C-Space sparks creativity on Clark Avenue

(Plain Press, January 2007) C-Space opened last May in a storefront on W. 44th and Clark Avenue as a “Cleveland community center for interaction, social programs and political action”, according to C-Space volunteer Oren Casdi.  C-Space encourages participation in the currently offered programs, but also encourages community members to create their own programs.

About three years ago, says Casdi, a group of five like-minded friends began discussing the idea of creating a community center in an ethnically diverse, working class neighborhood in which the neighborhood residents welcomed the idea of a new center. They chose the Clark Fulton neighborhood, he said, after visiting  neighborhood churches and talking with residents..

Casdi says C-Space now has a group of about ten people who meet twice a month to discuss continuing development of the space. C-Space is completely run by volunteers and all the equipment is donated, he says.  Community members, youths and adults, are encouraged to come to the center as a gathering place to meet with other people, join a program, or to create a program of their own.

C-Space is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 4-8 p.m. From 4-7 neighborhood youths can visit the center to receive help with homework, engage in various creative activities, read, or use the computers with high-speed internet access. C-Space reserves the time from 7-8 p.m. for quiet time for adults only. There is discussion about creating a woman’s only night on Tuesday nights.

C-Space contains a large open area which could be used for fundraisers, meetings, movie viewings or entertainment, says Casdi. A recent showing of a movie about Lebanon  attracted about 80 people, he said.

Volunteers greet people entering the center. A tour reveals several sets of large bookshelves. Cleveland Books 2 Prisoners, which sends books to people in prison, collected many of the books, explains Casdi.  Another set of bookshelves contains books donated to C-Space for a possible lending library being discussed.

Volunteer Rick Ortiz developed a writer’s workshop called “Poetic Signs for Poetic Minds”,  where poets come to review each other’s work or exchange ideas on Wednesday nights from 7-8 p.m. Following the workshop is an Open Mic Night from 8-10 p.m., with priority for poets.  Ortiz, who uses the stage name “Indio Cortez” in honor of his Native American and Spanish heritage, said he hopes to attract enough poets to create a weekly night of poetry reading, with a musician from diverse cultural backgrounds featured at intermission.

A small room in the rear of C-Space serves as a group meeting place, classroom for  Spanish language class, and a quiet location for a chess club. Another room serves as an office for the World People Exchange, a program of the Immigrant Support Network, which provides assistance to recent immigrants.

Casdi says a silent art auction benefit will be held on February 3rd to raise money to help operate C-Space. Casdi says the auction will feature artwork of all mediums and various gift packages donated by area businesses. To donate art or gift packages call Oren Casdi at 631-2333 or contact him by e-mail at orencasdi@yahoo.com. To learn more about C-Space visit during open hours at 4323 Clark Avenue, see listings in the Plain Press Community Board, or check out upcoming activities on their website at www.clevelandspace.org.


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