Category: Books and Writers

Women Talking About

“It cost me a lot to be who I am. I stood up in front of the world with my arms wide open and I said: Come, let’s talk. Let’s talk, night after night. And the world and me, we talked every night. Sometimes I was rejected. It cost me so much to be out front; I cried tears of blood.”

-Chavela Vargas, the grand dame of Mexican song

Imagining the civic self: architecture and public art in Cleveland

Mirror panels reflecting Cleveland Public Auditorium

The interplay between Cleveland’s architecture and public art serves as a striking and ever adapting chronicle of the city’s history and ambitions. Like many great American cities, Cleveland was an industrial titan, experienced White flight, and is now being “rediscovered” by the children and grandchildren of those who abandoned the city for a suburban ideal.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

As more people are drawn back to the city center, they will finally experience its deep beauty. Downtown Cleveland’s distinctive cityscape is defined by a cornucopia of styles: Beaux Arts buildings, corporate glass palaces of late 20th century vintage, and the wacky modernist architecture of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“Free Stamp” by Coosje van Bruggen and Claes Oldenburg

The city’s public art is an inventive and dynamic compliment to its downtown architecture. “Free Stamp” at Willard Park anchors Cleveland’s public art as both historically resonant and forward thinking. The piece references Ohio’s status as a Union state in the Civil War by way of giant pop art sculpture. Newer works like the mirror panels at the Huntington Convention Center literally reflect the Cleveland Public Auditorium, a significant city landmark.

View of downtown Cleveland

A city’s architecture and public art help shape a community’s understanding of itself and the image it seeks to portray to the world. Downtown Cleveland is rich ground for exploration and scholarship.

Women of Portland

Name: Anne K.F.
Neighborhood: Alameda
Years lived in Portland: 65+

1. What do you like most about Portland?
The fact that we come up with initiatives for change that become models for the nation. For the last eight years Morrison Children and Family Services has worked with parents identified as possibly losing custody of their kids. Parents who had the same experience of addiction and lost their children who are now in recovery mentor parents who are at risk of losing custody of their children. All these innovative service agencies that take risks, I love that about Portland.

2. How can we make Portland a better place to live?
Stop demolishing old houses. Keep the quality and look of the neighborhoods.

3. What is your personal motto? What words do you live by?
Look for the good in every situation. There is always a positive take on the worst developments. You can make positive change in the world.

Originally posted on


Henrietta Lacks by Kadir Nelson

Henrietta Lacks “Mother of Modern Medicine” saved and continues to save and extend the lives of millions of people around the world. Ms. Lacks was honored with a portrait by Kadir Nelson to be displayed at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. May her name and legacy never be forgotten.