Community-Minded, Creative, Authentic Collinwood

Something transformational is happening on Cleveland’s Waterloo Road.

Over the next year, $5.5 million will be invested to make the streetscape more vibrant and pedestrian-friendly. Investments in a new recreation center, three lakefront parks and restaurateur Alan Glazen’s plan to open multiple restaurants in 2013 make it clear that North Shore Collinwood’s moment of rebirth has officially arrived.

Many neighborhood stakeholders credit the rebirth to the energy and perseverance of the artist community, led by groups like the Beachland Ballroom, Arts Collinwood and Music Saves who breathed life into the half-vacant Waterloo Road.

Just 12 years after the Beachland’s opening, the street sits almost entirely occupied, with galleries and record shops supplementing the authentic and enduring artistic voice in the community. It is a neighborhood that once launched the entire American polka tradition, and more recently the careers of contemporary bands like the Black Keys and the White Stripes.

Lately the creative community has become even more prominent in the neighborhood’s revival. Through Artists in Residence and Collinwood Rising, the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture and Northeast Shores are investing over $1.1 million in the neighborhood’s artist community. Together, the programs are arming artists with grants to carry out neighborhood projects, loans for creative space development and opportunities for space ownership – for as little as $6,500.

These programs are having a clear impact on the already-thriving arts district, as youth music workshops, sculpture gardens and murals take root. Once-vacant storefronts and houses are finding new life with artist owners. As word spreads, potential artists are coming not only from greater Cleveland but increasingly from places like Chicago, Portland and Peoria.

Poet, writer and Louisiana transplant Ellen Marshall was initially attracted to the neighborhood by the offerings of Artists in Residence and Collinwood Rising.

I said even if I don’t take advantage of it,” explains Ellen, “I want to be in the area.”

It wasn’t just the loans and grants that drew her in, however … It was the community itself.

It just felt like home for me … older trees, settled couples … I would feel comfortable walking down the street any time of the day.”

As more and more artists find a new home through these two programs, the result has not only been new property owners but a strengthening of the community fabric itself. The socially conscious energy of North Shore Collinwood artists is in the neighborhood’s DNA, deeply reinforced through the values of established arts groups.

Combined, that energy and the investment in artists are reinforcing what long-term residents already know: Cleveland neighborhoods like North Shore Collinwood are places of community-mindedness, creativity, and above all, authenticity.

For more information about Artists in Residence and Collinwood Rising, visit, or call Northeast Shores at 216.481.7660.