Pointing the Way

On quitting the whining and looking forward

Our economy is in trouble and our region is in flux. After completely missing the dot-com boom, Northeast Ohio is slow to adapt to the new rules of the 21st century: regionalism, internationalism and creativity. We watch other regions, such as California's Silicon Valley or North Carolina's Research Triangle Park, work collaboratively to compete for jobs and brains, but we struggle to do so ourselves. While Cleveland possesses a famously ethnic population, we haven't developed coherent strategies for reconnecting with the world economy. And though we are finally starting to talk about the value of creativity in stimulating innovation in our local economy, we see precious few examples at work.

Our hunk of the world is starting to divide into two attitudes: one that whines about our increasingly well-known shortcomings and one that turns off the TV, puts down the paper and goes out to be part of a growing community interested in change. Sometimes, all we need to jump from one category to the other is a few pointers and a little push.

This month, we point you to events representing each of Cleveland's three opportunity themes: CSU's Levin College hosts a talk that attempts to place our current regionalism debate in context, SPACES gallery props the international door open with a panel from its World Artists Program and the Cleveland Institute of Art showcases creative high art in high-tech applications.

Regionalism and Equity The number of conversations about regionalism in Northeast Ohio is growing almost daily, from generic discussions about regional economic development to specific proposals such as county government reform. This forum seeks to place the issue into a broader framework and to create a more sustainable region by linking these conversations with considerations of social equity and environmental quality. Oct. 8 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Call (216) 523-7495 (registration is required). Atrium at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University, 1717 Euclid Ave. www.urban.csuohio.edu/forum

Out of the Lab: Artists Emerge Get a final look at the exhibit Back From SPACELab: 10 Years of Innovation and stay for a conversation between young artists about how to flourish in the real world after art school. A panel discussion features SPACES World Artists Program residents Katarina Sevic of Budapest and Katarina Wong of New York, plus Clevelanders Kristen Baumliƃ©r and Royden Watson Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. Stick around for the 8 p.m. kickoff of "Friday Night Live: Art, Music and More," a series of casual evenings of live performances. SPACES, 2220 Superior Viaduct, (216) 621-2314. www.SPACESgallery.org

Commerce In Art A collaborative event illustrating the influence that art and innovation have on commerce, creativity and technology join in a brilliant showcase of cutting-edge projects from the T.I.M.E. program (Technology and Integrated Media Environment) at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Visitors will be immersed in student workspaces as they demonstrate how art can be applied to high-tech industries using sound, video, Web, gaming and animation techniques. Oct. 15 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Cleveland Institute of Art, 11141 East Blvd. RSVP at (216) 421-7415 or e-mail events@gate.cia.edu. www.cia.edu

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