Blog . CinemaTalk, March-April 2017
By John Ewing, Cinematheque Director
For the most part, I have been very happy with the Cinematheque’s new location in the growing “Uptown” district on Euclid Avenue east of Mayfield Road. (We’ve been here since August of 2015, in case you haven’t been paying attention.) Our brand new auditorium, the 300-seat Peter B. Lewis Theater, located inside the Cleveland Institute of Art’s new George Gund Building at 11610 Euclid Avenue, is everything we could have hoped for, and more—with a 36-foot-wide screen (much bigger than our old one), a Christie 4K digital projector, 7.1 Dolby Digital sound, dual 35mm and 16mm projection, cushioned seats, and great sightlines and acoustics.
However, one downside of moving into a “hot” new neighborhood like Uptown is that other businesses want to join you there. While it is great to have bars and restaurants, ice cream parlors, coffee and pastry shops, a book store, and a grocery store just a short walk from the Cinematheque, there has also been a fair amount of new construction to contend with. This construction has impaired access to the Cinematheque and confounded first-time patrons trying to find the building, park their cars, and locate our entrance. Even regular attendees have been flummoxed at times.
The recent groundbreaking for the new, multi-use “Centric” project (apartments, office, retail, parking garage) at Mayfield Road and E. 117th Street has prompted some major changes in getting to the Cinematheque. It’s also causing significant disruptions to old routines. First of all, the large public parking lot (Lot 45) that used to sit on the property now being developed is gone. Although we never advertised Lot 45 (which was not owned by the Institute) as a place where moviegoers could park, many did. It was the most visible lot from Mayfield Road, the lot first encountered by those driving on E. 117th from Mayfield, and the lot closest to the Peter B. Lewis Theater’s front doors. Though parking there wasn’t free, it cost only $2. Now it’s gone.
But the new building construction has done more than eliminate Lot 45; it’s also forced the closure of E. 117th Street from Mayfield Road (and it’s never coming back). Because the three parking lots that the Cleveland Institute of Art owns or manages (Lot 73, Lot 74, and the Annex Lot, all east of the building) are also accessed from E. 117th Street, Cinematheque patrons must now get to those lots from E. 117th off Euclid Avenue. You just have to drive down E. 117th until you reach the “road closed” sign. Then turn either right into Lot 73 or left into the Annex Lot. Parking in both remains free for moviegoers.
The closest building entrance to these two lots is still Entrance C, which is tucked away at the end of the sidewalk off Lot 73. Look for it before you walk all the way around the building trying to get in. But if you don’t park in CIA lots when attending the Cinematheque, or approach the Cleveland Institute of Art by foot or bicycle from the west, then start using Entrance A to enter the building. This is the main CIA entrance, located at the corner of Euclid and E. 115th (now E. 116th), right underneath the digital “media mesh” (jumbotron). Just walk through the doors and turn right toward the Peter B. Lewis Theater. The previous Cinematheque entrance on the west side of the building, Entrance E, which leads right into the Peter B. Lewis Theater lobby, is now an exit only.
Other changes: E. 116th Street (formerly E. 115th Street), the road that borders the west side of the Institute building, and used to run from Euclid to E. 117th Street, is now partly closed, due to the Centric construction. (There’s a street barricade right outside Entrance E.) The parking meters on the street have also been removed, so parking there is now prohibited at all times.
If all of this sounds too intimidating, it really isn’t. Just allow a little extra time on your first visit and you’ll figure it out. The rewards are worth it.
The 41st Cleveland International Film Festival takes place from March 29 through April 9 at Tower City Cinemas downtown and at other locations throughout the area, including our own Peter B. Lewis Theater. The Cinematheque will also, once again, be a community partner on a festival film. But what that movie is, and when/where it will be shown, have not yet been determined as we go to press.