It’s no secret that Lakewood is one of Cleveland’s cultural hubs. With a plethora of local restaurants, boutiques and other businesses, the West Side city has developed a cultural scene much larger than its small stature. On Aug. 7, that scene will be visible for Lakewood resident and guests alike with the Lakewood Arts Festival, an annual arts festival featuring both local and national artists.
“This is something a lot of people look forward to,” says Brian Andrew Jasinski, the artist and jury chair of the festival. “It’s a day for the entire city to come together and celebrate the arts.”
This year’s festival — which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will close Detroit Avenue between Belle Avenue and Arthur Avenue — will only feature around 100 artists compared to the normal number of 165, a decision made so that everyone attending the festival will have room to spread out. Still, after holding an all-virtual festival last year, a limited number of in-person participants is still better than no in-person participants for Jasinski.
“Aside from the fireworks show on July 4, this is the first large-scale organized event Lakewood is hosting in more than a year,” Jasinski says. “We’ve gotten a lot of really nice comments from people who are using this festival as a sign of hope that things are going to get back to normal soon.”
In addition to the aforementioned artists, the festival will also feature performances from local singers such as Alexis Antes and Meg and the Magnetosphere, among others. There will also be a collection of local food trucks featured in front of the Lakewood Public Library along with sidewalk chalk and other arts and crafts available in front of Beck Center for the Arts. “I think what sets us apart from other festivals is the sense of community,” Jasinski says. “At other festivals, you just kind of walk around and are there to shop. While you’ll be able to do that here, you’ll also be able to celebrate the community’s culture with your friends, family and neighbors.”
The festival takes that community culture to another level with its annual scholarships that go to high school seniors living in Lakewood who are perusing art in college. This year’s main, $4,000 scholarship will go to Nola Williams-Riseng — a recently graduated senior from Lakewood High School who will attend the Cleveland Institute of Art in the fall — while two other seniors will receive $1,000 scholarships. In addition to being funded by donations from the public, the scholarships are funded by sales of each year’s annual T-shirt, with this year’s T-shirt being designed by CLE Clothing Co.
“We want to make sure we’re supporting established artists along with also supporting ones who aren’t as well known,” Jasinski says. “If we give vitality to the arts that will in turn promote the vitality of our city and community.”