By Mike Caldwell, Mayfield Heights

This trip was a gem. It was one of those 'one of a kind' rare opportunities when art and aesthetics integrates with ordinary daily activities. The combination converted what might have been a simple tour into a cathartic and transcendent experience for me. The tour was designed around artist Andy Curlowe's visionary idea that Cleveland is a mountain, and it's buildings and skyscrapers are it's peaks. Instead of feeling like I was on an ordinary city tour, I felt like I was on an urban mountain climbing adventure. Visiting key points in downtown that were the 'peaks' of Cleveland became a mountain climbing expedition and our group of tourists seemed like a fearless and strong climbing team. Visiting the 'peaks' and overlooking the vistas from each rooftop would prove to be both adventurous breathtaking.

Something should also be said about the event's luck with the weather. Bad luck? Good luck? I would have to say that the fact that the weather was at its "Cleveland worst" for the Valentine's Day climb actually helped to amplify the experience for me. I wasn't surprised to see all the people show up at Burke Lakefront Airport, despite the treacherous driving conditions through the blizzard to reach base camp. There was a large, prepared group. Additionally, the blanket of white snow over top of everything seemed to abstract the cityscape in a way that helped me to envision it as a more of a mountain. The wind was whipping, in much the same way it would be if I were climbing Everest. Snow squalls blinded us, but we plodded on (actually joyfully).

So what was this all really supposed to be about? This event was designed to augment the concepts presented by the artist Andy Curlowe, who asked the question, "What if this city was a mountain?" This event took the artist's concepts and connected them with another form of perception, which in this case was a tour of the city. These types of events are rare, especially in the attempt to translate a creative idea in a meaningful way but this event did accomplish that goal. I climbed Cleveland Mountain.

And what did SPACES do for me? I also had the chance to meet interesting fellow artistically minded travelers and together we went on an adventure around Cleveland that was both historically and perceptually informative. The destinations of the tour were unique and required special access, providing me with this wonderful cultural opportunity that educated me about this city and enhanced my awareness.

The Climbers of Cleveland Mountain
The Climbers of Cleveland Mountain

Keywords: , mountain climbing, snow, tours, winter
Author: Christina Vassallo, Executive Director
Category: Events

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