Artistic by Nature
The mission of BAYarts is to provide a welcoming lakeside environment to stimulate, encourage and support professional and aspiring artists of all ages through collaboration, education and exhibition.
BAYarts campus is within walking distance of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, a frequent collaborator, and Huntington Beach. Nearly one million visitors enjoy the Lake Erie shore on the northern end of the reservation each year.
BAYarts is in the Huntington Reservation in Cleveland Metroparks, located in Bay Village near the border of Cuyahoga and Lorain Counties. The BAYarts campus includes the John Huntington House, the Irene Lawrence Fuller House, the Station House leased by Chatty’s Pizzeria, the former Huntington Playhouse, and an historic caboose. The 100 acre park, known as the Huntington Reservation, was formerly the summer estate of John Huntington, inventor, industrialist and key founder of the Cleveland Art Museum. It was purchased by the Cleveland Metroparks in 1925 and became the home of Baycrafter’s (the predecessor to BAYarts).
In 1948, a group of Bay Village women formed a local arts organization dedicated to stimulating interest in arts and culture in the rapidly growing suburbs in Cleveland’s west side communities. Originally located in two rooms in the basement of Rose Hill Museum, the organization provided quality arts education by the area’s finest instructors. The group also hosted exhibits that provided local artists with the opportunity to showcase and sell their works.
The Station House
As the organization grew, they began to search for a home of their own. In 1962, Baycrafters was able to secure an old Bay Village landmark – the old station house, originally located at the junction of the Nickel Plate railway and Dover Center Road. The Victorian-style train station, built in 1882, was donated to Baycrafters by the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad Co. The Cleveland Metropolitan Park District (as it was known back then) agreed to allow the station house to be moved to the north end of the Huntington Reservation, in between the old Huntington Carriage House (now the Huntington Playhouse) and the Caretakers House. The Station House was moved by truck from its original location to the park, travelling down Dover Center to Lake Road, south on Longbeach Parkway, entering the park via the park entrance at Northfield Road. The Station House is now home to the popular Chatty’s Pizzeria.
The Huntington House
Built late 1800s
This classic bungalow-style house was once home to the caretaker of the John Huntington estate. Built in the late 1800’s, the house is one of the only remaining structures original to the Huntington estate. The Cleveland Metropolitan Park System purchased the estate in 1925 for $500,000 and named it the Huntington Reservation to honor the family legacy. The Huntington House remained a private residence until 1967, when the Baycrafters organization assumed occupancy and designated this space for its gallery exhibitions and additional classroom space.
Today, the Huntington House is home to the BAYarts gift shop, offices, a maker’s space and children’s classrooms. In 2015, a state-of-the-art ceramics studio was added to the building.
The Karen Ryel Center for Ceramics Art and Education
In May of 2015, BAYarts opened a 2,500 square foot addition to the Huntington House. This state-of-the-art ceramics studio features 10 pottery wheels, 4 kilns and a spacious creative workspace. The new addition was named in memory of Karen Ryel, a ceramics artist and member of BAYarts close-knit ceramics community. Today, BAYarts students of all ages and skill levels are now able to enjoy the ancient art of ceramics in a fully modern space.
The Fuller House
Originally built on a high bluff above Lake Erie on the eastern end of Bay Village, the 130-year-old Queen Anne style home was a wedding gift to Irene Lawrence Fuller from her father, industrialist and president of National Carbon Company, Washington H. Lawrence.
In 1948, Dr. Richard Sheppard of the Cleveland Osteopathic Association purchased the Lawrence mansion. The group moved from Cleveland to Bay Village and renovated the mansion into Bay View Hospital, a modern (for its day) 85-bed facility. The Irene Lawrence Fuller House was used as the residence for Dr. Richard Sheppard and his wife. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Richard’s son, Dr. Sam Sheppard returned from California with his new wife Marilyn, to join his father’s practice at Bay View Hospital.
In the early morning of July 4, 1954, Marilyn Sheppard was murdered in the bedroom of their Bay Village home and the saga of the infamous murder case began. One August 2nd, on the front porch of his parent’s home (the Irene Lawrence Fuller House) Dr. Sam Sheppard was arrested for the murder of his wife.
The Bay View Hospital closed its doors in 1981 and developer Bob Corna, purchased the hospital and surrounding land to create a condominium community named Cashelmara (Gaelic for “stone house by the sea”). The Fuller House was set to be demolished to make room for the new development. Former Baycrafter’s Director, Sally Price, led a community effort to save the structure and move it to the Baycrafter’s campus in the Huntington Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. On August 29, 1984, 120-ton Fuller House was transported via barge on a three- and one-half mile journey, an unconventional move that drew international attention. The structure was installed on a new foundation on the Baycrafter’s campus, where the house sat vacant for many years.
New management in 2006, brought a fresh new creative vibe to the campus. Baycrafter’s was rebranded to BAYarts and fundraising efforts began to bring much-needed renovations to the now famous (and infamous) Fuller House.
In 2008, BAYarts was awarded a grant from the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission. That grant, combined with financial assistance from the Cleveland Metroparks and funds raised through a capital campaign, enabled BAYarts to begin renovations in April of 2009. The renovated building opened to the public in October of 2010.
Today, the Fuller House is the centerpiece of Bayarts’ campus. This Victorian gem with a storied past has found new purpose and is brimming with life. The interior is home to classrooms, office space and the esteemed Sullivan Family Gallery. Outside, the wraparound porch and surrounding gardens welcome patrons and visitors alike.
The Former Playhouse
The Huntington Playhouse was established in 1958 and sits on the site of John Huntington’s carriage house. It started as a small summer theater and grew into a place with a 240-seat auditorium. The Playhouse had its last season in 2015. In the summer of 2017 BAYarts began working to clean out the venue. The goal of BAYarts is to renovate the former Playhouse, so it can be used on the Arts campus for classrooms and events.
Beginning in 2005, a volunteer-driven revitalization campaign led to the renovation of the historical campus buildings and grounds and new construction over the past 17 years. In 2006, the name was changed to BAYarts to reflect the fresh programming and revitalized organization.
With over 65,000 visitors each year, BAYarts has become a premier west side cultural destination.
Our gardens are created and maintained with help from BAYarts volunteers, Maple Leaf Landscaping and The Rock Pile.