Cleveland's Gateway Public Art

Cleveland's Gateway public art
Cleveland's Gateway public art

Cleveland’s historic Gateway neighborhood was first formulated in 1992, when previous merchant organizations merged and expanded their spheres of influence to include a sizable area within the southeasterly quadrant of the city’s downtown.

The Gateway name stems from the fact that this region is the first to welcome all those arriving into the city center from the major access highways that stretch east, west and south: Interstates 90, 71 and 77.

By virtue of the fact that this area was former home to Cleveland’s now defunct Central Market and food distribution center, in the early 1990s it offered substantial land area for development and revitalization. The city then faced an opportunity to remake its welcoming face to visitors. Thus was born the Gateway complex, a cluster of structures including Jacobs Field, Home of the Cleveland Indians (since renamed Progressive Field) and the Gund Arena (since renamed the Quicken Loans Arena, or ‘The Q’), home of the Cleveland Cavaliers, along with their supporting parking garages, plazas, green spaces and roadway improvements. Both of these sport facilities are directly linked by walkway to Tower City Center and its light-rail transit station. The Gateway district also encompasses five hotels and a variety of restaurants, entertainment venues, offices and housing. Its East 4th Street has become a vibrant bright nightlife spot in the downtown fabric.

A key component of Gateway’s public-private redevelopment partnership was the inclusion of public art. Several substantial works are sprinkled about the two major sport facilities. In Bob Feller Plaza to the northeast of the ballpark’s East 9th Street gate sits Nancy Dwyer’s “Who’s on First”, a tribute to the great Abbott & Costello routine as well as a series of handy public benches for gathering fans.

Placed along the public way that brings fans from the Gateway parking garage to the arena or the ballpark is “Market Place/Meeting Place” by Penny Rakoff and Angelica Pozo. This combination bench/planter incorporates vintage Central Market images and sculpted dimensional food products into its gaily-tiled exterior.

Standing sentinel along the Ontario Street frontage of the Gateway Plaza between the two sport venues are “Sportstacks” by R. M. Fischer, perched atop ventilation towers for subgrade levels. These two spires, with their articulations of spiky filigreed metal (unfortunately, no longer rotating), evoke some of the same muscular and utilitarian Cleveland Flats bridge-and-truss imagery embodied in the framework of the nearby baseball stadium.   

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