Team, Mission, History
To embrace the Cleveland winter by celebrating with light, fire, art, music, games, and snow.
Our vision is to contribute to the Cleveland cultural landscape with a free/low cost, and accessible event in the winter time; an event where anyone can experience winter 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 main downtown and around programming between New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day and a showcase for Northeastern Ohio’s artists, musicians, and creative culture.
Additionally, we feel strongly that Brite Winter continues to engage younger Clevelanders, including graduate, professional, and undergraduate populations to contribute to the vitality of the city. The festival has the potential to become a national event, and as it grows we hope that the event maintains the young professional demographic as its core audience.
Once upon a time, a couple of friends were sharing a pitcher on a patio outside at the end of the summer. Conversation turned to two things: what can younger professionals 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 couldn’t come up with a better idea than to have a winter festival. 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. We ended up with 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. Year’s 3+4 led to a change of venue in Ohio City and an
explosion of the festival attendance.
We had 20,000 people around Ohio City for hours on end, crowding vacant lots and overflowing bars and restaurants (see the Plain Dealer’s Writeup: “I can’t wait until next year.”). Year 5 finds us working with more businesses and more partners in Ohio City and around the rest of Cleveland. And now it’s a tradition of sorts. Huh, funny how that happened.
Our young little festival keeps growing and changing, but some things will always remain the same. We are about winter. Not avoiding it or running from it, but running to it, bundled arms open wide. We are about fun. Not watching other people have fun, but actually having it in the middle of a season that is generally avoided. We are about celebrating the fantastic art, music, and general amazingness of our city. And we are thrifty. We work hard to do all of this on a budget with entirely volunteers, so we can keep it free for all of you. As we grow and develop, these parts of our history won’t change.
Emily Hornack – Co-Founder, Chair of the Board, Acting Executive Director
Emily is a founding member of the Brite Winter team. She was born and raised in Cleveland, left for a while, then came back home to stay. She’s a graduate of Case Western Reserve University and works at MetroHealth.
Jimmy Harris – Co-Founder, Vice President of the Board
Jimmy is a founding member of the Brite Winter team and Graduate of Case Western Reserve University.
Donald Bulea – Secretary
Doni is an attorney around town, and he has been a volunteer at Brite every year. He joined the Brite Winter team in 2012 to make sure that we have all our i’s and t’s, dotted and crossed.
Julie Scholle – Treasurer
Julie works at a local Fortune 500 company and raises her young family in Ohio City. She is also a fan of punk music. She joined the Brite Winter team in 2012 to lend some left-brained accounting skills to our generally right-brained group.
Thomas Fox – Program Director
Thomas joined the Brite Winter Team in 2011 to manage marketing and PR. He’s a John Carroll University graduate, Cleveland native, and owner of BAD RACKET Recording Studio in Ohio City.
CeYo at the YoYo Syndicate, Aaron’s company is a “manufacturer of on demand creative spaces and events.” Aaron has been a vital part of Brite since 2011, and is this year’s force in graphic design.
Mark works in marketing at the a href=”http://www.cia.edu/” target=”_blank”>Cleveland Institute of Art, and has been instrumental in creating stronger ties between Brite Winter and CIA.
Mike is a faculty member at the Cleveland Institute of Art, He is assisting, curating and contributing to the Brite Winter arts programming in 2012.
Erin works in fundraising with the Cleveland Museum of Art. She is big city swagger meets Midwestern girl next door.
Jesse is part of the Brite Winter music planning team and has brought together artists for several independent music festivals, benefiting the anonymous relief mission and the Weapons of Mass Creation Fest.
Robin Van Lear
Robin is the community arts director at the Cleveland Museum of Art, she leads the way for the direction of Brite Winter artistic lighting installations, and generally serves to keep us sane.
Jeff has been our liaison at Ohio City Inc since 2011, We could not create Brite Winter Festival without him or his organization. He helps Brite connect with the neighborhood to make Brite the best it can in Ohio City.
Casey is a man about town. He’s got a sunny disposition, so at least he’s got that going for him, which is nice. Actually I just put random things in here to see if he ever notices. Which he often does, he’s good like that, but I digress. You can’t get more pro-Cleveland than Casey, just ask him. Which is lucky for us because he is a key member of the Brite Fundraising Committee and making sure Brite reflects the best in Cleveland.