Tag Archives: Sketch Crawl

The Cleveland Museum of Art's Armor Court

My most recent trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art was for October's Sketch Crawl in the Armor Court. (photo by ADHicken)

It would be impossible for me to write just one post about the Cleveland Museum of Art and successfully cover all of its exhibitions and collections.  Sure, there are volumes of books dedicated to this city treasure which are capable of doing it justice.  However, if I tried fitting the entirety of the internationally celebrated museum in one entry, it’d be too long for even me to read. 

Similarly, it’s just as difficult to see all of the Art Museum in only one visit. While I’ve been there a few times since moving to Cleveland, I still haven’t explored everything. My most recent visit was in October when the monthly Cleveland Sketch Crawl met in the Museum’s Armor Court

This section of the Museum has always been one of my favorite parts of the recently reopened 1916 gallery. When we came to the city in 2008, the Museum was about halfway through its massive ongoing renovation. The first time we visited the Museum was to see the temporary exhibit Arms and Armor from Imperial Austria. It was an excellent teaser for the re-unveiling of the Museum’s renowned Armor Court which happened later that year.  

The Armor Court features European arms and armor from 1400 – 1700 and includes helmets, weaponry of the blade, arrow and gun variety, and even full body armor for man and horse. Many of the pieces were acquired in 1916, when the Museum’s first director Frederic Allen Whiting persuaded John Long Severance to buy and donate a collection of armor from a collector in Boston. 

Sketch of a helmet and detailing from the State Guard of Elector Christian I of Saxony, 1560-1591 (sketch by ADHicken)

Since then it’s been a hit among visitors — especially children and those who typically have to be dragged to see art — for its glimpse into an exciting (and violent) part of history. In recent decades, curators discovered that some of the pieces original to the exhibit were fakes made of mismatched parts. These have since been replaced with authentic armor. The now fully genuine collection is housed in a beautiful, light-filled, enclosed courtyard.  With the 2008 reopening, the Armor Court was returned to how it looked in 1998, when it last underwent a top-to-bottom renovation.

When I visited for the Cleveland Sketch Crawl, I spent some time walking around the gallery trying to figure out what I wanted to draw during my short stay. While I was there, I enjoyed tracing the evolution of armor from Medieval to Renaissance times.

In the Middle Ages, there were mail tunics, or hauberks, that provided lighter-weight, more-flexible protection than their iron predecessors. Made of thousands of metal rings linked together, mail armor was coupled with helmets and shields for additional security.

Because of the challenges presented by longbows, crossbows and eventually firearms, plate armor became the new necessity in the Renaissance. These full suits of armor were made of hundreds of steel plates joined together to fit their owner specifically. This allowed for full protection, but also continued to offer the flexibility needed to fight. Other aspects of the body armor made shields unnecessary by deflecting attacks with angled surfaces. These surfaces also became a blank canvas for detailed designs and etchings such as a family’s coat of arms or illustrations of a warrior’s skill and style.  

A trip to the Armor Court allows you to view this evolution, as well as the weapons that inspired them.  For Medieval armor, there are examples of mail shirts from the 1400s in Europe and helmets from places like Italy. Likewise, there are full-body and partial suits of plated armor from the Renaissance, such as the centerpiece of the Museum’s Armor Court: the Field Armor for Man and Horse. One of the most memorable sights of the room, it’s a life-size model of a man and horse both decked out in full gear. The suit is from North Italy with gilding, leather and velvet etched with the Arms of the Vols-Colonna Family. It’s a magnificent site that can stop first-time visitors in their tracks.

Sketch of Armor for Man and Horse with the Arms of the Vols-Colonna Family, about 1575 (sketch by ADHicken)

Hung on the walls of the Court is my other favorite highlight of the room – the Dido and Aeneas tapestries. These 8 tapestries tell the tragic love story of Dido and Aeneas in The Aeneid, Virgil’s ancient Roman epic poem and the subject of my Latin studies in my junior year of high school. In addition to having a soft spot in my heart for the story (I loved translating Latin), it’s also portrayed on a beautiful, dynamic and very large scale.   

The tapestries were designed and woven in the 1600s by the Roman painter Giovanni Francesco Romanelli and Michel Wauters’ tapestry workshop, respectively.  They were donated in 1915 and are a permanent installation to the Museum. However, their constant exposure to light has caused the original colors to irreversibly fade, something that has prompted the Museum’s rotation of textiles to improve preservation.

The Sketch Crawl group spent over two hours in just this one room.  Fortunately, because admission to the Cleveland Museum of Arts‘ collections is free, you can take as many trips as you’d like to explore it – something I’m a long way from finishing on my list of Cleveland places I’d like to fully ‘clue into.’  Recognized as one of a few institutions still allowing no-cost access to 40,000+ objects spanning 6,000 years of achievement in the arts, the Museum fulfills its mission of being not just one of the world’s most distinguished comprehensive art museums but also one of Northeast Ohio’s principal civic and cultural institutions.

For a student of the arts, the Museum is also an excellent muse as you can freely explore the architecture and non-special-collection works up close and personal. As the building project continues through 2013, there will be even more sources of inspiration. However, if you plan on sketching at the Cleveland Art Museum, there are a few guidelines to protect the works there. The museum only allows pencil for sketching. You are not permitted to bring in pens, ink of any kind, paints, pastels or charcoal for obvious reasons.  Read the full gallery policies before you go.

The next Cleveland Sketch Crawl will be Jan. 8 at the Mounted Police station. (photo of mounted police from coolhistoryofcleveland.blog.com)

Numerous other options for sketching abound in Cleveland, as I continue to experience via the Cleveland Sketch Crawl. The next Crawl is this coming Saturday, Jan.  8th, 10am – noon. We’ll be venturing to the Cleveland Mounted Police station on the near eastside of Downtown. Check out the Cleveland Sketch Crawl blog for more information, including a link to where the station is located (since Google Maps will give you the wrong location if you try looking for it).

 

Cleveland Museum of Art 411:

Sparx City Hop Promoting Awareness of Arts in Downtown Cleveland

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance's Sparx City Hop is a free event that will connect attendees to Downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods. (images from downtowncleveland.org)

 

Earlier today, I wrote about this Friday’s Shore Cultural Collective Concert in downtown Euclid.  Tonight, I wanted to focus on another arts-related event this weekend - the 2010 Sparx City Hop

On Saturday from 11am – 11pm, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance will host the Sparx City Hop festival throughout downtown Cleveland and its surrounding neighborhoods. It’s free (which is always a winning quality for me) with the goal of raising awareness of the visual, culinary and performing arts in Cleveland’s most central neighborhoods. 

The Sparx City Hop started 8 years ago and attendance at previous Hops has ranged from 25,000 - 30,000 people so be prepared for a crowd. Fortunately, it will be spread out across two trolley routes that will connect over 70 galleries & artist studios, 100+ restaurants, several markets and dozens of specialty retail shops. 

Lolly the Trolley puts the ‘Hop’ in the event’s name by providing free trolley service through the neighborhoods of Downtown  plus the districts that connect directly to Downtown (Tremont, Ohio City, MidTown, AsiaTown and St. Clair Superior). 

In addition to visiting galleries and studios, mini-art festivals will include:  

  • City Artists at Work Open Studios (11am – 7pm) — a variety of hands-on arts demonstrations throughout the District.
  • The Tower City Art Fair (11am – 7pm) and Cleveland Museum of Art Chalk Artists (2pm – 4pm) — Prospect Ave between W.2nd and w.3rd (behind Tower City) will be shut down for the Tower City Street Fair which will feature these two events.
  • Downtown Photo Challenge Show at Old Stone Church (11am – 7pm) — the top 20 entries to this year’s Downtown Photo Challenge will be shown inside the historic Old Stone Church’s permanent gallery space.
  • Asian Town Center Art Fest (11am – 7pm) — local artists’ work will be on display, as well as performances by stiltwalkers, six local bands and the grand opening of Asian Town Center’s new indoor sculpture garden. From 7:00pm – 11:00 pm, the Asian Town Center will also host an Urban Art Show.

Other activities during Sparx City Hop will link participants to sidewalk concerts, tours of the Terminal Tower observation deck, the Sparx Classic Car Show, Susan G. Komen Northeast Ohio Race for the Cure, a Civil War Living History Encampment in Lincoln Park, and a variety of merchant and restaurant specials. (A full list of the 2010 Participants is available for download.) 

The East (Blue) and West (Red) trolley routes for Sparx City Hop. The hub for both trolley routes is E.4th Street and Prospect.

 

New to this year’s festival is the Sparx City Hop Passport. Although Saturday’s event is only one day, the goal of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s Passport program is to continue cultivating an increased interest in Downtown and its neighborhoods throughout the rest of the year.  The Passport – which is free and can be picked up at any of the trolley stops on Saturday – includes special offers to local restaurants and shops in Midtown, Campus District, Ohio City, Tremont, PlayhouseSquare and the Historic Gateway and Historic Warehouse Districts. The specials will start on Saturday and continue until August 31st, 2011. 

This is my first year attending Sparx City Hop. Thanks again to the DCA’s Sketch Crawl, I’m learning about another opportunity in the city I wasn’t aware of before. For those wanting to produce their own art during Sparx City, the Crawl will meet on Saturday at 11am at the event’s main hub on E4th and Prospect. Unlike the last couple of months, this Sketch Crawl will have the group taking quick impressions of the city as we jump through the districts on the trolley.  Although the Crawl will last until 1pm, I know I plan on sticking around the rest of the day. Hope to see some of you down there. 

Sparx City Hop 411: 

Hosted by Downtown Cleveland Alliance
Twitter: @DowntownCLE, #SparxCityHop
On Facebook: Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Sparx City Hop Event 

2010 Sparx City Hop Participants List
Lolley the Trolley Sparx Routes
Schedule of Sparx Events
Sparx City Hop Passport Program

Open Air in Market Square Summer Series Ends This Saturday

West Side Market and Market Square at W25th St. and Lorain Ave. (photo from westsidemarket.org)

This month’s Cleveland Sketch Crawl gathered in Ohio City for the Open Air in Market Square summer series.  As usual, it was another great opportunity to sketch the city’s limitless assortment of interesting architecture and people.  Regardless of whether you come armed with a sketchbook or just want to do some shopping and listen to music, the Open Air festival is a pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon in the city.

Open Air in Market Square is Cleveland’s only urban outdoor market. On Saturdays from late May to the end of August, an eclectic array of vendors and performers set up shop in Market Square Park at the corner of West 25th and Lorain Ave (across from West Side Market).

This coming Saturday (August 28, 11am – 5pm) is the last day on the Open Air 2010 Summer Schedule.

When Scott and I went a couple weeks ago, we got to listen to the Hollywood Slim Band. Their jazz and swing covers were a nice soundtrack to the afternoon as people shopped and hung out on the park’s stone benches.  The Market Square vendors who were there were selling Cleveland photography, glass art, handmade crafts, and – my personal weakness - vintage clothing and housewares.

Bike Rack and Patio in front of Great Lakes Brewery (Aug. Sketch Crawl, ADHicken)

I spent most of my time sketching, though.  By far, I don’t compare to the talent of the rest of the group, but it’s still fun to get out, observe and practice drawing. The best part about this month’s Crawl was that there was so much subject matter to choose from.  Some of the Crawl participants gravitated to the musicians, others sketched the West Side Market tower and the surrounding buildings, and a couple of people managed to put pencil to paper to capture the bustle of the produce market. I’ve posted a few of my sketches – one of the bike rack by Great Lakes Brewery and another of a stone column in Market Square.  Each column in the Square is covered in tiles with community members’ own artwork on it – so picking out my favorite tiles to recreate was an hour well-spent.

Sketch of column and tilework in Market Square (Aug. Sketch Crawl, ADHicken)

This Saturday, rockabilly band Lost State of Franklin (11am-2pm), Troupe Shabaana bellydancing (2pm-3pm), and Kristine Jackson‘s acoustic blues (3pm-5pm) will conclude the Open Air in Market Square’s summer season.

If you stop by, plan on doing some food shopping across the street at the West Side Market. Cleveland’s oldest publicly owned market is worth a post all its own, but if you’ve never been there, do yourself a favor and bring an appetite.  With over 100 local vendors, I’ve never gone wrong in shopping there or left empty-handed.

If you like orzo, stop by Urban Herbs for a selection of different mixes. Pickles and stuffed olives? Rita’s. Cannolis? Theresa’s Bakery (they’ll handfill your cannoli to-order from a large selection of flavors; I recommend oreo, raspberry or peanut butter chocolate). Whatever you’re hankering for, they probably have it.  If you doubt me, here’s a complete list of food vendors and a map so you can find your way around.

Thanks again to the Cleveland Sketch Crawl for giving me an excuse (not that I should need one) to explore the Open Air in Market Square series. For those sketchers, painters and photographers who want to join in September’s Crawl, the group will be attending the Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s Sparx City Hop.  It’ll be a unique experience drawing the going-ons while hopping through 8 districts via trolley.  Art galleries, studio lofts, warehouses, stores, sidewalk concerts, mini-festivals, art shows, restaurants and bars are part of the event, and the Sketch Crawl group will meet at 11 am at E.4th and Prospect Ave. and go until 1pm.   Best of all – it’s free. (Info on the monthly Sketch Crawl can be found on the Cleveland Sketch Crawl blog.)

ON A SIDE NOTE: I’ll be taking another short vacation from posting.  Instead of another stretch of radio silence, I figured I’d have a friend of Clue Into Cleveland guest-blog for me.  Elizabeth Grepp – native Clevelander and huge fan of the eastside - will post on Cleveland Heights.  If you also would like an opportunity to wax philosophic on the Cleve, shoot me an email at clueintocleveland@gmail.com.   I’ll be back sometime next week with your (un)regularly scheduled program.

Cleveland Sketch Crawl 'Takes a Hike' This Saturday

    

Information about the Cleveland Sketch Crawl can be found at http://clevelandsketchcrawl.blogspot.com

 

Each month, the Cleveland Sketch Crawl provides artists, photographers, and sketching enthusiasts of all skill levels with the opportunity to get out in the city, learn about Cleveland and draw some really amazing stuff.  The first Sketch Crawl I attended was in April at the Carnegie West Library.  Unfortunately, due to Free Comic Book Day falling on the first Saturday of May and being out-of-town next week, I wasn’t able to go to the last one and won’t be able to go this month either.   

However, for anyone who will be in town this coming Saturday, June 5th, check out June’s Sketch Crawl.  It looks like it’s going to be a very unique sketching experience as the group participates in the “Take A Hike” Saturday walking tour.  A program of the Historic Gateway Neighborhood, ”Take a Hike” features 4 different, free tours each week during the summer.  The Saturday tour is of the Historic Warehouse District and meets at 10 am at Constantino’s Market.   

The Sketch Crawl will be walking along with the rest of the tour group, so it’ll be an interesting exercise in speed sketching and quickly capturing the impressions of various locations. There are some amazing artists in the group, so I’m sure what they draw, paint or photograph is going to be fantastic.   

Detailed information about this month’s Sketch Crawl — as well as a look at the events for the next few months — can be found on the Cleveland Sketch Crawl’s blog.    

I had a blast in April and definitely can’t wait for July.  Three words: Tall Ships Festival.   

    

Cleveland Sketch Crawl / Take a Hike Program 411:

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

Take a Hike Program
Event Information
Sponsored by Historic Gateway Neighborhood

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
@DowntownCLE      

Carnegie West  Branch Library
Location and Hours
Branch Events/Programs