MXO ‘The Arts Unplugged:’ Ingenuity Fest to Move Again And Forge A Closer Relationship To The Lake!, Posted September 17th 2021

It’s hard to believe that Ingenuity Cleveland felt like it was on its last legs just a few years ago.

Founded in 2004 by Thomas Mulready and James Levin, it was intended to bring together the arts and technology in interesting new configurations to activate underutilized spaces. It started at Gateway/East 4th Street when that area was mostly crumbling, vacant spaces, moved to the Playhouse Square/Cleveland State campus area, and then to the wildly popular Streetcar Level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge before landing, disastrously, at some warehouses at Northcoast Harbor. There, ill-suited facilities, poor wayfinding, too many pedestrian acts and artists, bad food, commercialization, and finally, a festival cursed with rain made it feel like Ingenuity had strayed too far from its roots to survive.

Then in 2016, it moved to the Hamilton Collaborative on East 53rd and Hamilton & it rose from the dead. The space gave the festival its own, year-round space to work and create called Ingenuity Labs, and, without the need for portability, each of the festivals there exceeded the last in creativity and diversity. Ingenuity also started to spin off other programs such as workshops for budding entrepreneurs, something that continued with its collaboration with the Brite Winter Festival and this year with Rooms to Let CLE, and its new-this-year Ignite! Neighbor Nights.

There are more such collaborations in the pipeline, but the big news is that Ingenuity Festival is moving again — at least for this year. No, not back to “the Bridge,” the way so many people are always demanding. It’s moving to the lake.

Ingenuity on the Lake will take place September 24-26. That outdoor space (please, no rain!), which is used for a variety of recreational activities, and will make some of the more oversized or technologically complex elements challenging or impossible, should give the festival a different vibe this year (please, no rain!).

Meanwhile, Ingenuity on the Lake is planning a series of lead-up events with various partners including the Cleveland Metroparks/CHEERS study, Famicos Foundation, Bike Cleveland, and St. Clair-Superior Development. They’ll be at the Glenville Summer Series, supporting efforts to make the east side lakefront more accessible. They’re supporting three-mile community bikes rides Thursday July 15 and Thursday August 19 @ 6pm to raise awareness of routes to the lake; meet at Marquette and St. Clair, just a few blocks from the Hamilton Collaborative.

To keep up with Ingenuity on the Lake events, go here.