Once the center of industry in Cleveland, when the Northeast Shores district of Collinwood became de-industrialized, the neighborhood quickly became irrelevant to the city’s economy and fell into disrepair. Unwilling to stand by while her neighborhood crumbled, one Collingwood resident took matters into her own hands. Cindy Barber converted the abandoned former headquarters of the Croatian Liberty Home into “The Beachland Ballroom,” a multiuse arts center and performance hall that quickly became a major destination for independent music, launching the careers of several prominent artists and encouraging the opening of galleries and record stores throughout the town.
A decade later, the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District in Collinwood is in full development. In 2011, the area’s community development organization, Northeast Shores, was chosen for an “Artist in Residence” program with the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. With a mission to provide housing and work space to artists in a sustainable manner that will not see them priced out once the area is thriving, the two organizations are investing more than $1.1 million in artist support to help the creative community with grant funding, space ownership, and other services that will allow the artists to be deeply engaged, and even accountable for the revitalization of this historic Cleveland neighborhood.