#CMAChalkFestival Social Distancing Style: Cleveland Museum of Art's Virtual Chalk Festival 2020

Cleveland Museum of Art's Virtual Chalk Festival 2020 #CMAChalkFestival

In 2019, I wrote that it was a special year, since it was the 30th year of the Cleveland Museum of Art's Chalk Festival. As the coronavirus crisis raged on over the summer of 2020, I wondered if the 31st anniversary of this wonderful event would need to be canceled as we entered September.

On September 1, 2020, I saw the Twitter announcement "Cleveland Museum of Art’s Chalk Festival goes virtual," stating that the event would take place with people sharing their art only on social media on Saturday, September 12, 2020, and Sunday, September 13, 2020.

It is now with mixed feelings that I gather the #CMAChalkFestival drawings for this blog post about the Cleveland Museum of Art's 2020 Virtual Chalk Festival: Love Your Community with All Your Art. While it is very sad that everyone could not get together this year, I am very pleased that the museum encouraged people to share their chalk drawings on social media.

I am glad to continue my annual tradition of creating a blog post with photos from the Cleveland Museum of Art's Chalk Festival.

Blog Date

Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge 2020: Part One (First Ten)

 Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge presented by Cigna

Take the challenge!

In 2017, we wrote our blog post: Cleveland Metroparks Inaugural Trail Challenge!

. . . so when we saw the Cleveland Metroparks tweet to "Take the challenge!" in 2020, with 25 trails to choose from, we decided to accept.

With COVID-19 closing venues we normally frequent, and having to cancel the backpacking trips that Stuart had planned on the Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail, we have been exploring many parks in Northeast Ohio and along the route of the Buckeye Trail. We have written about many of our park visits in the Social Distancing Blog Posts that we have been writing during the pandemic.

There were originally 25 trails to choose from for the challenge. During the time we were writing this blog post, we learned that the park updated the list to now include 35 trails!

What follows is information about the first ten challenge trails we have completed.

Blog Date

#Masks4Community - Social Distancing While Volunteering

Shanelle Smith Whigham's photo of Saturday, June 27, 2020, Volunteers

We were pleased when Fox 8 News Producer Rachel Inch approached us to use some of our Facebook photos for their 6:00 pm news story on #Masks4Community on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Her request made us think about sharing the story of the great work done by the #Masks4Community leaders, partners, donors, and volunteers in one of our "Social Distancing Series" blog posts.

We first learned about #Masks4Community's good work because our @sos_jr twitter account follows (and retweets) @ShanelleLSmith. In addition to #Masks4Community's website --, we also learned more about the program from Steven Litt's article.

In addition to giving out FREE masks, #Masks4Community distributes information about voting and the census in the kits. We are BIG believers in the importance of voting, and know how the census directly impacts the way services are provided in our community. Therefore, we were excited to learn that the #Masks4Community program also supports our belief in the importance of people fulfilling their civic duty!

We signed up to volunteer once a week, starting with the morning shift on Saturday, June 27th. We were not only impressed by the mission of the organization, but also how clearly they spelled out that they followed safety measures for those volunteering (everyone wears masks, washes hands, practices social distancing, and the number of volunteers is limited). We only volunteered because these safety measures are in place.

Shanelle Smith Whigham's photo of Julie and Stuart at #Masks4Community July 11, 2020, Julie and Stuart at #Masks4Community

Blog Date

Social Distancing: Cleveland Museum of Art Reopening - #WelcomeBackCMA

Cleveland Museum of Art Reopening - #WelcomeBackCMA

O - p - e - n - i - n - g - !

Yes, Ohio is slowly opening in the year of the coronavirus crisis, but can only do so with social distancing and other safety measures. As we approached the end of June, we heard that the Cleveland Museum of Art was reopening following "rigorous safety procedures that adhere to the guidance set forth by state and local officials, as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)."

We decided to make this our first adventure out to a public space by getting tickets, but the day before we were going to order our online tickets, we received an invitation from Communications and Media Relations Manager Kelley Notaro Schreiber to the Cleveland Museum of Art's Reopening Media and Influencer Welcome Back! We accepted her invitation and decided to be one of the first to go to the public reopening of the Cleveland Museum of Art on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

There is much happening both onsite in the museum galleries and online at the Cleveland Museum of Art. While the online resources are extensive, we do have to say that the absolute best way to truly enjoy the museum's art is in person, visiting its galleries! Thus, we were very excited to attend the Cleveland Museum of Art's #WelcomeBackCMA reopening!

Blog Date

Social Distancing Park Visits - June 2020

Social Distancing Park Visits - June 2020

After writing three social distancing blog posts about visiting our local parks during the coronavirus crisis, we really did not plan to write anymore blog posts on this subject. However, we have been having such a great time exploring parks that we had not visited before, and revisiting old favorites, that we decided to gather tweets from park visits in June 2020, to create this blog post.

This blog post accomplishes two things that are important to us.

Please note that we have attended many more parks in June 2020 than those included in this blog post. Beyond what we include here, Stuart has been doing section hikes on the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" (the Buckeye Trail Little Loop is over 250 miles long in Northeast Ohio), and we have done eleven additional hikes as part of the Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge 2020. We plan to write blog posts about these trail activities when we complete them.

Blog Date

Social Distancing with Park Walks & Online Life

Julie demonstrates -- "Do your part! Stay 6 feet apart! Please help us to keep our parks open!"

Looking for humor and creativity on the Twitterverse, and visiting parks while social distancing is what my life mainly consists of currently. There is also a lot of sadness about plans being canceled, but my family has been fortunate to have had no illness or death. I try to support those that I see online that are making a difference in our community.

While no day of COVID-19 social distancing is the same, the typical day often contains the following elements: 

In this blog post, I share my experience visiting local parks, and my online life during these coronavirus crisis times.

Blog Date

Peaceful Parks While Social Distancing

 Canada Goose in Cleveland Metroparks on March 20, 2020

This blog post will share how we used our fantastic, local parks to deal with coronavirus-related stress starting, on Monday, March 16, 2020. An important part of health is mental health -- go for a walk for both physical and mental health!

We include information in this blog post about using the parks safely during this crisis, and resources to learn more about local parks. We have also included tweets about local restaurants from which we got food "to-go," on our way to or from the parks. It is important to support local business where possible at this time.

We want to thank our local park systems for their work to provide a safe place to explore.

Safe Practices When Visiting Cleveland Metroparks During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Blog Date

Fire, Art, Music, Games! Mid-Winter Outdoor Fun at Cleveland Brite Winter 2020! #Brite2020

Cleveland Brite Winter 2020! #Brite2020

Winter in Cleveland -- a great time for an outdoor party in The Flats!

For the eleventh consecutive year, thanks to the Brite Winter Leadership Team and Sponsors, on Saturday, February 22, 2020, we joined tens of thousands of people laughing at the Cleveland cold by attending this annual outdoor celebration!

Here are our @sos_jr tweets and retweets with photos/videos from Brite Winter, along with videos we found on YouTube. We share this to encourage you to attend future Brite Winter events, and to thank the people that make it possible. We are very lucky in Cleveland to have Brite Winter!

Blog Date

Celebrating International PechaKucha Day at PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 36!!

PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 36

February 20th, 2020, marked PechaKucha 20x20's first annual International PechaKucha Day. I was VERY fortunate to celebrate by attending Cleveland's own PechaKucha Night Cleveland at the Music Box Supper Club!!

I always enjoy attending PechaKucha Night Cleveland and PechaKucha Night Akron events, but this night ended up being special. I arrived at Music Box Supper Club after a very busy afternoon that left my energy low on this Thursday night. I ended up leaving PechaKucha Night Cleveland with a natural high. The creativity of the presenters energized me and made my week!

You should plan on attending future events with friends with whom you want to share the experience that is PechaKucha Night Cleveland!

2020 International PechaKucha Day! #ipk2020

Blog Date

Opening and Return Visit to: "PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet"

PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet

On February 7, 2020, we attended the PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet opening at the Cleveland Museum of Art. This opening coincided with the #MIXatCMA party that we enjoy attending the first Friday of most months. There was so much to see at the exhibition that we returned to see more the following weekend (Sunday, February 16, 2020).

We enjoyed the PROOF opening so much that we wanted to share it with our son, Michael Smith, on our return visit. We wanted to show him the items we enjoyed on our first visit, and to see the photographs that we did not have time to see. PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet is the type of exhibition that warrants more than one visit.

Julie and Stuart at the opening for "PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet"

Blog Date