Look up in the sky! It’s a 35-foot-tall flower sculpture to enhance Morgana Run Trail in Cleveland’s Slavic Village.
The recently unveiled sculpture features steel bicycle wheels and LED lighting to form a fantasy-like creation that draws the attention of users of the trail and passersby.
Jake Beckman, an artist who grew up in Cleveland, designed the sculpture; Signature Sign Company of Cleveland did the fabrication. The project is a collaboration between Cleveland Public Art, Slavic Village Development and ParkWorks.
The structure serves as a marker for Morgana Run Trail’s East 49th Street trailhead, a two-mile, off-road portion of the trail. The old bicycle wheels that form the flowers at the top of sculpture signify the trail’s use as both a bike path and a place to enjoy nature. Visible from Interstate 77, the sculpture is sure to be noticed by commuters going to and from downtown Cleveland.
“The scale of this project, along with its vibrant colors, will draw attention to this important community asset and serve as a landmark for people traveling into the city of Cleveland,” says Greg Peckham, Cleveland Public Art’s executive director.
Morgana Run Trail is an old rail line that was converted into a bike and multipurpose trail in 2007. The path connects Washington Park Reservation and Mill Creek Trail.
Three years ago, Cleveland Public Art, a nonprofit organization that works to improve public spaces through art and design; ParkWorks, an organization that promotes neighborhood and downtown revitalization; and Slavic Village Development, the community development organization serving the North and South Broadway neighborhoods, worked together with local artists Christopher Diehl and Shaun Breslin to develop a master plan for public art along the trail. The idea was to make Morgana Run Trail user-friendly and appealing.
The first art installment was a series of vibrant street markings on the path. Next came a mural designed by John Troxell that runs for 300 feet along an industrial building facing Broadway Avenue. Beckman’s sculpture is the latest addition to the public art project.
Morgana Run Trail is the site of an annual 5K race (which took place this year on June 6) and was part of Bike Slavic Village, a 12-mile neighborhood cycling tour that was part of Cleveland Bicycle Week in May.
Plans are in the works to expand the trail using existing City Land Bank lots. According to GreenCityBlueLake, an institute focused on sustainability in Northeast Ohio, the goals of the expansion are to increase green space on the trail and decrease maintenance of vacant lots, which would, in turn, reduce the neighborhood’s carbon footprint.