P.E.A.C.E. stands for “People Enhancing A Community’s Environment.” The name was inspired by People Enhancing a Child’s Environment, the banner under which parents and other volunteers came together in the 1990s to raise money for and build the playground, which is one of the best-known in Northeast Ohio. The entire site — located in the historic Coventry Village neighborhood and adjacent to the popular Coventry Road retail and restaurant district — has served as a community gathering place for more than a century. Even its history as a center for arts and education goes back decades, thanks to the many teachers and librarians who instilled passions for literature and the visual and performing arts to successive generations of children.
After closing Coventry School in 2007, the school district heeded community input and sought nonprofits that were looking to lease space in a large, versatile building. Ensemble Theater, one of the oldest and most respected theaters in the region, was the first to move in. ARTFUL is the newest and second-largest tenant. When the school district sought to divest itself from the building in 2017, leaving its future uncertain, the leaders of all the tenant organizations and some community supporters came together to propose ways to preserve and grow the thriving culture and service ecosystem that had taken root there. Ultimately, the Heights Library leadership stepped forward and agreed to act as steward of this irreplaceable asset.
Today, the tenants and our advisers continue to plan the short- and long-term future of the now-unified campus. We envision a modern and self-sustaining arts, culture, education and incubation center, and an improved playground and park, open to all and capable of hosting even more community events. With thoughtful, creative placemaking, we believe we can help make Cleveland Heights, “Home to the Arts,” an even more attractive place to live and do business.