Nan's Notes

There’s a Fest in your Future!

Waterloo Arts Fest, Saturday, June 29,  Noon to 7:00pm

Waterloo Rd between E.161st St and Calcutta Ave

The first Waterloo Arts Fest boasted a parade – of children five to twelve attending the arts camp – two or three vendors, some music and a hotdog stand run by the Executive director. It was terrific.

The 17th Fest will not have a parade, but it will feature more than 30 local bands playing a great mix of music, local handmade art vendors (I think the vendors are human; it’s the art that’s handmade), CLE’s best food trucks, and an exciting mix of innovative and interactive art experiences for all ages. At the Waterloo Arts Fest, you can roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty and give art a try.

If you’ve never attended, you may like to know that Waterloo Arts is a nonprofit art center with a mission: enrich the neighborhood culturally and economically with art. To that end, we have gallery shows, theatre and music performances, special events and unusual programs for kids. Actually, everything Waterloo Arts does is unusual, because artists.

We don’t just orchestrate this festival, we also manage an art gallery, public art projects, a community arts center and artist studios.

But enough about us. About the Fest:

It has no entry fee.

More than 30 bands – on Fest stages in the street and at Waterloo Road music venues (you know where the Beachland Ballroom is, right?) will be playing on 10 stages, an eclectic mix of music from polka to hip hop. There is something for everyone. (Maybe no Stravinsky.)

While you browse the 80-plus vendors selling local food and local art, you can also admire the stilt walkers, magicians, giant puppets, and those people who turn upside-down high in the air. (I miss the belly dancers, thought.)

Lots of Cleveland arts organizations join us for the day, so you can try your hand at many art forms:  weaving, ceramics, painting, paper making, et cetera  - particularly open-ended creative activities where visitors can experiment with new materials and techniques.

And – a prime attraction - the Waterloo Arts Annual Juried Exhibit (see below) will be on view in not one but three galleries – not to mention the art being shown in many additional galleries.

Lastly, one of the Fest’s attractions is not so tangible – it’s the whole vibe of this creative community (artists live here as well as work here) nestled beside Lake Erie and over-looked by much of the city. You’ll make some discoveries!

If you’re reading the Observer you probably know exactly how to get to Waterloo Road; if you’re an incomer, you basically take I-90, exit at E152, head north and turn right on Waterloo Road (NOT South Waterloo Road, although it has its own virtues, unless you’re planning to park – for free – at the Food Bank, 15500 S Waterloo).  These driving instructions are how I would do it; for the official version, go to, and find out about everything.

You can park, mainly for free, on surrounding streets (some entrepreneurs charge a modest fee). Or you can park at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and take the Salvation Army shuttle (free, noon to 7 pm). (Did I mention that this is a highly co-operative neighborhood?)

You’ll find Designated Parking for People with Disabilities behind the Waterloo Arts Creative Space (green building north of Waterloo on E.156th St). Parking will be available on a first come, first served basis. Please be considerate and do not attempt to park in this designated space if you don’t really need it.

Waterloo Arts Juried Exhibition 2019       Friday, June 7 

The fifth annual Waterloo Arts Juried Exhibition, which will stay in place through the Fest on June 29, will hold its opening reception on Friday June 7th, 6 – 9 pm. Meet Juror Anthony Mastromatteo and many of the participating artists.

The 86 selected pieces from Ohio and sixteen other states will be presented in three galleries on Waterloo Road: Brick Ceramic + Design, Praxis Fiber Workshop and Waterloo Arts, a collaboration that allows for far more work to be shown, in far more styles and media. The opening reception coincides with the district's Walk All Over Waterloo, which this month will feature an outdoor stage with live music. The show will be open Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday: 12 - 4 pm, June 7 - July 20.

Nan Kennedy

Resident of neighborhood since 1956. Worked on East 185th street since 1970.

Read More on Art News
Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 4:13 PM, 06.05.2019