Mission, Vision and History
To bring joy to the community through arts and music.
Our vision is to contribute to the Cleveland cultural landscape with a free/low cost, and accessible events during underserved times of the year, like winter; an event where anyone can experience our city through traditional and innovative activities. Brite Winter marries fire, participatory art, food, music, and games to build community while helping us embrace the cold winter months.
Fitting into the rest of the Cleveland calendar, we see Brite Winter as the premier Cleveland event between New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day and a showcase for Northeastern Ohio’s artists, musicians, and creative culture. We embrace our core values of positivity, community, creativity, artistic excellence, and accessibility.
Once upon a time, a couple of friends were sharing a pitcher on a patio at the end of the summer. Conversation turned to two things: what can younger people do to get more involved in the community; and what are things you’ve always wanted to do. We decided that Cleveland really needed to embrace winter and have fun with it. We would have been content to have a keg of Christmas Ale in someone’s backyard in a snowstorm. Instead, we ended up finding an enormous amount of support in the community and way too many things to show off in this town. Our first event consisted of 800 people listening to music, building snow forts, and sliding around on ski-bikes in an urban park. Year 2 lead to even more partnerships and fun.
We called Ohio City home from 2012 through 2015, eventually establishing a festival village that drew up to 20,000 visitors. (See the Plain Dealer’s Writeup: “I can’t wait until next year.”) Brite Winter turned a normal, winter Saturday into one of the most popular and profitable weekends in an already bustling neighborhood.
Last year, we returned back to our roots – back to the Flats. Mother Nature smiled upon us with high temperatures in the 60’s, allowing 20,000 visitors to enjoy music, art, views of Cleveland’s magnificent bridges, and each other.
So… what’s next?
Seven years spanning 3 neighborhoods, hundreds of thousands of guests, hundreds of bands and artists, and temperatures as low as 8 and as high as 66. When we ask, “what’s next,” we really don’t know. But that’s kind of the beauty of Brite Winter – and of Cleveland. We don’t know what hand will be dealt to us on any given day, in any given year. All we can do is reach out, work together, and try to be as prepared as we can to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us.
We are thrilled to be returning to the Flats, a neighborhood also in the midst of a positive transformation. We are changing the way we make decisions about the musicians and artists involved in Brite Winter, asking up to 50 members of the community to help us make programming decisions. We continue to reach out and try to get more individuals and more communities involved in our little winter festival. And more than anything, we wait in wonder with a healthy dose of anxious excitement, looking forward to whatever Cleveland will deal us next.