Unique ArtCraft Building Home to Artists, Design Businesses and one of Cleveland’s Last Elevator Operators
Located in the historic Superior Arts District of the Campus District is the ArtCraft Building at 2570 Superior Ave. The neighborhood has an interesting history, having been part of Cleveland’s vibrant garment district. Dating back a century, the ArtCraft building was the site of manufacturing of fabric, accessories, and clothing, but now it houses numerous studios and small businesses. When the garment industry changed, many buildings in the district fell into disrepair and were repurposed for other commercial uses. Seeing this change, then-Councilman Joe Cimperman worked to have the Superior Arts District rezoned by the Cleveland Planning Commission as Cleveland ’s first live-work overlay district, created for working artists and other professionals.
The ArtCraft Building has been a working home to artists, architects, photographers and others who appreciate the historic architecture, huge windows, squeaking wooden floors, tall ceilings, and in some cases, the most fabulous views of Lake Erie and stunning sunsets. The staff-operated elevators, 14-foot ceilings, hallways decorated with tenant’s artwork, two annual open studio and art sale dates and a seasonal farmer’s market put the ArtCraft Building in a league of its own.
When a visitor comes to the ArtCraft building to meet with an artist or building tenant they get treated to a ride in one of the last manned elevators in Cleveland. There are two entrances to the building, divided as the West and East sides of the building. For the past 18 years, elevator operator John Huggins has been the west side elevator operator. Monday through Friday Huggins offers a smile and a laugh, if only for a moment, to the people who pass through into his 6 x 8-foot workspace. His favorite floor to hang out and wait for visitors to call for the elevator is the 4th floor. There is a dog named Jenny that greets him and waits for him at the door. When Huggins isn’t helping other, he enjoys going to the E. 71st St. pier to fish in Lake Erie.
Mr. Huggins is somewhat well known because of news media coverage. In 2014 Cleveland Fox 8 News did a cover story and video: “What floor? Every day is a ride for a Northeast Ohio man”
In 2011 FreshWaterCleveland did a story on interesting workspace that included Mr. Huggins.
Be sure to say hello to Mr. Huggins for this year’s 31st annual Holiday Sale on Saturday and Sunday, December 1st & 2nd with over 100 local handmade crafts, art, and more at ArtCraft, Lake Affect Studios, and Tower Press in the Superior Arts District!
A sample of the local artists and other tenants in the ArtCraft Building include
King’s Church (There are two locations: inside of ArtCraft and City of Lakewood)
Heatherlily Floral Design
(Please note this is not a full list)