Beck Board, Lakewood and their schools propose great vision for arts in the inner-ring

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 10/19/2006 - 07:01.


The Plain Dealer published early details for a wonderful vision that has been developed by the Beck Board of Directors, with the City of Lakewood and the Lakewood schools, that will offer all of NEO a wonderful arts and learning asset for the future. "The Beck Center for the Arts will stay in Lakewood and form a partnership with city schools to create an arts-education academy that would anchor a possible cultural district in Lakewood's west end." "Other potential partners could include colleges and businesses." Sounds like a great opportunity for the CIA, and perhaps Kent State, wo have a valuable presence on the West Side!

This is a much more attractive vision than had been bouncing around town of the Beck moving to Crocker Park, in Westlake, and, in fact, is an exceptional idea. Lakewood and the surrounding inner suburbs have large, young populations likely to take good advantage of such an asset and really appreciate it. Since I learned of the Beck Center's problems, my son has started taking classes there, and they are great (I live a bit east, in Cleveland). Having a cultural community in Lakewood fits that community's identity perfectly, and having this close to the urban core makes downtown more attractive. This also fits with conventional wisdom of leveraging investments, as explained by the Gund Foundation:

"At the bottom of this fundamentally is the issue of sprawl," says George Gund Foundation Arts program officer Deena Epstein, talking about the situation. "We have invested in organizations in the core city and the inner ring," she continued. "We can't afford to replicate those farther out in the suburbs, nor should we."

Now, NEO, reward the wisdom of the Beck Board with the support of the region. Go to their website and find a class or performance to attend... if you have a company that may sponsor something, give them a call... buy art exhibited there... post a comment of thanks here... do your part to reinforce their vision with good outcomes. 

Good sense prevails!

I'm so glad to hear that Beck Center is staying! Every family, arts friendly city needs a place like Beck Center. A place with reasonably priced art, music, and theater classes for all ages. A place for developing artists/ art teachers to get some practice in a low pressure environment.  A place with theater performances almost anyone can afford to attend. I have appreciated Beck Center for a long time. I have taken fencing lessons there, ceramics classes, silk painting. I have gone to many art exhibitions and plays too. Now my 18 month old son is enjoying music and art classes at Beck.

Unfortunately I have to drive to Beck Center, but many children and adults in Lakewood walk there.

more Beck news

This news is very good. It shows that someone is thinking in Lakewood, and that the leadership of Beck’s board is thinking outside the box. Now read Michael Gill's thoughtful article in this week's Free Times for even more outside the box thinking for Beck and Lakewood. Then bask in the dream for a while… Michael worked at Beck as their communication's/marketing person, so he has understandably high hopes for this arts org and neighborhood. Nothing like this in the PD of course...

Hilliard Square Theater

Huge props to Bob Dobush

Very interesting write up by Gill... I'm going to check this site out. I can't picture where this theater is so I'm going exploring. I certainly think anything to save a great old theater should be pursued. Sounds like the Beck Story is just being introduced. Cool, Bob Dobush.

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I checked out the Hilliard Square Theater

Thanks for pointing this out, Susan. I went and took a look at the theater and neighborhood today. It is a terrific building, in a dynamic part of Lakewood (major rebuilding of a middle school one block away). It looks in very good condition and huge - I'd love to take a tour. My only concern for redevelopment, for any use, is parking (people certainly demand that, these days). Not sure how to get around that, but some solution must be found as the building is too good to lose. Perhaps people could park at the school... not a far walk away. We need to keep this on the radar.

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