Wednesday, January 30, 2013

library art

 25 January 2013. The library had historical play scenes for children.
The first work of federal art in Cleveland is Ora Coltman's three scene, three piece 'The Dominance of the City'. It had been in the basement lecture room, it is now on the third floor of the Main Library Bldg. It had been on three walls, the left painting was on the right (and vice versa). They and works of two artists were installed, in the library, in 1934 as part of the Public Works of Art Project. The federal government was engaged in implementing Franklin Roosevelt's 'New Deal'. People were with little work, without incomes, and there were too few customers and employers. The federal government became the answer, many things were created, lives were bettered, and the work is often with us still. There were idiots upset with this (we have them still, being wrong is not reason for them to change their opinion).
Saint Theodosius (Greek Catholic and Russian Orthodox) 1911
The new skyscraper, Ohio Bell Bldg., was very recently eclipsed by the Terminal Tower in height. Coltman paints it in a haze. In the central canvas the bridges over the Cuyahoga are shown. The third painting is the neighborhood about St. Theodosius on the nearest south side (west side). The houses are a bit idealised.

This was not the first time Coltman *1858, 1940† painted the subject. He was from the village of Shelby in Richland County, had European training, and sometimes lived in Cleveland. Something caught his attention. Theodosius was not the only onion domed church in the neighborhood, and it would be interesting to know whether Coltman ever became familiar, or even stepped inside. He would have called the language 'foreign', and the people too.
Ora Coltman. Little Russia, Cleveland (View of Tremont from the Clark Ave. Bridge). 1926.
The bridge in 1985 did not come down easily.
That field Alice stands is called I-490 and West 7th ramp to-day. 
Coltman was the architect over three Carnegie Libraries. Near St. Theodosius, on Jefferson, there is a library that he gifted a painting with his grand-daughter in the foreground. One sees the church, and thinks Russia. Nicholas II sent some money, and the Orthodox wanted to coax the people, while the Latin church was abusive and prickly. These Clevelanders were from Carpathia and of Rusyn (Ruthene) nationality. Certainly this distinction was not made by English speaking Clevelanders. Contrasted to New England and Middle West architecture, and XXth century architecture no building in the city compared to it. I would like to see this image shown to people, and have them surmise and suppose the time and place.
Clarence E. Van Duzer. Neighborhood. 1985.
with St. Theodosius, and extinct Wheeling & Lake Erie Vertical Lift Railroad Bridge near Clark Avenue 
Another of those libraries, Brooklyn Branch, there is a metal landscape with St. Theodosius, and a bridge. The building is still distinct.

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