One of the best ways to explore everything cool in Cleveland, the SPARX City Hop is back this year. The event takes place Aug. 17 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and admission is free.
“There are so many new developments taking place in downtown, and SPARX is a unique opportunity to explore the city and discover its hidden gems every year,” says Joe Marinucci, president and CEO of Downtown Cleveland Alliance.
SPARX City Hop offers one-day, self-directed city tours that include artist studios, galleries, retailers, restaurants, street performances and historical sites. SPARX is celebrating its 17th year of showcasing Cleveland’s amazing art scene.
Participants can discover downtown Cleveland and its surrounding neighborhoods by taking one of three free trolley lines and hopping from art galleries and studios to stages featuring live, local music. This year’s arts experience is focused on engaging city hoppers by taking part in a variety of live arts activations.
Begin your day by checking in at the SPARX City Hop Main Hub, located under Playhouse Square’s GE Chandelier. The Main Hub also serves as an information station, one of many music stages, a creative art experience and the official starting checkpoint for the Step in CLE walking challenge.
From there, start your guided tour of downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods via the Red, Green or Blue line trollies, making stops to explore local art exhibitions, cultural institutions, privately owned studios and fun, local events.
Take the Green Line to Market Square Park across from the West Side Market to visit the Cleveland Bazaar, Northeast Ohio’s longest-running, independent, maker-focused retail pop up. You’ll also get the chance to tour St. Ignatius High School, take advantage of specials provided by Ohio City retailers and experience live theatrical performances presented by Karamu House. Visit an authentic blacksmith shop at Cleveland Blacksmithing, which is open to all those interested in the craft.
The Red Line takes you to the Worthington Yards, a unique gallery and private green space. On Old River Road, experience the fourth annual Flats Festival of the Arts, an art and street party along the banks of the Cuyahoga. You’ll also get the chance to tour the Arcade, as well as other historic downtown shopping venues like the Colonial and Euclid arcades.
The Blue Line whisks you out to 1900 Superior Ave., the heart of Cleveland’s burgeoning arts district, where you can visit Artefino, which showcases locally made gifts, along with a variety of sandwiches, soups and pastries. The address also is home to commercial photographer Dan Morgan and artists such as Guice Mann, John R. Davis, Susan Allen, Watercolor Artist William Gould and the William Martin Jean Studio and Gallery.
At 2400 Superior, you’ll be able to visit Red Space, which is quickly becoming the most sought-after raw space and gallery in the region.
The Red Line also can take you to the Bonnie Dolin Studio at 2570 Superior, featuring paintings, pastels, prints and new abstract artwork. While you’re at it, stop by the Claire Raack Ceramic Studio and discover functional artwork inspired by natural and organic forms.
But that list is by no means complete. If you like arts and entertainment, the SPARX City Hop is an ideal place to see it all.
The signature event of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, SPARX City Hop is made possible by the support of Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, which invests $15 million annually in organizations that bring arts and culture to life in area communities.