I walked into a trendy, downtown apartment and I was immediately drawn to the art on the wall. Large black and white images of Cleveland line the hallway at The Ivory, a newly renovated building on Euclid Avenue. Looking at the prints, I was already thinking of what they would look like on my walls at home (no, I was not planning on stealing them!). I wasn’t the only one interested. At the time, I was volunteering with the Walk & Dine tour in the Gateway District and each group of guests that entered the apartment wanted to know where the owners had obtained this unique and vintage Cleveland art.
It turns out that we have a wonderful (and FREE) resource available to us. Drum roll please. The Cleveland Public Library has an entire collection of online photographs that I never knew existed. The best part is that you can download them at no cost to you and then have them printed to hang as art in your home. Simply go to cplorg.cdmhost.com to start browsing. Another great place to find old Cleveland photographs is through the Cleveland Memory Project.
I picked five of my favorites and had them blown up to 12 x 18 ($3.99 each) at Costco. If you’ve never gotten your pictures developed at Costco, you should consider giving them a try. The quality is fantastic and the price can’t be beat. I then went to Michael’s and picked out standard black frames with white mattes ($12 each; never buy them unless they are on sale). I have a fairly long hallway upon entering my apartment, so I decided to hang them there for a more dramatic entrance.
As soon as people walk into my apartment they check out the photographs of the city. It was easy to do and it cost a fraction of the price that art can cost. Don’t live in Cleveland? Check out your local library to see if they offer a similar resource.
- Download the pictures at their highest resolution. Then double check to make sure images are least 1 MB before printing.
- Print a couple extras so that you can mix and match the ones that work best together.
- The majority of pictures are in black and white, however some of them appear more aged than others. Keep that in mind when selecting your pictures.
- Want to save even more money on frames? Head to your local thrift store and spray paint frames black for the same effect.