Black artist's murals find new home

Two murals by Elmer Brown (1909-1971), one of the few African-American artists working for the Works Progress Administration, have been saved, moved, conserved and installed at Cleveland State University, thanks to the efforts of three Cleveland institutions.

The Intermuseum Conservation Association, in cooperation with Cleveland State University and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, recently installed Brown's murals in the ballroom of the new CSU Student Union.

The murals will be presented at a reception at 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the CSU Student Union Ballroom, 2121 Euclid Ave. Hors d'oeuvres and complimentary beer and wine will be served.

The program, Protecting the Past, Enricing the Present, Inspiring the Future, will feature presentations by Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald, other civic leaders and conservation association conservators.

Brown, who came to Cleveland in 1929, acted and designed stage sets at Karamu House and was awarded a scholarship to the Cleveland Institute of Art. He exhibited paintings and prints in the Cleveland Museum of Art's annual May shows and in New York City and Philadelphia with the group Karamu Artists. In 1953, Brown became the first African-American illustrator at American Greetings Corp.

Brown produced scenery, ceramic sculpture, prints and the murals for the WPA, which offer two depictions of life in his adopted city: Cleveland Past and Cleveland Present, surveying the growth and development of the city from the Civil War era to the industrial revolution.

Brown's murals were painted for the Valleyview Housing Project in Tremont and installed when the project opened in 1940. They were removed before the housing project was demolished to make room for the Tremont Pointe housing development.

The conservation association removed and restored the murals in the late 2000s.

A photo of the CSU installation can be found at

Smaller reproductions of the murals have been installed at Tremont Pointe.

Vote for Grella

Akron artist Dustin Grella has been nominated for the Next Great Filmmaker Award for his work, Prayers for Peace. In the running in an online film festival, along with four other films, Grella has a 20 percent chance of winning the grand prize of $5,000. To win, Grella's film must get the most online votes. To vote, go to One vote per person. Voters will be entered into a drawing to win an iPad 2, $1,000 cash or a Blu-ray player.

The festival is held by Berkshire Film Festival and sponsored by Berkshire Bank. Grella says if he wins, he'll use the money to help get his current project, the Animation Hotline, off the ground.


Design Talk — The last of three speakers for the Cleveland Institute of Art's Design Matters Lecture Series will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Case Western Reserve University's Peter B. Lewis Building, Room 106, 11119 Bellflower Road, Cleveland. The speaker will be Aaron Keller, managing principal at Capsule, a Minneapolis brand experience firm. His talk is being given in conjunction with the school's 2011 Spring Design Show. A reception will follow. For more information, call 216-421-7000.


Reception — A free opening reception for BFA Fine Arts Exhibit will be held from 5 to 8 p.m at Kent State University School of Art Gallery. For more information, call 330-672-2760 or go to

For Heaven's Sake — The Cleveland Museum of Art, in conjunction with its current exhibit, The Lure of Painted Poetry, will hold Nihonshu Night: A Sake and Fusion Food Tasting Event from 5 to 8:30 p.m. The evening will offer young professionals the opportunity to taste and learn about three sakes selected by experts at the Marchetti Company and Japanese/Korean food samples created by SasaMatsu restaurant in Shaker Square. Seunghye Sun, curator of The Lure of Painted Poetry, will be on hand to talk about the exhibit. Tickets are $18 per person, including three sake samples and three fusion food tastings. A cash bar featuring sake, wines, beer and soft drinks will also be available at the museum, 11150 East Blvd., University Circle. For more information, call 888-262-0033 or go to


Free Film — Lemon Grove Cafe, 122 W. Federal St., Youngstown, will present Beyond Borders, a 75-minute documentary film on immigration by Brian Ging. at 7 p.m. The event, presented by Time Bank Mahoning Watershed and the Lemon Grove Film Club, will be followed by a short discussion period.


Journaling — Kevin O'Brien will present a journaling workshop from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, 800 McKinley Monument Drive, NW, Canton. Fee is $20. Participants will be given a journal, writing prompts will be given in class and reference materials and websites discussed. For more information, call 330-455-7043.

Fieldwork — The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval, University Circle, will open a new exhibit, Fieldwork: Soldiers, Sailors and Stones, demonstrating the contributions made by curators at the museum during the rehabilitation of the Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Public Square in downtown Cleveland. For more information, call 216-231-4600 or go to