What is the Dealership?

dealership

What the dealership might look like as it goes through a transformation.

You’ve heard it said before: bring artists to a neighborhood and others will follow. Art and culture can help towns to create energetic environments. It connects us. Makes us think beyond our day-today. It can help create a sense of community and build out town’s identity. Look at Ohio City and Tremont.

img_0668That’s the idea behind The Dealership, a new creative hub on Lee Road. For 5 years, LaunchHouse, a business that provided space and support for start-up businesses, occupied the old Zalud Dealership at 3558 Lee Road in Shaker Heights. After their lease was up, they moved on.

I heard a lot about the space but don’t really understand what the idea was behind it. So I stopped by the Dealership’s weekend event last week. It was a friendly, laid back atmosphere of families with kids chatting, catching up, indulging in freshly made donuts from a the DonutLab and making art together…and brainstorming about how to revitalize this area. There were ongoing art projects to inspire you like the MOOS initiative (Making Our Own Space). Kids come together and make art that can transform their neighborhoods. One MOOS poster had a smiling

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Wishing he had a place to sit and hang out.

Shaker Heights Development Corp‘s mission is to revitalize this area and plan to continue operating The Dealership as an entrepreneurial hub. The SHDC also is behind the new plans for the Van Aken area. To bring awareness to the space, they asked the Moreland Arts Council to host events in the space through the month of October.

I spoke to the Council’s Denise Dixon. “There are so many possibilities for this space and this area. We’re hosting events throughout the month to bring people into the Moreland neighborhood and consider it as a place to live. Right now, there are 130 empty lots in the Moreland area.” The neighborhood has wonderful assortment of living options for people. There are a total of 507 houses: 368 single-family houses, 137 two-family houses and 2 three-family structures.  Not to mention an advantage that most area can’t offer: a short walk to the rapid, library and shopping plus 4 parks.

Love this cool bench created by the kids at MOOS

Love this cool bench created by the kids at MOOS

It got me to thinking. Why couldn’t this area undergo the same transformation that happened in spots like Ohio City? What if this space was used not just for small businesses but for artists studios too? I am waiting and hopeful. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings for this neighborhood that I’ve known and loved since I was 3.

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Here’s a spot in Raleigh, NC, that has a bar…and an area for artists to paint. Love it.

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine and Caribbean Travel & Life, Heather is chauffeur to 3 busy kids; the president of her Home and School Association; and VP of Marketing for TipsFromTown. And she's passionate about all 3!

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