From African Dance to Bluegrass Music

Blog Date
Julie Smith
Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

We started off June 2018 with some great activities and music. We often go to the Cleveland Museum of Art (@ClevelandArt) and the Cleveland Metroparks (@CleveMetroparks), and we wanted to share in this blog post some of the unique things we did on June 1 and June 2, 2018.

MIX at CMA - So joyful and exuberant!!!

Djapo Cultural Arts Institute Performers
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The main reason we wanted to write this June 1, 2018, #MIXatCMA blog is for you to see the videos in our tweets of the Djapo Cultural Arts Institute's (@djapoarts) performance in the Cleveland Museum of Art Ames Family Atrium! After seeing their performance, Julie described it as "so joyful and exuberant!" The drums, the colors, and the dancing were filled with energy! You can learn more about this nonprofit's work in "preserving traditional dance and music throughout Africa and the Diaspora" on their website:

As we do at all the MIX at CMA events (hashtag: #MIXatCMA), we participated in the curator tours that are offered. As you can see in our Twitter photos, we saw a diverse array of artwork, and even toured a gallery that we had never visited.

Please share by retweeting any of our @sos_jr tweets and retweets that interest you, so more people will know about these fun #MIXatCMA events. Clicking on Twitter photos will enlarge them! In particular, see and share Emanuel Wallace's (@MannyWallace) article entitled Photos From June’s MIX at Cleveland Museum of Art on Cleveland Scene (@ClevelandScene) In 63 photos, he captures the energy and fun of the evening. We are in photo #48!
Emanuel Wallace's photo #48 of Stuart and Julie
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We enjoy attending MIX at CMA almost every month, but we learned that it would not take place in July, August, or September 2018, to accommodate the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibition. When Stuart attended the Cleveland Museum of Art's "Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe" exhibition preview on February 24, 2018, he learned that Infinity Mirrors will not only take place in the Museum's special Exhibition Hall, but also in part of the Ames Family Atrium! This is going to be a huge sellout art exhibition! We have already reserved our tickets for August (which we received as a benefit of being Museum members), and plan to attend the preview for Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors on July 7, 2018.


Party At The Pond - Unique Experience at Sunset Pond

North Chagrin Reservation Party At The Pond
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The Cleveland Metroparks' (@CleveMetroparks) North Chagrin Reservation is well known to us. Julie grew up visiting the park with her parents, who were very active there. Stuart has hiked the trails or bushwhacked much of the park, and worked two summers during his college years in the forestry division that was based at North Chagrin Reservation.

When we learned about the Cleveland Metroparks' June 2nd Party At The Pond, we though it would be just a fun visit to a very familiar location. What we learned that day was that a first-time-ever opportunity was being made available to us. Also, June 2nd was National Trails Day® (@AmericanHiking - #NationalTrailsDay). Stuart normally spends National Trails Day® backpacking on the Appalachian Trail (@AT_Conservancy), so we definitely wanted to plan a day in the park.

JUNE 02, 2018
12 - 4 PM

Boating & Paddlesports, Exploring Nature

Let's celebrate! Meet live animals, discover the ponds through nature play, trek to see a beaver lodge and explore Sunset Pond in a giant canoe (tickets $3, limited availability). For the grand finale Lost Bob and the Ozone Ramblers ignite the lawn with a bluegrass concert at 3 p.m.

We had heard of and always wanted to attend the Voyageur Canoe Paddle at the Cleveland Metroparks' Hinckley Reservation, so we were curious about what the event listing meant when we registered online for the "giant canoe" ride. Arriving at North Chagrin Nature Center, we learned that this was a special day -- for the first time ever, the long "Voyageur Canoe" would be used for a public event at North Chagrin Reservation's Sunset Pond. Riding in the canoe on Sunset Pond gave us a completely different perspective of this park that we know so well. The pond is much larger than you would realize from viewing from the shore. The canoe pond tour was led by park naturalist Foster Brown, who showed us the beaver lodge on Sunset Pond.

Enjoying Cleveland Metroparks' Voyageur Canoe
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Zoom in on this Google map to see more details.

While on the canoe tour, we learned that the Cleveland Metroparks has future plans for renovating the North Chagrin Nature Center building as part of parks stratiegic facilites plan. We remember when there was no nature center, and no marsh, so to hear about more improvements is exciting.

Here is the park's video North Chagrin Nature Center - A Place of True Splendor that tells the history of North Chagrin Nature Center. We learned in the video that the current North Chagrin Nature Center and marsh area were built the year we started dating.

After the canoe tour, we saw many special nature exhibits that were set up for the day. The Party At The Pond ended with a great bluegrass concert by Lost Bob and the Ozone Ramblers.

Lost Bob and the Ozone Ramblers
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Here is a map that show the layout of the special exhibits for the Party At The Pond event:

North Chagrin Reservation Party At The Pond Activities Map
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See photos and video from the tour and the nature exhibits, along with videos of Lost Bob and the Ozone Ramblers, in our @sos_jr tweets and retweets.


Thank You and Related Blog Posts

Thank you, Cleveland Museum of Art (@ClevelandArt) and Cleveland Metroparks (@CleveMetroparks), for the great events. We learned more about your organizations, and enjoyed the music.

Here are some related blog posts about our adventures in Cleveland:

The Djapo Cultural Arts Institute (@djapoarts) has performed at Cleveland Public Theatre's (@CPTCLE) Station Hope in 2018, as well as 2016 and 2017, which are the years Stuart attended. Learn more about this outstanding event in our blog post:

We have written many blog posts about the Cleveland Museum of Art, which you can view here, and the many cultural institutions of University Circle, which you can view here. We attend most of the #MIXatCMA events during the year, and have written the following blog posts about some of them:

See the many blog posts we have written about the Cleveland Metroparks, which you can view here. If you want to learn about many of the park locations that we explored in 2017, see our blog post:

  • Blog Date: December 29, 2017 - Cleveland Metroparks Inaugural Trail Challenge!
    In this blog post, we shared information about our journey on the 10 required trails and beyond!! Julie hiked 12 trails, and Stuart ended up completing 24 of the 25 trails on the list for 2017. If Stuart had a boat to complete the final water trail, he would have finished them all.


We are looking forward to future Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland Metroparks events.