Nan’s Notes 4-28-17: Time to Celebrate Collinwood

By Nan Kennedy

I’ve been brooding over Phillip Morris’ PD column last Friday (April 24) in which he (and the headline writer) referred to our neighborhood as “further distanced” and suffering from ‘the nervous insecurity that comes with a neighborhood’s implosion.” I’ve only lived in Collinwood for 30 years (to speak with real authority, you have to be third generation) but I am not seeing implosion. I’m seeing a neighborhood whose residents went into shock when their factory-based way of life evaporated, some so much so that they moved “farther out.” But those who stayed in this family-friendly community of sturdy affordable homes, direct access to the lake, active churches and block clubs, pulled themselves together and began to forge a new path.

I speak from the middle of the forging, having been one of the founders of Waterloo Arts, an organization built entirely out of neighborhood effort.  Local artists rallied round, of course; so did lovers of the arts. And so did long-time residents who couldn’t tell a Michelangelo from a Modigliani, and don’t much want to – but who could recognize neighborhood action when they see it.

That was the DIY spirit that led Cindy Barber to start the Waterloo transformation by opening the Beachland Ballroom, that has encouraged nearly 20 years of grass-roots enterprise in arts-related businesses along Waterloo, backed by Northeast Shores’ infusion of grants and artist housing program. Meanwhile, our lakeshore parks are enjoying new life under Metroparks management; our Salvation Army temple has doubled its footprint and its programs; charter schools have expanded parents’ education choices; and long-neglected E185 is getting the attention it deserves. Bracketed as we are by Bratenahl and Euclid, it’s good to know that Bratenahl is stable and Euclid, like Collinwood, is building its way out of a vanished Rust Belt past.

Meanwhile, with every killing in the country reported 24/7 on social media, it’s hard not to feel we’re living in a jungle; a murder in San Francisco is as scary as one in Cleveland. There is no denying that too many of the nation’s murders are happening in Cleveland – but not all of them. We don’t have to react by turning our backs on the problem and running away. Indeed, many residents take these attacks on the fabric of neighborhood life as a call to action, a reason to get closer to their neighbors, more involved in the community, more active in volunteering. That’s why Collinwood is not imploding, but solidifying.

Don’t just take my word for it: the Cleveland Playhouse has put up an advertising billboard at the corner of Waterloo and E152; the Playhouse sees Collinwood as a potential audience, not a jungle.

If you’d like to share some positive Collinwood moments with Phillip Morris and his readers, you can send a letter to the editor ( 

Spring Spiff-Up at Waterloo Arts

As so often, Waterloo Arts is right up front offering you an opportunity to get involved: The Waterloo Arts building has seen a lot of use over the past 14 years (so many already!), and it has been muttering about needing TLC. So our dedicated board is swinging into action this weekend and next, and you are warmly invited to join them.

The spiffing will happen on April 29 and May 6, in two shifts – 9-12 and 12-3. (I’ll be there on May 6, after my trip to the market, with my trusty trowel.) If you can’t make those dates but you have an itchy paint brush, Amy will fit you in at another time.

What needs doing: patching and painting, drywall repair and installation, weeding and planting, assembling products, organizing, general cleaning, parking lot clean up, light electrical work (no pun intended!), carpentry, vinyl tile installation, floor sanding.

All that work will require supplies; donations are gratefully accepted along with labor.  You can go to the Web site and use Paypal, or send a check (15605 Waterloo Road, Cleveland 44110), or bring cash/check/card with you for your shift. Or donate supplies. Or get an in-kind donation from a business you know. To sign up for a shift or to donate through Paypal, go to

Dates to Remember

At the Market

May 6 will be tamale day, making masa from scratch and filling the tamale with pit-roasted local venison and other tasty things. Come and participate and you’ll get to take some home. Wednesday market will resume May 31.

She speaks!   Thursday, May 4

Dru Christine + Fashion Week at Westlake Porter Public Library

Designer Drue Thompson is one of the featured fashion professionals for WPPL ‘Fashion Week’, a weeklong series of fashionable events and presentations. Drue will present ‘Envision A Fashionable You’ with style ideas for Spring 2017 and beyond. To register for ‘Envision A Fashionable You’ or to learn more about these ‘Fashion Week’ events, call 440-871-2600 to register, or visit: To book Dru Thompson for fashion and business events, visit, #druchristine #entreprenuer #fashion #designer

The Big Clean      Saturday May 6

Sign up now at, as an individual or a group. Volunteers will meet at Villa Angela St. Joseph High School at 9 am, get supplies and head out to clean: your block, a city park or business district. Wear something yellow and bright. Take pictures of your work. After the cleanup, celebrate with food, music and prizes back at VASJ. For more information call Julia at 216-481-7660.

Walk All Over Waterloo   Friday May 5

At Waterloo Arts: WatchART! with Art Books Cleveland, an art book “petting zoo”

At Maria Neil: Deborah Pinter – Natural Selections : A Dresden Creation

BRICK Ceramic + Design Studio – Shop early! Mother’s Day Sale

Praxis Fiber Workshop – KOMBUCHA_Abby Clark Opening Exhibition

Satellite Gallery – Natural Environments : Phase III  Deborah Pinter

Article – Recent Paintings : Black & White – Artwork by Kathy Skerritt

Beachland Ballroom & Tavern – First Annual Hispanic Burlesque Showcase

Music for Mothers’ Day at Waterloo Arts      Sunday May 14

Mary Beth Ions and the Amethyst String Quartet will play at 4 pm.

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