New gardens sprouting up at BAYarts

There are other art centers and there are other parks. But there is no other art center that is located in Cleveland Metroparks or one that is surrounded by a botanical paradise right here on the west side. BAYarts gardens are designed by artist and Bay Village landscape designer Julia Shutt, who sees the campus as an artist would see a canvas, having many elements that connect to create one harmonious flow. With her partner, Byron, their company Maple Leaf Landscaping is responsible for all the heavy lifting, installation and seasonal maintenance, while BAYarts volunteers lovingly keep everything in check.

What makes this unique garden mosaic come together is the generous funding by individuals or groups wishing to show support for the growing BAYarts community or to honor a loved one in a meaningful way. Each garden has special meaning and unique stories to tell.

The Casey Coleman Garden, located in the heart of the campus, is named for the popular sports figure and features seats from the original Browns Stadium. His family and friends visit often, sitting where Casey loved to perch and take in the view.

The Ruth Purdy-Leslie Garden, a memorial for everyone's favorite Bay Village art teacher is as colorful as she was and is lovingly tended by her sister-in-law and BAYarts volunteer Linda Purdy.

The Welcome Garden, a gift of the Bay Village Foundation, does just that, welcomes you as you enter the campus, with warm colors and a vintage bench.

The winding hands that seems to sprout up from the center of the sculpture garden were created by Bay High art students from a toppled fir tree, fitting so perfectly with the surrounding trees and meandering paths. There's also a butterfly garden, a bird garden and a wildflower garden. 

Not a day goes by when a new visitor to the campus doesn't say, "I had no idea, it's so beautiful here." And it's about to get more beautiful. 

For the first time since the completion of the Fuller House in 2010, several new gardens will be installed, once again by Maple Leaf Landscaping, around the recently completed Karen Ryel Ceramic Arts & Education Center. The new building has a deck, ADA accessibility ramp, surrounding patios and paths that will connect the campus buildings, opening up new possibilities for fresh garden beds.

Naming rights are a meaningful and lasting way to create a special place to honor someone or just to show appreciation for nature and the canvas that is the BAYarts campus. For information, contact 

Nancy Heaton


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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 9:42 AM, 04.21.2015