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CLEVELAND, Ohio – In a city of underappreciated gems, the Cleveland Cultural Gardens may be the most underappreciated treasure.
The leaders of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation are hoping to change that as they mark their 100th birthday.
The federation has announced a full slate of Centennial programming that will kick off with the One World Day celebration on Sunday, Aug. 23, and conclude with the 2016 One World Day. There’s also a preview event this June.
“We want to make people more aware about the gardens themselves, and make them accessible to everyone,” says Sheila Crawford, president of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. “We want people to feel they can come down again themselves, and feel comfortable.
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens date back to 1916 and stretch three miles along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and East Boulevard near University Circle. There are 29 established gardens and eight in the works. They are unique in America, a collection of varied, landscaped gardens honoring the rich ethnic diversity of a city that has evolved over nearly 100 years.
“The Gardens themselves ARE the city,” says Executive Board member Debbie Hanson. “They tell the story of Cleveland.”
The gardens began in 1916 with the establishment of the Shakespeare Garden, now the English Garden, on 250 acres of parkland donated by John D. Rockefeller in 1897. The first ethnic garden, the Hebrew Garden, took root in 1926. Recent gardens include the 2012 Albanian Garden and the 2011 Syrian Garden.
Ground has also been broken on the African-American Garden, and the Russian, Korean, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Scottish and Native American gardens all have gotten approval and their designated plots, though have not broken ground yet.
Some gardens are small, like the tiny Rusin one. Others are massive, like the opulent Italian Garden with its fountain and terraces, or the German Garden with its imposing Goethe statue or the ornate Hungarian terraced area. The land is owned by the city, but the gardens are overseen, paid for and cared for by the various ethnic groups.
“There are many gardens, but we are one big federation,” says Svetlana Stolyarova, president of the Russian Cultural Garden. Since its 2012 approval, the Russian Garden, infused with the energy of newer immigrants, has become one of the most vital gardens despite not yet having a sign or any structures. They have hosted everything from grand piano concerts to pancake festivals. They plan to break ground on their structures and gardens in August or September, making it the only garden being built in the centennial year.
Most Clevelanders only see these beautiful gardens as they drive by on their way to I-90. Crawford and the others want to change that, giving people as many reasons as possible to park and get out of their cars for the gardens’ 100th birthday. Here’s what they have planned so far:
99 Red Balloons in the German Cultural Garden, Tuesday, June 30: In honor of year 99 – not to mention the anti-war, anti-Wall 1983 German pop song by Nena – there will be a red balloon release in the German garden at 11:30 a.m. June 30. “It’s meant to be a celebration calling attention to the gardens, not a lot of lengthy speeches,” says Hanson. “It’s a party” — a party with German food and bands. And yes, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport has been forewarned. Oompah!
One World Day, Sunday, Aug. 23: Not only is this the beginning of the gardens’ centennial; 2015 is also the 70th anniversary of the first One World Day, a post-World War II celebration meant spread the beliefs of the United Nations movement.
This year’s One World Day will be bigger than ever, with activities in all 29 existing and eight developing gardens, including an expanded Parade of Nations; ethnic performers and foods specific to those cultures in each garden; performers on six main stages in defined “regions” of the gardens; trolleys taking visitors to the different regions; a naturalization ceremony; and passports for kids to get stamped at each garden. The opening festivities will take place in the Chinese Garden. The evening will conclude with the International Folk Festival.
Centennial Gala, April 14, 2016: There will be a huge gala marking the exact 100thanniversary dedication day of the British Garden, then the Shakespeare Garden.
Concert series, summer 2016: There will be an expanded concert series rotating throughout different gardens. More details to come later.
Throughout 2016: Most individual gardens are planning their own centennial activities. Look for events throughout all of the gardens, from the Russian maslanitsa pancake festival in winter to opera in the Italian Garden, concerts in the Indian Garden and John Barrie Day in the Irish Garden.
2016 One World Day, August: The 2016 One World Day will mark the conclusion of the centennial celebrations.
“What’s so exciting is that all of the gardens want to get involved,” says Crawford, “even the smaller gardens [that] are developing. Even though they don’t yet even a sign, they want to participate.”
Almost 100 years, and the Cultural Gardens are still going strong … and hopefully not underappreciated for much longer.
Bring a picnic, or enjoy wood fired pizzas made on site, 250 chairs provided, but bring your own to ensure a seat because 1,743 Opera lovers attended last year!
Free parking in the lot across the street from the garden, or on the street. For further information please call— 216-916-7780.
Award winning films from Italy with English subtitles will be shown on Sept. 17, Sept. 24, Oct. 1 Oct. 8 & Oct. 15. at the Cedar Lee, Atlas Cinemas & Capitol theaters 5 pre-film parties! Sells out early. ALL tickets sold in advance.
Film ($10) and pre-party dinner ($20) call 216-456-8117.
We are proud to announce the new 2015 Calendar of Events for the 99th year of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. This is going to be en exciting year preparing for the Cultural Garden’s Centennial Celebration!! This is a tenative schedule so please check back often for updates or changes. Don’t miss the fun!
March 28 2015——-10am-12:00pm. Czech Cultural Garden Clean up Day. Shaker Heights High School volunteer students to help with the maintenance of at the Czech Garden with Paul Burik- coordinator.
April 3 2015——6:30pm. Executive Board Meeting - Ariel
April 11 2015—–12 – 3:00pm. Slovenian Cultural Garden Clean up Day. CWRU Residential Hall Association- 1st year residential students volunteers. They have asked to reserve 10-15 volunteers for the Slovenian Garden. The rest of the Garden delegates can ask for volunteers for your Gardens on a first come first serve basis.
April 12, 2015——1- 4:00pm. HebrewCultural Garden Clean up Day . “J-Serve” and D.L.Lavin reserved their volunteers to work primarily at the Hebrew Garden with Bill Jones.
April 14 2015——6:30pm. Celebration of the 99th Birthday of the Cultural Gardens of Cleveland. Delegate Meeting and Installation of Executive Board -The Cleveland Cultural Gardens’ Birthday and Installation of the new Executive Board members of the CCGF will be Tuesday, April 14th at 6:00 pm. The Russian Cultural Garden is proud to host this event at Sherwin Gilmour Party Center.
April 20 2015—–1- 4 p.m. ” Earth Day” at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. Details to follow.
April 24 2015——1-3:30pm. Arbor Day with volunteers from Holden Arboretum at the Ukrainian Cultural Garden. Details to follow.
May 7 2015——6:30pm. Executive Board Meeting - Ariel
May 28 2015—-TBD—- UCI Bus Tour. contact: Erica Puussaar
May 30 2015—–TBD—–A service project with the Boys Scouts of America. Estimating over 100 volunteers. Details to follow.
June 7 2015——1:30 pm. Serbian Cultural Garden -Dedication of new Tesla Statue and new bust of Vuk Karadzic.
June 9 2015——6:30pm. Executive Board Meeting - Ariel
June 9 2015—–TBD—–Home Schooling Feild Trip with Paul Burik
June 14 2015—–The Annual Cleveland Lithuanian Cultural Garden PICNIC will take place on Sunday, June 14, 2015 at East Park Beach Club on Lake Erie off Neff Rd. More details to follow.
June 20 2015—–12:00 noon—–Junteenth @ African American Gardens at the new Center – 7905 Central Ave. More detalis to follow
June 27 2015——Annual Free Liszt Concert in the Hungarian Cultural Garden. Come and enjoy ”Concert in the Garden” to celebrate summer at the Hungarian Cultural Garden of Cleveland, on Saturday, June 27, 2015 at 4:00 PM. A string quartet featuring Cleveland Orchestra musicians playing the music of Franz Liszt! This event is free and open to the public. Picnic on the Lake (Immediately following the Liszt Concert) $40.00 @Home of Richard Fleischman RSVP 440 256-2264.
June 28 2015—–1:00pm——“Võidupüha Jaanipäeva” – Summer Solstice and Freedom Celebration in the Estonian Cultural Garden Garden
June 30 2015—–11:30 a.m——-99 Red Balloons in the German Cultural Garden, In honor of 99 years of the Cultural Gardens – not to mention the anti-war, anti-Wall 1983 German pop song by Nena, (99 Red Balloons). Red balloons will be released in the German Cultural Garden at 11:30 a.m. June 30. “It’s a party celebrating all the Gardens with German food and bands.” Free event.
July 2 2015——6:30pm. Executive Board Meeting - Ariel
July 26 2015—— 6:00 – 7:30pm. Opera in the Italian Cultural Garden - Enjoy the popular FREE concert the Italian Cultural Garden puts on each year where beautiful music mingles with the sounds of the Renaissance fountain. Come and dream a little while being serenaded with music from famous Italian operas performed by Opera Circle. Bring the whole family!
August 11 2015——6:30pm. Executive Board Meeting - Ariel
August 23 2015—–11am-8:30pm. One World Day in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. Located in Rockefeller Park.
We are celebrating 99 years of “Peace through Mutual Understanding” and launching the countdown to the Cleveland Cultural Gardens’ Centennial Celebration in 2016. Come and be a part of Cleveland history! FREE event! Hosted by the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation. More details to follow.
September 3 2015——6:30pm. Executive Board Meeting - Ariel
September 17,24 ——Cleveland Italian Film Festival at the Cedar Lee, Atlas Cinemas Eastgate, Capitol Theaters. For Tickets please call: 216.456.8117. More details to follow.
October 1,8,15——Cleveland Italian Film Festival at the Cedar Lee, Atlas Cinemas Eastgate, Capitol Theaters. For Tickets please call: 216.456.8117. More details to follow.
October 2 2015—–10th Anniversary of Indian Garden Grand Celebration. Details to follow.
October 13 2015——6:30pm. Executive Board Meeting - Ariel
November 10 2015——6:30pm. Executive Board Meeting - Ariel
December 3 2015——6:30pm. Executive Board Meeting - Ariel
December 8 2015—–6:30pm. Delegate Meeting – Holiday Dinner - TBD
Note: All meetings are at 6:30 at Ariel International Center on East 40th Street unless otherwise noted.
Please check back often for updates. Thank you for your support!!!
Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theclevelandculturalgardens
The British Cultural Garden could use some help.
Originally inaugurated by Leo Weidenthal, Shakespeare Garden was the seed that eventually led to the formation of the Cultural Gardens. Dedicated in 1916, the Shakespeare bust and the Shakespeare Garden (now the British Cultural Garden) were dedicated as part of a celebration that stretched across the world. Cities and nations located within Britain’s sphere of colonial influence, including its former colonies, erected monuments, planted gardens, and held celebrations commemorating the bard’s death.
Next year the Cultural Gardens Of Cleveland and The British Cultural Garden will celebrate their 100th year Anniversary!!!
The British Cultural Garden is preparing for it’s centennial and needs volunteers to help beautify it.
If you can kindly donate some time, please contact….
Mary Hamlin, Coordinator for Cultural Gardens Tours and Speakers also the British Garden Delegate… You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone #(216) 321-7807
Also from Susan Perrin ·….
You can also contact the Daughters of the British Empire in Ohio on their Facebook page.
Together we can bring back the British Cultural Garden to it’s glorious beauty again and make history!! The Garden needs our help NOW!! Thank you!
- African American Garden
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- Finnish Garden
- German Garden
- Greek Garden
- Hebrew Garden
- Hungarian Garden
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- Irish Garden
- Italian Garden
- Latvian Garden
- Lithuanian Garden
- Polish Garden
- Romanian Garden
- Rusin Garden
- Russian Garden
- Serbian Garden
- Slovak Garden
- Slovenian Garden
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