Ingenious Move

Cleveland's annual arts and technology festival gets a change of scenery.

The Ingenuity Festival is jumping onto the Detroit-Superior Bridge this month. Artistic director James Levin thinks you should too.

"It's a perfect opportunity to invite people to rediscover their city," Levin says. The lake, the river, the skyline and our industrial history will become the backdrop for Cleveland's sixth annual arts and technology festival, which fills the bridge's lower level Sept. 24-26.

Ingenuity's dozens of art installations and performances include several designed specifically for the bridge and the underground streetcar stop below West 25th Street. Some artists were drawn to the long-closed station's water-flooded staircases. One group, the CollinWoodstockers, created a 3-D dragon with laser vision rising out of a staircase pool as if from a swamp, Levin says. Theater group TA-213 will re-imagine a station ramp as the mountain in the myth of Sisyphus, the classic story of futility as torture. Actors will push a ball up the ramp "as a metaphor for living in Cleveland," Levin explains.

Visitors can also check out a multimedia video by Kasumi, a Cleveland Institute of Art professor, which will play on a 30-foot-wide arched canvas stretched across the bridge's beams.

The Sugarhill Gang, the founding fathers of recorded hip-hop, will headline the Saturday night musical bill. "It's obviously important to bring a diverse audience here, like Grandmaster Flash [did] a couple of years ago," Levin says. That's also why admission to Ingenuity will be totally free for the first time. "We desperately want this to be the festival of the entire community."

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