I was amazed at how fast the three hours passed as we discussed the latest projects, talked about the past, the future, and entertained several guests, including both mayors Tom Rowland and Gary Davis, Councilman Bill Estes and chairperson of the Greenway Public Arts Committee, or GPAC, Tara Brown. We even raised some money!
Although we talked about a lot of things, our main focus that morning was on the missing big yellow chair, or formally named, “Sitting Tall.” The chair went missing from its perch on the greenway just off Raider Drive about two months ago.
During the broadcast, Joe McCullough, another member of the GPAC and a local artist, explained how important bringing back the chair is to our community.
Its story goes back a few years when artist Josh Coleman conceived the idea and built it in his local studio at the Old Woolen Mill. It was on display at the mill, as well as at the Museum Center at Five Points, until the greenway board formally asked Josh to place the chair on the greenway. It was an immediate hit. Now in a place where it could be interactive, people began flocking to it, having group photos made and climbing all over it. It became a landmark, a meeting place and was the halfway point of the greenway. If you started at the chair and went north or south, the distance would be about the same.
But while we (Cleveland and Bradley citizens) took it for granted that it would always be there, the chair has never belonged to us, or the greenway. From day one it has been on loan. However, now we have the opportunity to make it our own through a community fundraiser. The campaign has been going on for almost two months, and we are getting some good traction.
But we are not there yet. We need to raise a total of $5,000 to bring the chair back. That amount would compensate the artist for his time, materials, skill and would allow us to continue a program of public art on the greenway. This is the first time a fundraising campaign has taken place for the greenway, and it needs to be successful, not just for the sake of the chair and public art but to show how much we love our greenway and what it means to us. It’s time for everyone who enjoys this community asset to step up and declare their support for it.
There have been a couple of donors who have generously offered to fund the chair in memory of a loved one or to recognize an organization, but, while we are grateful for their offers, the greenway board feels compelled that this campaign needs to have no name on it except “our community.” It needs to make a statement.
You can be a part of that group by going online to www.cbcgreenway.com and clicking on the Friends of the Greenway link. There, you will find several options for becoming a part of this first in our city.
We would love to be able to bring the chair back and have it in place by Friday, June 13. That’s the day of the big Cleveland Duck Race. Won’t you help us get there?