It’s a corner that can’t be missed.
The corner of Madison and Carabel avenues has murals – two inside and one outside – that help change the appearance of the area.
Eileen Dorsey has turned a spooky alleyway into an attractive work of art. Instead of dingy bricks, bright trees and flowers are now in the once foreboding alley.
Meanwhile, Tessa LeBaron painted two murals inside New Moon, the pagan store at the corner.
Lakewood is a city of murals, thanks to the Lakewood Art Mural Program. Started in 2016, the program has provided city grants to artists as a way to create public art across the city. Many once-blank building walls now showcase murals.
The goal is to create a public-private partnership between artists and property owners that increases the property value, makes the city a more attractive place to live and draws new residents, according to the city's website.
The city made $50,000 in grants available this year to artists
Dorsey, a Westlake native, completed it last year. The owner of the building selected her for the job.
“People didn't feel comfortable going past it for some reason from what I was told by some neighborhood folk,” she said. “It was creepy looking. And now that it has been painted, it completely activates a space and brightens it up, and then it becomes an opportunity to take photos and all that.”
The 39-year-old Dorsey began painting late in the summer of 2021 and completed her mural by early fall. Dorsey also was painting a mural in Columbus.
But the Carabel mural is special. It is 3D, a technique she learned. It takes a special type of 3D glasses to view it, Dorsey said. The type with red and green filters or the ones for viewing fireworks do not work. They must have the clear lenses.
Painting on the wall proved to be difficult as well for the 3D process.
“I had a small concept painting to see if it worked,” Dorsey said. “I tried to keep the palette simple with pink, yellow, blue and black and white. But there was something about being on brick, which is also 3D. So I'd have to start over with it.”
It might be a while before the public will see LeBaron’s paintings. She has two inside New Moon, which is temporarily closed. Her murals are not part of the Lakewood Art Mural Program.
“This was of our own prompting,” New Moon owner Dawn Bartos said. “I gave her my ideas and then gave her complete artistic freedom to create the beautiful mural.”
The mural is located in the gathering room.
“One of the people who works there knows me,” LeBaron said. “She is familiar with the (art) scene. She had me come in and meet the owner. They gave me some ideas of things that were a part of their atmosphere, their store and their lives. And I kind of did this big folklore mystic mural there.”
Both Dorsey and LeBaron started painting when they were very young. While Dorsey went to Kent State University for an art degree, LeBaron, an Ashtabula native, was self taught.
LeBaron, 28, currently lives “all over,” and has a studio in Negative Space, 1541 East 38th St. in Cleveland’s Asian Town Center, on the second floor.
Dorsey is a familiar presence in the Westshore area. Last year, Westlake proclaimed July 31 Eileen Dorsey Day, honoring the former resident, who was the featured artist at the Westlake Bay Village Rotary Arts Festival.
She is holding it again from 3-6 p.m. Sunday at her studio in the 78th Street Studios on Cleveland’s West Side.
Dorsey hasn't always painted the bright, colorful landscapes. At one time, she was a naturalist, painting landscapes in natural colors.
“I'm mostly known for my oil paintings of colorful trees,” Dorsey said. “I would say that it's a modern take on impressionism with a psychedelic color twist.
LeBaron paints by emotion.
“Whatever pops out to me at the moment,” she said. I think there’s symbolism and inspiration everywhere you look. I paint a lot of women figures as emotional figures. I do like to paint animals and I’ve been painting a lot of mushrooms lately.”
The two worked together on a project at Great Northern Mall, where they painted planters.
“If you walk around the mall,” LeBaron said, “you can see them. We put our twist on them. I also painted a mural there. It was really high. I had to use a lift to paint the top.”
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