A One World Experience in Cleveland Cultural Gardens

By Janet Dodrill

Cleveland One World Festival modern dance performance at Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Cleveland One World Festival modern dance performance at Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Clevelanders have access to a 254-acre park, Cleveland Cultural Gardens, located in Rockefeller Park on Cleveland’s east side. It was donated by John D. Rockefeller, a Clevelander, in 1896, in celebration of Cleveland’s first centennial.

These are beautiful public gardens, with over 26 nationalities represented, and growing. Each nationally has its own unique, dedicated garden, with winding stone paths and retaining walls, fountains, plaques and statues, trees, flowers, and plant life, for all cultures to enjoy.

Growing up in Cleveland, we used to drive down Liberty Boulevard through the gardens, and would pass under great stone tunnel-like bridges, and sound the car’s horn under each one of several that lined the road! This busy major access road was later renamed Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Ethnic communities represented by having a garden to-date are: African American, American, Armenian, Azerbaijan, British, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, Finnish, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, India, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Native American, Polish, Romanian, Rusin, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Syrian, and Ukrainian.

The American Garden includes a bust of educator, author, and lecturer, Booker T. Washington and a Lincoln pedestal and Gettysburg Address plaque in Lincoln Plaza in the same garden.

Recently, a couple events involving the gardens have come to my attention.

Last summer I attended the Cleveland One World Festival there – one day of music, ethnic food, artists and vendors, dancing and entertainment. According to the their web site (www.clevelandoneworldfestival.com), “Cleveland One World Festival will expand upon the Cleveland Cultural Gardens’ “One World Day,” a celebration held in the gardens for the past 66 years.”

This past week on a TV show called Applause on WVIZ/PBS, a local filmmaker, Luke Frazier, was spotlighted about his Cleveland Cultural Gardens documentary film on his discovery of it and its history, ‘Hidden in Plain Sight.’ Ironically, a few weeks before the show aired, I met Luke through something job-related but was unaware of his involvement with the video, in which he wrote, narrated, acted in, and co-produced, in conjunction with Travis Pollert. A link to the show and video is below. After seeing it, you will agree that his appreciation for the gardens is apparent.

Next time you are in Cleveland make plans to visit these world-class cultural gardens.

Resource Links:

Videos:
Applause
www.ideastream.org/applause/entry/67409

Cleveland One World Festival
www.clevelandoneworldfestival.com

Maps:
Cleveland Cultural Gardens
www.clevelandculturalgardens.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Map-2013-city.pdf

Cleveland Cultural Gardens
www.citizensvision.org/friends-rp/gardens/gardens.htm

Web Sites:
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation
http://www.clevelandculturalgardens.org

Ohio Gardens – I Love Gardens
www.ilovegardens.com/Ohio%20Gardens.htm

The Cultural Landscape Foundation, Rockefeller Park & Cleveland Cultural Gardens
www.tclf.org/content/rockefeller-park-cleveland-cultural-gardens

Hidden in Plain Sight
www.hipsdoc.com

Photos:
By Janet Dodrill

Cleveland Cultural Gardens fountain and garden during Cleveland One World Festival.

Cleveland Cultural Gardens fountain and garden during Cleveland One World Festival.

 

Henna body painting at Cleveland One World Festival at Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Henna body painting at Cleveland One World Festival at Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Henna body painting at Cleveland One World Festival at Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Henna body painting at Cleveland One World Festival at Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Cleveland One World Festival music performance at Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Cleveland One World Festival music performance at Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Cleveland One World Festival at Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Cleveland One World Festival at Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Cleveland Cultural Gardens stone walkway, steps, garden.

Cleveland Cultural Gardens stone walkway, steps, garden.

Cleveland One World Festival music performance at Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Cleveland One World Festival music performance at Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

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