The Waterloo Arts District is home to some of the city's most interesting and innovative small arts organizations, from Waterloo Arts to Praxis Fiber Arts, ArtiCle, Brick Ceramics and more. These organizations share a commitment to engaging with and serving the Collinwood community with arts programming throughout the year, from the annual Waterloo Arts Fest to the monthly Walk All Over Waterloo events, where residents and visitors can access visual and performing arts, poetry, workshops and more, all for free and all in a diverse and accessible space. It's a small but mighty crew of creatives, committed to supporting art in community. But the district faces some challenges.
While the groups centered there are active and engaged, there are still issues of vacancy, blight, abandoned and neglected buildings, and small, struggling operations. Most of the district's anchors are small non-profits that barely held on through the pandemic. The for-profit businesses are also small, locally owned and often struggling. This is a grassroots community, addressing real challenges with creativity and a willingness to make things happen through collaboration and shared resources.
Which is exactly the attitude the Waterloo Merchants are bringing to their latest challenge. When the merchants realized people were missing a lot of the magic during district events because it was just too hard to find the active spaces on the street, they set out to find a creative way to make it work. Their solution: hand-dyed banners, that will identify active locations for district events, bring color and beauty to the visual landscape, can be made by artists and residents, and be created inexpensively thanks to generous gifts of time, talent and materials from local arts groups. We're asking Awesome Foundation to help us make all this arts awesomeness happen by providing funding to cover artist fees for workshops that will create both placemaking banners and an arts experience for our neighbors.
Funded by Cleveland, OH (June 2022)