One of Reaching Heights’ primary goals is to connect the community with the public schools in the CH-UH City School District. In the Fall of 2021, Reaching Heights invited the community to a special tour of Cleveland Heights High School and of Oxford Elementary School which highlighted each building’s art and architecture.
At the high school, Eric Silverman, Heights alumnus, former school board member, and lay historian began the tour by describing the original 1926 building and the refurbishment and renovation of the building from 2015-2017. Next, the group viewed the 3 murals designed and painted by artist, business owner, and Heights alumnus, Jimmy Hayden. The group stopped to look at a student painted mural in the hallway to the cafeteria, and then the newest mural in the building’s front lobby, titled “Together We Rise” designed and painted by artist, teacher, and Heights alumnus, Jerome White. The tour ended with a stop in the high school art classrooms with art teachers Nancy Rich and Marc Baker. They described the varied projects and impressive pieces created by students and answered questions about the range of classes offered.
The tour at Oxford Elementary could not happen in person due to a rise in Covid 19 cases but both video tours were completed by the film company West 10 G owned by Antonio Harper (Heights alumnus) and his partner, Abby Burton. Principal Jackie Taylor opens the video tour with a welcome to Oxford Elementary, a wonderful elementary school that is home to murals, hydrocals, and ceramics from the WPA/FPA (Works Progress Administration/Federal Arts Project) of the late 1930’s and 40’s. This video tour also visited the Oxford art classroom and interviewed art teacher Carrie DePrima who sees the building’s art as a source of inspiration for students. When the tour moves to the second floor, teacher Michelle Bee describes the pilot renovation to Oxford during the summer of 2011 which created modern, flexible classroom spaces.
Please watch these video tours and invite your neighbors, family, and friends to watch them too. These schools belong to all of us and Reaching Heights wants the residents, business owners, and all community members to become familiar with the history, architecture, art, curriculum and extra-curriculars, staff, and students of the CH-UH public schools.
The Art and Architecture of Cleveland Heights High: An Inside Look
Historical Oxford Elementary School: An Inside Look