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The Music Settlement Opens New Campus After More Than A Century On East Side

Many Clevelanders and even some famous musicians have connections to The Music Settlement, located for 106 years on the city’s east side. President and CEO Geri Presti says the expansion to the west side will do even more to broaden that impact, and provide arts-focused preschool, music therapy, and after-school programming to even more people.

“It’s important to be able to expand our mission. We’ve had such an impact on the other side of town, that we wanted to be able to reach more in our community, and especially more on the west side,” Presti said. “I think the community’s great for us. It’s serving all people, all abilities, all backgrounds, and we’re just here for everybody.”

Inclusivity is important to Presti and others at The Music Settlement. That means addressing the different needs of the west side, like Spanish signs for bilingual students and parents, more group lessons than private lessons, and a focus on guitar and drum lessons, rather than violins and other classical instruments. These changes are based on a survey conducted by The Music Settlement.

Cleveland City Councilman Kerry McCormack says the new facility in his district will provide financial aid and scholarships, allowing everyone to access music programming.

“Having an addition like The Music Settlement really brings us to the next level and enhances that opportunity, whether you live in a $500,000 townhome or you’re in public housing,” McCormack said.

Located near the corner of 25 th and Detroit, The Music Settlement’s new campus is in an accessible location for people from the western suburbs driving into work downtown. It’s also close enough to walk for some Ohio City residents, like Kait Turshen, who lives in the new apartment complex above The Music Settlement. Her three-year-old daughter will have a short walk to her music program this semester.

“We had heard some really great things from a friend who was also sending her son there this fall. Went on a tour when we were on a visit and absolutely loved it,” Turshen said.

West sider Isiah White lives near West 89 th Street and Lorain, and the convenient location will make it easier for him to get his two sons involved in an arts program.

“It makes a big difference, because it’s definitely close to my home, it’s not far at all. It’s probably seven minutes from here,” White said.

Councilman McCormack says the physical location of the new campus is also significant because it will provide easy access for people living north of Detroit in public housing.

“The Music Settlement… is helping to bridge the divide between the south side of the Shoreway and the north side of the Shoreway, and really bring those residents together in a neutral space like the Music Settlement” he said.  “This creates, really, a great third space for community members to come together and build community and get to know each other, and physically it sits right there to bridge that divide that was historically segregated by a freeway.”

For Tom McNair of community development organization Ohio City Incorporated, the new campus means more families staying in the area and more families moving in.

“We believe that if the city is going to be successful that neighborhoods need to be family friendly,” McNair said. “Making sure that having quality five-star education center in Northeast Ohio in a growing neighborhood like Ohio City is extremely important.”

And that future, McNair says, will include maintaining the west side’s diversity and bringing in more programs and organizations that are accessible to everyone, no matter a family’s socioeconomic status.

lisa.ryan@ideastream.org | 216-916-6158