In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, huge fortunes were being made in a string of American industrial centers: Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland. Today we tend to think of them only as Rust Belt has-beens. But the people making the money used a chunk of it for civic improvements like art galleries and botanical gardens in their communities. Today the wealth of these cities is in their architecture and art and they offer untold treasures if you are willing to look beyond their troubles.
As I mentioned before, we have taken to stopping in Cleveland to spend time at the museum every time we go out East. Their collection is breath-taking in scope and I always find a new treasure like this Mondrian below.
One of the things that has been drawing us off the highway is the fact the Cleveland Museum of Art has been undergoing a major addition. Each time we visit more galleries are open and the final design of the new building is now almost completely revealed. We took these shots when we stopped there last summer.
The classical old building and the contemporary addition are connected with an atrium whose walls and ceiling are glass.
The vast space includes two large areas filled with a variety of mostly green plants and with benches where you can relax and enjoy the greenery up close.
The plants add a softness that nicely contrasts with all the hard edges of the architecture. And the waving bamboo fronds are completely magical in that space.
There are also green spaces on the various roofs. All of these are newly planted gardens, so I am looking forward to watching them grow and change on future visits.
You get glimpses of constantly changing sky and clouds through the dramatic glass architecture.
The exterior of the original building includes formal gardens and massive urns on pedestals holding equally massive floral displays . . .
and sculpture whose mood can change as quickly as the weather.