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Regional Photography

Stuart Pearl

The Golf Course is Closed

A Story of Transformation

September 8th -December 29th, 2019

Reception and Lecture November 17th  1-3pm

Regional Photography Gallery


What happens when a 155 acre golf course closes and the land goes up for sale? Should all that prime real estate be sold to developers for top dollar, or is there a better alternative?

In 2012 shareholders of Acacia Country Club had to make that decision. Their choice determined the future of that beautiful green space in Lyndhurst Ohio for years to come. Located just east of Cleveland, this park like area was already surrounded by dense residential streets, major highways and three busy shopping malls. Home to Euclid Creek it was a critical part of that watershed as it captured and transported water on its way to Lake Erie. Commercial development would only add to the area’s congestion and further stress the ecosystem.

Acacia’s shareholders voted to take the longer “green” view. Their decision would not only preserve the local ecology but help it to thrive well into the future. Working with generous donors and the Conservation Fund, the old Country Club was sold for nearly $2,000,000 less than what developers were willing to pay. The property was then deeded over to the Cleveland Metroparks on December 6, 2012 for restoration efforts with a long range plan to recreate a more natural habitat.


To accomplish this the Metroparks has three main goals for the new Acacia Reservation:

1. Provide a wildlife habitat

2. Filter & treat storm water

3. Provide a unique opportunity for people to enjoy plants and wildlife native to Ohio.

The photographs in this exhibit not only document the restoration efforts at Acacia, they also show its natural beauty.


Back to Nature
Jeanne and Stuart Pearl have been Cleveland Metroparks volunteers for over four decades. In the fall of 2013 they responded to the following job ad:
“An individual volunteer is needed to assist Natural Resources with monitoring Acacia Reservation on a periodic basis. Approximately 40 sampling plots are setup throughout the area that need to be documented visually on a regular basis. Volunteer will be asked to go out and take photos of particular plots on a quarterly basis.”


The goal of this multi-year task is to create an ongoing visual record of the former 18-hole golf course while it transitions back to a more natural state. As Lyndhurst residents living near the park, Jeanne and Stu took on the project. Every Spring, Summer and Fall they navigate to 39 GPS locations across the 155 acre reservation. Four photographs are then taken at each position: North, South, East and West. The 195 images are then processed and compiled for the park’s Natural Resources Staff. The following photographs show how portions of the old golf course are changing. Over time these images will paint a picture of the land as it transitions back to a more natural state.


Stuart Pearl is a local artist and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN) who currently lives in Lyndhurst, OH. He and his wife Jeanne have worked as Cleveland Metroparks volunteers for several decades on a variety of community and nature related activities. The Acacia Restoration Project is one such example. Stuart is active in the art community as Board President of the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve (AAWR) and has also been a lecturer and judge for numerous arts and photography groups in Northeast Ohio. His work has been exhibited in several Ohio museums, the Holden Arboretum and Cleveland Metroparks. Pearl also received “Best-In-Show” in the 2008 Butler Midyear Exhibit. His photographs are included in two books of the Cleveland Museum of
Art and also Landscape Architecture Magazine.


As a fine art and documentary photographer Pearl’s goal is to create pictures with lasting impact that tell a story through the artistry of photography. He carefully times his compositions to capture that special light which creates engaging narratives between image and audience. This enables the viewer to see the surroundings in an entirely different way.


Pearl has contributed photographs to the Cleveland Sight Center, Adoption Network, PBS Station WVIZ/WCPN Ideastream, Metroparks, and the Holden Arboretum. His images are also used in guest rooms at the new Convention Center Hilton Hotel in downtown Cleveland. Current projects include photography for the Cleveland Metroparks handbook on snails and slugs as well as photo documentation of the ongoing Acacia Restoration Project with much help from his wife Jeanne. When not volunteering at the Metroparks they enjoy travel and hiking. Many of his images document the places they have visited.




September 8 - December 29, 2019


The Butler Institute of American Art
524 Wick Ave
Youngstown, Ohio 44502