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June 15, 2023

Cleveland Institute of Art student’s mural selected for Cleveland Foundation’s MidTown Collaboration Center

Left: A rendering of Aniyah King's "Growth From Within," which will be installed on Cleveland Foundation's MidTown Collaboration Center when it opens in 2025. Right: CIA Animation major Aniyah King.

Project partners include Assembly for the Arts, MidTown Cleveland and residents of Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood; mural located at future home of CIA's Interactive Media Lab


June 15, 2023

CLEVELAND—Cleveland Institute of Art student Aniyah King’s “Growth From Within,” a mural that symbolizes growth and progress in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood and represents Hough residents’ pride and passion, will be installed at the Cleveland Foundation’s MidTown Collaboration Center when it opens in 2025.

In fall 2022, Cleveland Foundation asked CIA and Assembly for the Arts to lead a collaborative design project for a mural that would benefit the Hough community, CIA students and MidTown Collaboration Center stakeholders.

CIA devised a faculty-led project within an existing class taken by students representing multiple majors, and Assembly for the Arts organized a committee that would choose the final mural design through a transparent selection process.

King’s design was selected by Hough residents and representatives from the Cleveland Foundation, Assembly for the Arts and MidTown Cleveland. She was “surprised but proud” to learn that her design was selected, and she’s thankful for the chance to work with and learn from the Hough community.

“They were all so kind and supportive of my class. I’m very appreciative that they shared with us their community, its history and where they want to take it. Seeing how connected their community is was really inspiring for me,” says King, a Cincinnati native majoring in Animation at CIA. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to have participated in creating a mural for the center.”

King’s mural was chosen from among 12 other student entries as part of a class project at CIA, whose new Interactive Media Lab will be located in the MidTown Collaboration Center.

Led by CIA faculty member and community-based artist Pam Spremulli, students learned of the vitally important connection that must exist between their artwork and the community in which it will reside. They also were mentored by artist Robin Robinson of Glenville neighborhood-based Sankofa Fine Arts, who shared her experience with painting community murals.

CIA students gained inspiration for their designs by engaging with Hough residents during a day-long walking tour of Hough and meet-and-greet at League Park. Many of those same residents took part in the community voting that led to the selection of King’s mural design.

“We are so proud that Aniyah’s design has been selected by the Hough community to represent the pride, connectivity and growth of the neighborhood,” says CIA President + CEO Kathryn J. Heidemann. “This project allowed our students to expand their art and design practice into the social realm, practice active citizenry, and learn how to work in partnership with clients and community members through an inclusive engagement process—skills that are central to CIA’s mission.”

The MidTown Collaboration Center aims to bring together multiple sectors, companies and disciplines under one roof to foster a new approach to economic activity that revolves around community engagement. Tenants will include CIA, Assembly for the Arts, Case Western Reserve University, Economic and Community Development Institute, Hyland Software, JumpStart and University Hospitals.

“From the very beginning of our work around our new headquarters project, we wanted the community and our institutional partners—including artists—to see themselves reflected in many ways,” says Cleveland Foundation Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and President & CEO-elect Lillian Kuri. “This core value is also integral to the MidTown Collaboration Center, and we’re so thrilled to feature Aniyah King’s powerful and meaningful mural.”

The 95,000-square-foot MidTown Collaboration Center will be constructed on the northwest corner of the intersection at Euclid Avenue and East 66th Street (1974 E. 66th St., Cleveland), along the heavily trafficked Health-Tech Corridor between downtown Cleveland and University Circle.

The mural will be installed as vinyl laminate in two sections on the building’s west-facing exterior. The larger section measures 165 feet wide and 44 feet tall; the smaller section is 65 feet wide and 13 feet tall. Its size and position will make it easily visible to those traveling east toward University Circle.

King’s artistic practice is inspired by plants and nature, and central to her mural design is a tree that represents Hough's growth, strength and pride. Her color choices—rich shades of brown, warm orange tones and welcoming yellow hues—reflect the closeness of residents and friends. Overlapping, heart-shaped hands under the ground’s surface symbolize the neighborly care that forms the bedrock of Hough (and are a nod to the nearby Fatima Family Center), and a gear embedded in the soil represents the hard work being devoted to the community.

“Assembly for the Arts is excited to be part of the process that engaged the community and students at CIA to create a mural that reflects the hopes and character of Hough residents. We designed the program so that CIA students learned about collaboration to create public art during this process and build their networks,” said Deidre McPherson, Chief Community Officer at Assembly for the Arts. “We look forward to seeing the mural each day when we move our offices into the MidTown Collaboration Center.”

Michael C. Butz
Cleveland Institute of Art
Director of College Communications + External Relations
216.421.7404 /

Cleveland Institute of Art is a private, nonprofit college of art and design that has been the training ground for countless students who have gone on to make important contributions to the fields of creativity and innovation since it opened in 1882 as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women. Its students have designed internationally recognized products, their artwork has been exhibited in major museums and private collections around the world, and their entertainment media has been enjoyed by audiences and game players for generations. It enrolls about 600 students nationally and internationally and has a faculty of about 100 full-time and adjunct members, all of whom are practicing artists, designers and scholars.

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