live music and artsy shopping. Every June the neighborhood also throw a great party at Waterloo Arts Fest with live music, art vendors and food trucks.
The Waterloo Art district was previously know as Arts Collinwood. A number of the murals in the Waterloo Art District is dated back to 2012, where Collinwood raised funds for neigborhood revitalization and the Zoetic Wall project. The purpose of the project was to creatively combat urban vacancy and foreclosures, turning older industrial buildings into artist spaces and seek new creatives ways to revive run down neighborhoods. A total of 17 murals were made as part of that initiate project and more has followed since.
The Zoetic Walls project was organized by Pawn Works, then run by Nick Marzullo and Seth Mooney, two Cleveland locales who had build a great reputation as curators of public art from their brick and mortar gallery and street art projects in Chicago. The well connected duo made it possible to hire a number of street art hot shots from both the US and abroad. This did get some attention as some locals felt, the murals did not represent the local community. Others appreciated the new life and color on the rundown old buildings and tried to convince the local critics that new art sometimes needs a little getting use to. Personally I always do appreciate projects that make an effort to include local artists as well as affected neighbors, but still, I have to say, I do love Waterloo, and the Zoetic walls were what initially attracted a Cleveland newcomer like myself to the area.
Fun fact extra
Find the KABOOM mural on 15805 Waterloo Rd. The notorious mobster Danny Greene once lived in what is now an empty lot. The house was bombed on May 12, 1975 in an attempt to kill Greene. The movie Kill the Irishman will tell you the story.