Tag Archives: museum

Cleveland Sketch Crawl: Discovering and Drawing the Carnegie West Library

Carnegie West Library Branch

The Carnegie West Library Branch in Ohio City was the location for the April CLE Sketch Crawl


 When I was in high school, I spent a sizable chunk of my time buried in a sketch book. I fashioned a makeshift studio out of a corner of my bedroom with an easel and supply cabinet. And instead of posters of musicians or actors, I decorated most of my spaces with prints by my favorite artists.       

Side view of Carnegie West Library Branch

The library is triangular in shape to conform to the outline of the park it's located on


In college, though, I fell out of practice because I didn’t make the time to pursue it. I still have the easel, and on occasion I’ve sat down, started something, then eventually given up because I was having problems coming up with subject matter. And while I’ve enjoyed my time spent with other pursuits, there have been moments where I missed the quiet of just working on a sketch for a couple of hours.      

Subsequently, it was a very happy accident when I purchased tickets for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s Hidden Cleveland Tour and a link for the Cleveland Sketch Crawl caught my eye. As I quickly learned, the CLE Sketch Crawl is an ongoing series sponsored by the DCA that falls on the first Saturday of the month. A different spot is highlighted each month where the group gathers to learn a little history, then sketch it. And my favorite part … free access to some of the most interesting places in the city.      

Main Room of Carnegie West Branch

The first stop on the tour - the Main Room of the Carnegie West Branch


The most recent event was this past Saturday at the Carnegie West branch of the Cleveland Public Library. The Sketch Crawl met at 10 am on the steps of the library, which is located at 1900 Fulton Road. Before we set about sketching, the branch librarian went over the history of the building and gave a behind-the-scenes tour. Carnegie West is both the first branch library in the city (celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year), as well as the largest (28,000 total square feet).        

During the tour, we had the opportunity to see not only the main rooms of the branch, but also the old Dickens room, the former auditorium in the basement, and a handful of other rooms that are generally inaccessible to the public. Although restoration efforts need to be made to some of the rooms, a lot of the original – and beautiful – framing and woodwork is still there. Additionally, we learned about some of the upcoming events at the branch including their Alfred Hitchcock Film Festival (April 8, 15 & 22 at 5:30 pm) and a Jazz concert featuring the Oberlin College Music Conservatory (April 17 at 2:00 pm).      

St. Patrick's Church near the Carnegie West Branch

Other nearby buildings, such as St. Patrick's Church, also provided excellent subject matter for sketching


After the tour, we got down to sketching until noon. With its modified Renaissance style of architecture and brick structure with terra cotta trim, the exterior of the library provided ample subject matter for a number of us. However, the park and other nearby structures — such as St. Patrick’s Church on Bridge Avenue — were also interesting.  Even the interior of the library was where some focused their attention — one group member did a beautiful watercolor depiction of the art tiles above the fireplace in the Children’s Room.      

Although this was my first Sketch Crawl, this event series has been taking place since 2007.  Recent crawls have included the Metroparks Zoo’s Rainforest, the old Gospel Press Building, and Tyler Village – former home of the Tyler Elevator Company. And now that the weather is turning warm, the May Sketch Crawl is supposed to be at the Mather/downtown lakefront area.      

Besides getting to explore unusual spots in Cleveland, the Sketch Crawl is worth checking out because it provides a low key venue for people who use a variety of mediums (from pencil, ink, and charcoal to watercolor and photography) and also bring different skill levels (from someone like me – who was 10 years out of practice – to individuals with a finely developed skill). I’m excited to check out the Sketch Crawl in coming months and am pleasantly surprised that my new pursuit of discovering and writing about Cleveland has led me to rediscovering another pursuit I used to enjoy so much.      

Closeup of exterior columns

Beautiful detailing on and around the exterior columns



CLE Sketch Crawl/Carnegie West Library 411:

Cleveland Sketch Crawl
First Saturday of every month at varying locations
Sponsored by Downtown Cleveland Alliance

Carnegie West  Branch Library
Location and Hours
Branch Events/Programs

Cleveland Rocks at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Cleveland Rocks at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (photo by STH)


Since this is a blog about where to go when visiting Cleveland, I’m going to start with one of the first places that comes to mind when someone mentions Cleveland:  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.   

The first time I visited the Rock Hall was for a holiday party at work. Having recently moved here at the time, dining and perusing the exhibits afterhours was a pretty enjoyable way to spend an evening. Since then, I’ve been back a handful of times when friends have come to town wanting to check out a Cleveland icon.   

Birthplace of Rock 'N' Roll (photo by STH)


The Rock Hall is hard to miss.  A glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei, it’s one of the most eye-catching buildings downtown lining the Lake Erie coast.  In 1995, it opened its doors to the public. With seven floors of exhibition space, it’s easy to get lost in there for hours.  Considering the role Cleveland played in the history of rock and roll (it’s where the term was first coined and popularized by Alan Freed), it’s no wonder that the Rock Hall makes its home here.   

At the core of the museum are 18 permanent exhibits that each give a unique perspective on the history of rock and roll. Some of the exhibits highlight the careers of past and current legends including Michael Jackson, Les Paul, U2, and Jimi Hendrix. Another exhibit traces the development of pivotal music scenes through the decades — from Memphis and Detroit to Liverpool, San Francisco, LA, New York, London and Seattle. And for those interested in local music, the Hang on Sloopy exhibit examines the music of Ohio.     

In addition to the permanent installations, the Rock Hall is constantly developing temporary exhibits to spotlight various artists and themes. If you’re a Bruce fan, the 5th and 6th floors of the museum are currently dedicated to From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen until the end of 2010.    And after the phenomenal photography exhibit Live from Madison Square Garden: From the Lens of George Kalinsky closes on March 14, an exhibit celebrating 35 years of Austin City Limits will open from March 20 to September 6.    

Of course, no visit to the museum would be complete without stopping by the actual Hall of Inductees. A theatre in the Hall houses a multimedia production about the inductees, and a walkway travels along a series of glass panels etched with their signatures leading you to artifacts from the current class. A game Scott and I enjoy playing when we’re in the Hall of Inductees is picking out which panel we’d take home with us based on the signatures etched on each one (if I could, I’d claim the panel featuring Roy Orbison).  When the Class of 2010 is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, the Rock Hall will host an Induction Ceremony Watch Party with tickets on sale for $5.   

My personal favorite part of the museum, however, is the Alan Freed Radio Station housed on premises.  Not only can you listen in on a live broadcast while hanging out in the museum’s courtyard, but you can also visit the studio on the upper floors and watch the show unfold right in front of you. It’s this behind-the-scenes look that makes the Radio Station one of my favorite features of the museum.   

With all of these things to see at the Rock Hall, it’s no wonder it’s such an iconic part of the city.   


Rock Hall 411:   

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
(East Ninth Street at Lake Erie)   

Hours, Admission and Directions   

Twitter: @Rock_Hall