Brite Winter Looks Even Brite-r in 2015

Now the rest of the nation knows about Cleveland too! (see Fodor’s and Travel and Leisure for their top places to visit in 2015)

Six years ago, we knew this too, but we had a hard time seeing it during the winter. So, we had an idea.  One that we believed in, but one that we thought was just crazy enough to work: a music festival during the Cleveland winter. The light, fire, music and fun was born: BRITEness.

This year’s Brite Winter will be awesome-er-er-er. Yes, we did just create a new word. Why did we need a new word to describe everything that’s been happening and its impact on the festival? Here’s why:

We hired our first Executive Director. Emily had served as Interim Executive Director for years, but we needed some director firepower and energy to take Brite to the next level. This came via the expertise of Brian Horsburgh. Brian has worked with the Cleveland Sports Commission and other big event-makers in town. He brings a wealth of experience to the table as our new ED.

Our music programming is lead by Justin Markert, of Cellar Door, voted Best Music Promoter in Cleveland. Justin has worked closely with the Board to increase the music budget by 50% and pay musicians more equitably. We have kept our beloved punk stage and are introducing hip-hop to Brite this year. Our music line-up is 99% finalized, and we are really psyched to release it to you in early January.  Watch for it!

Like everything else, visual arts received a major improvement this year. We have hired Emily Appelbaum, who has worked with public art giants in the San Francisco Bay Area, Burning Man, and LAND Studio. This is a person with a vision and a mission, and we are letting her run wild.

We have also added amazing new board leadership. After years of serving as a volunteer and board member, Doni Bulea’s expertise and dedication are being applied to his role as chair of the board. Jennifer Thomas is a non-profit and consulting heavyweight (also a pretty sweet guitarist and bassist herself.) In addition to being an awfully nice guy, Todd Sheppard is a marketing professional who helps us communicate with all of YOU much more effectively. Lauren Kotmel is a development professional and is extremely well networked in the arts community here.  The Development Committee has rocked out by getting us support from grant-makers such as Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, Ohio Arts Council, and The George Gund Foundation.

More people are involved in Brite than ever before, and we are excited for all the team players that are working hard to improve Cleveland for everyone’s sake. If you want to get involved, please contact us at  All are welcome at this table.

It is officially winter, and there is much to anticipate from Brite this year. Watch for interviews with our musicians, art workshops, and our video series, previewing all that is to come on February 21st in Ohio City.

Happy Holidays, everyone.  May your days be merry and BRITE.

Emily & Jimmy