Kamla Lewis, Director of Neighborhood Revitalization for the City of Shaker Heights, is a long-time fan of Public Square, and since the renovated Square reopened in 2016, she’s visited many times. She’s also a big fan of the arts and culture scene in Cleveland, and finds herself participating in some arts and culture activity nearly every weekend.
When she was asked to serve on the Arts & Culture in the Square
review panel she jumped at the chance because it combined two of the things she loves.
“I really enjoyed being part of something I feel so strongly about. I was impressed at the depth and breadth of talent of artists and arts organizations in the county,” Kamla said. “It was difficult to choose the projects for funding. It’s a reminder of the great work out there in Cuyahoga County.”
Kamla says she thinks people will be surprised and excited by the projects selected for the Arts & Culture in the Square series. Similar to how the Cracking Art colorful animal sculptures have captivated visitors to downtown, she predicts people will be equally engaged in Lake Erie Ink’s Story Building in the Square, which will provide giant block words for people to build their stories in the Square.
“The projects selected for the summer series will add a sense of fun, and they allow people to experience the city with fresh eyes,” she said. “We want people to have a chance to experience something they would have not experienced otherwise, or experience something in a new way. We want people to associate Public Square with new and interesting things.”
For all CAC review panels since 2008, CAC has provided panelists a modest honorarium for lending their time and expertise to our process, and for helping us to facilitate an objective/transparent decision-making process. Specifically, for Arts & Culture in the Square, panelists are putting this modest honorarium to use in their communities. Kamla says she will give the honorarium to Lomond Elementary School in Shaker Heights, supporting its annual Chalk Festival and providing arts supplies to families who can't afford them.
“Everybody reacts to art and culture. It’s the thing that brings everyone together in a positive way,” Kamla said. “It doesn’t matter so much what the art form is. It breaks down barriers and makes people reach out to each other.”