You may or may not know that Cleveland Metroparks Look About Lodge has invited people to work with us for a few years now to have an entry into the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Parade the Circle parade that takes place in June each year. In the past we’ve artistically represented a meadow in bloom and a forest at night. This year we celebrated the life in and around a river in Cleveland Metroparks. Twenty-five people worked with us to create some of our most spectacular parade pieces yet! We had fish and dragonflies, a crayfish with some river algae, a swimming beaver, some logs, birds flying overhead, a wading great blue heron and a huge snapping turtle float. Two of us walked as a fishermen and invited children along the parade route to do some catch and release in our parade of river life.
If you’ve never participated in the parade I’d love to give you an idea of the scope of the project. We start meeting in February and work on our theme and costumes through to the last minute in June. On the day of the parade, we gather as early at 8 a.m. and walk wearily back to our cars in time for dinner. The Cleveland Museum of Art reported 80,000 people in attendance; and I believe them! There are places where the crowds on the side of the road are 15-20 people deep. We do a lot of transporting and dressing and waiting and preparing. The parade starts at noon and we didn’t even line up until 1 p.m.
Being in Parade the Circle is fun and exhausting and exhilarating! We take pride in representing not only Cleveland Metroparks and Look About Lodge but also our artistic interpretation of a little piece of nature. The parade calls for exaggeration and inflation of the appearance of what we represent. But we take pride in a certain amount of realism that we depict with our art. It’s such a responsibility and privilege to invite people to share in our love with the natural world by “being” a little piece of nature.
So, below you can see some of our day on June 14th. Most of our photographs were taken before and a few after the parade. See if you can guess what we were. Maybe you’ll even spot someone you know. We also hope you’ll spot us in future parades. Who knows which piece of nature will inspire us next year!