Hosted by Canalway Partners and presented by Kichler Lighting, the Towpath Trail Lantern Parade brought 350 people to Tremont on March 9 to celebrate light, creativity and sustainability while welcoming spring to the banks of the Cuyahoga River. The parade includes a 1.6 mile round-trip walk along the Towpath Trail.

The event featured seven local artists who displayed custom lanterns made from repurposed materials. The artists displayed their work before and after the parade and engaged with community members by handing out Judge’s Choice Award ribbons to lanterns they loved or were inspired by.


Prior to the event, two free lantern-making workshops were held at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Community Arts Center in Tremont where an estimated 250 people came together to create lanterns out of recycled jars and other repurposed materials.

The Towpath Trail Lantern Parade and the free workshops is supported in part by Joann and the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

Lanterns by 2024 Featured Artists

“The Greenman” By The Rabbit Hole Art Fanatics, including Jane Baum, Bob Bucklew and Chris Rander

Artists’ Description: Found in many European cultures and adorning numerous churches and cathedrals, the Greenman is an archetypal figure representing spring, re-birth and lushness in the natural world. We are delighted to greet the upcoming spring with our neighbors by bringing the spirit of the Greenman to the shores of the Cuyahoga River. Our Greenman lantern pole is preceded by a lantern pole representing the seasons of fall and winter with their subdued oranges and browns, and is succeeded by a third representing the glorious colors and growth of spring and summer.

“Omnipresence” By Suhaylah The Artist

Artist’s Description: Lanterns often symbolize hope and safe passage for Black people, due to the over idealized story of the work Harriet Tubman did in helping free slaves through the Underground Railroad. However, like most Black stories in American society, lanterns have been washed of their dark history to pacify the masses of the truth. In the 18th-century, a legal code mandated that Black, mixed-race, and Indigenous people carry candle lanterns while walking in the streets after dark and not in the company of a white person so that they could easily be identified as slaves.

In modern day, this same tactic is used by over exposing Black and Brown communities, almost two times that of their White counterparts, to light pollution and environmental health disparities in their neighborhoods. You can see this by analyzing an abundance of streetlights and surveillance cameras on every corner of predominantly Black neighborhoods, emergency lights flashing until the early hours of the morning, and the usage of blinding flood lights left on all night, pointed directly at public housing projects’ windows. This act of militarization of high-intensity artificial lights is what gave rise to the stop-and-frisk policing practices, which now fall under the name of a new strategy dubbed “omnipresence.”

My lantern, which is made of a recycled water jug, computer paper, jute twine, and tree branches – is meant to highlight this dark history while juxtaposing it with the light that Black innovators have shed on society through their creativity and inventions. Omnipresence is meant to showcase prominent Black figures from Ohio who contributed to the civilization that we have today.

“Light as a Feather” By Dina Hoeynck

Artist’s Description: My lantern depicts images from a Northeast Ohio springtime, showing two species of migratory warbler that can be seen around our lakes and rivers as they travel upward from their tropical winter homes to their Northern summer breeding range (reference photo credit Michelle Brosius). The top and bottom of the lantern are adorned with images of our native spring ephemerals Trout Lily and Spring Beauty. The illustrations on the lantern were drawn digitally then cut on vinyl sheets using a shared cricut machine at my local library. The lantern itself is constructed of repurposed coroplast sheeting.

“Earth Prism” By Jacob Liptow

Artist’s Description: The lantern is made of an amorphic bamboo frame held together with twine. The shape can be seen as a geometric abstraction of earthen forms through the use of natural materials.

“Moths to the Flame” By Shannon Timura

Artist’s Description: “To live will be an awfully big adventure.” JM Barrie, Peter Pan. The piece is designed to remind you to LIVE FULLY each day. Follow your interests like a moth to the flame. No one is getting out of here alive.

“Trout Lily” By Linda McConaughy

Artist’s Description: I made a giant Trout Lily, a plant native to Ohio that blooms in early spring. Trout Lilies are miniature yellow lilies that grow in woodlands and around stream beds. I remember Trout Lilies dotting the ground in the woods next to my house growing up on the west side of Cleveland. My lantern version is made of single-use plastic bags over a frame of basket reed. I used heat to laminate the plastic, then cut it into strips and stitched them together into petal and leaf shapes. I hand-stitched the plastic petals and leaves onto reed frames. I used PVC pipe (procured from the crew replacing the gas line on my street) to create the anthers and stigma of the flower, as well as the flower stem.

“Lake Erie Monstress” By Susie Underwood

Artist’s Description: What happens to all the junk and debris that ends up on the bottom of Lake Erie? With a little magic + some toxic sludge, a new creature will rise from the depths! (Watch out, she loves to snack on toes.)

Thank you to everyone who attended!

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