Arts & Entertainment

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Best local promoter

Cellar Door

With the recent—and very successful—Cellar Door Rendezvous music festival in the books, Cellar Door Cleveland is primed to offer more of what's made it an indie-pop household name here in town. What started out as an idealistic vision in bucolic Madison, Ohio, has turned into an absolute force of local music promotion, production and everything in between. With the acquisition of a primo loft space in AsiaTown last summer, Cellar Door has really ramped up its efforts to be the name in local music. With names like the Modern Electric, Herzog, Ohio Sky, Bethesda and many others attached to its name, Cellar Door knows how to present and offer the best of our city's artistic highlights.

Best Local Furniture Designer


The business premise of A Piece of Cleveland is simple: Make really high quality furniture products out of raw materials with a local history. Only when they say "raw materials," what they mean is "shit that probably would have been thrown away." The folks at APOC have recycled hundreds of floors, doors and lumber that were otherwise destined for the landfill. And the philosophy is even prettier: They love Cleveland and want to preserve its history. By revamping unwanted products—from homes slated for demolition, churches, old office buildings—they create something uniquely beautiful. Every chair and table tells a story. Their warehouse is located on East 49th and they sell retail furniture at Banyan Tree in Tremont and Lake Erie Artists Gallery in Shaker Square. Naturally, they also do custom work for the home or office.

Best Local Artist


Technically not a single artist, but we're nonetheless thrilled to anoint the Rust Belt Monster Collective this year's winner. The Collective is a group of six insanely awesome visual artists—Tim Switalski, Randy Crider, Erin Schechtman, Craig Worrell, Ben Hale and Jim Giar—who just sort of discovered that they work really well together and now work as a group creating art around town. They also do bi-weekly sketch challenges and host events. For last year's Ingenuity Festival, the Rust Belt Monster team spent 12 hours painting a mural across 16 Scene distribution boxes which were then placed around the city to promote the festival. It was one of their "Live Art" projects. The whole team gathers and creates murals live with zero planning beforehand—improv art. It's masterful stuff.

Best Art Gallery

Best Event Space:

78th Street Studios

It's not just the 40 art galleries and studios and showrooms that make the Roarin' Twenties-era warehouse-turned-fine-arts-enclave so magical. They've got live programming as well! Most notably, the new Blank Canvas Theater has taken up permanent residence in the space and has been wowing sold-out crowds with fresh, funny theater and comedy shows thanks to the hard work and vision of local theater celeb Patrick Ciamacco. The Third Friday public art events are a fan favorite and, in general, the Rust Belt decor (including a truly bad-ass old-school freight elevator) makes a chic, ambient setting for the champagned drinking and art viewing favored among the sort of urban affluent or rag-tag bougie crowds who tend to salivate over exposed brick. (We do not judge. We identify.)

1300 W. 78th St.,

Best music venue

Beachland Ballroom

Seeing shows at the Beachland is a quintessentially Cleveland thing to do. It helps that the Beachland—both Ballroom and Tavern—is freaking awesome. Next time you catch a Beachland staffer on the streets of Cleveland or, say, in the Beachland itself, shake his or her hand and let 'em know they're doing a fantastic job of bringing in the bands that truly matter. Also: Don't forget This Way Out, the vintage-plus-vinyl shop located in the venue's basement. And whether it's the walls bedecked in concert paraphernalia or the overzealous drunkards next to you, there's something inherently magical about taking a leak in the Beachland bathrooms. Wait. What? 15711 Waterloo Rd, 216-383-1124,

Best Local Sculptor

Loren Naji

Loren Naji has displayed at the Cleveland Museum of Art, SPACES, and the Butler Art Museum, but he's probably best known for what might be Cleveland's most famous piece of public art that isn't a slightly embarrassing giant piece of office equipment on Lakeside. "They Have Landed," a 3,000-pound, eight-foot plywood sphere of startling smoothness and polish is meant to look like a shimmering time machine materialized in Ohio City—and that is exactly what happened. The work is not just in the community, but also of the community, filled with keepsakes, messages, and relics that have been sealed up inside the time capsule until the year 2050, assuming anyone's still here. Naji probably will be, and he'll be a hell of a host. Besides his public installation, he advances local art at his Loren Naji Studio Gallery just blocks away from "They Have Landed" on West 25th, where exhibit openings are crowded, loud affairs with live bands which can go on until well after midnight.