Michael Hudecek is turning blight into beauty. As one of nine community-voted grant winners in the Ballot Box Project, the Upcycle Parts Shop employee’s Craft Up Collinwood initiative invites residents to make upcycled crafts to enliven vacant areas. We tagged along on a crafting event at the Memorial-Nottingham branch of the Cleveland Public Library as participants made painted flowers out of water bottles. Hudecek tells us why those bright blossoms, sprouting at vacant North Collinwood lots this month, are so important to seeing the area differently.
If you walk past the same beat-up building, how draining and depressing that can be? All of Northeast Ohio neighborhoods, particularly Collinwood, were affected by the drop in property values when the housing market crashed.
Part of the creation of Upcycle Parts Shop was the idea that waste materials all have substantial value. We need to look, especially in a resource-strapped place like Cleveland, at everything we have and find that value. Craft Up Collinwood is to help residents recognize that street corners and buildings that may not be up to par have high potential.
Kids are the spark plug to everything. I mean talk about ambition, they’re willing to jump right in. Maybe they only made one of those flowers at the library that day, but they own a little piece of that art project, whether they consider themselves an artist or not. — as told to Catrina Leone
More Ballot Box Projects To See
Collinwood Camera Club
The club of budding high school photographers is offering free portraits that will be on display at Waterloo Arts Aug. 27. July 1, Walk All Over Waterloo, 15300 Waterloo Road to 161st Street, Cleveland
Participants can record a story with the Splice-Cream Truck crew in exchange for an ice-cold treat. July 1, Walk All Over Waterloo, 15300 Waterloo Road to 161st Street, Cleveland
This is Collinwood: History in Everyday People
Collinwood residents can enjoy a free family photo session July 16 and see the images in a traveling exhibit this fall. 15605 Waterloo Road, Cleveland