A new art exhibit from the Sculpture Center in Cleveland takes place in six East Side neighborhoods. But in order to see the art, you need a smartphone and an app. It’s a scavenger hunt of sorts where people visit specific locations and see the art revealed via augmented reality.
“Augmented reality or AR is basically just the invisible image of something that you can only see through your digital device,” said exhibit curator Robin Robinson. “So, it’s a separate experience than just the everyday reality.”
For instance, along E. 99th Street and Buckeye Road a sphinx appears above the greenspace. In order to see it, you have to download the 4th Wall app. While holding the phone, as if to take a picture, the art appears within the frame.
“It’s kind of like a fourth dimension,” Robinson said. The exhibition, “Crossroads: Still We Rise,” features art by 12 Black artists living in Cleveland or with ties to the city at 12 different East Side locations.
“It’s called ‘Still We Rise’ because we chose six communities on the East Side of Cleveland that are depressed, ‘depressed,’ kind of socially and economically devastated from a long history of redlining and different things that happened to this side of Cleveland,” she said.
Another art site is the Forest Hill Park Footbridge in East Cleveland, built where oil baron John D. Rockefeller once summered. Photographer Gina Washington’s piece appears virtually in front of the bridge and features several portraits of her subjects. Through the app you can also hear their voices.
About a mile or so away off of Euclid Avenue, people can discover artist Ed Parker’s sculpture of a cluster of guns, all pointed down.
“They had a gun collection over at Kinsman and 82nd,” Parker said. “I got the guns and started thinking about all of the children that have gotten hurt and kids that have gotten hurt and put that piece together.” A photograph of Parker’s sculpture appears while using the app next to his creative arts complex, where among many things, he showcases his art.
“During my short life I’ve done over 3,000 pieces,” he said, extending an invitation to show his gallery space another time.
When people discover the art around the city, Robinson said she hopes they strike up conversations with residents and explore the neighborhoods.
“There’s so much commonality,” she said. “There’s no reason for, you know, the judgment, the prejudgment of these communities.” Some of the other 12 sites include Woodland Cemetery and Cory United Methodist Church.
The Sculpture Center also has a complementary display of all 12 of the pieces at its building. There will be shuttle tours to the sites and opportunities to meet the artists during the exhibit’s run through September 25.