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Cleveland’s April Bleakney Selected as Round 3 Winner in CrossCountry Mortgage ‘Paint the District’ Competition

Cleveland-based graphic artist advances to final round in yearlong competition, wins $1,500 award

Bleakley's artwork titled The Fortunes Headshot of Round 3 Winner April Bleakley

Cleveland, Ohio, April 28, 2022…Online voters have selected April (Ape) Bleakney, a Cleveland-based graphic artist specializing in screen printing, as the winner of Round 3 in the CrossCountry Mortgage (CCM) “Paint the District” competition. The yearlong competition – concluding this summer – will award one local artist the opportunity to create a work for permanent display in CCM’s new corporate headquarters in Cleveland’s Superior Arts District.

“We’re excited to welcome April to the finalist round of our Paint the District arts competition while we enter round 4 of voting in our Paint the District contest,” said Laura Soave, chief brand officer, CrossCountry Mortgage. “It’s also exciting to look ahead a few months to when we’ll name the winner of the contest and welcome their talents to our new corporate headquarters in the Superior Arts District.”

Bleakney, along with two other Cleveland artists Scott Goss (round 1 finalist) and Pam Spremulli (round 2 finalist) plus a fourth additional artist to be selected during the current voting round will advance to the grand-prize round. The finalists from each round receive a $1,500 award from CCM and the grand-prize winner will receive $5,000 as well as funds to cover materials and installation of their work in CCM’s new headquarters in the Superior Arts District. CCM will move to the new, 168,000-square-foot campus later this year.

Bleakney launched her one-woman creative business, “APE MADE” in 2011. She works primarily as a screen printer and utilizes only eco-friendly, hand-printing techniques. She has completed residencies in Chile and Scotland and created multiple public art and commissioned pieces. She is a graduate of Kent State University.

Her submission for round 3 of the “Paint the District” competition – “The Fortunes” – depicts a stylized image of an elephant inspired by Peter Ho Davies’ book of the same name. Originally created as a nine-layer screen print, the piece was digitally wrapped on Cleveland’s RTA Red Line trains, as part of the InterUrban project in conjunction with The Cleveland Foundation’s Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards.

To learn more about the mural competition, please visit The Paint the District competition is part of CCM’s larger commitment to supporting the Cleveland arts community and the Superior Arts District. CCM is a lead sponsor for the FRONT International 2022 Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, which will bring work from over 70 world-class artists to over 20 venues across Northeast Ohio. CCM will present the FRONT 2022 opening gala on July 14, which will feature a performance by internationally recognized experimentalist musician and performer Taja Cheek, who records under the name L’Rain. For more information about CrossCountry Mortgage, visit


CrossCountry Mortgage (CCM) is one of the nation’s largest retail mortgage lenders, with more than 8,000 employees operating more than 600 branches across all 50 states. Our company has been recognized eight times on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest growing private businesses and has received many awards for our standout culture. We offer more than 100 mortgage, refinance and home equity solutions – ranging from conventional and jumbo mortgages to government-insured programs for Veterans and rural homebuyers – and we are a direct lender and approved seller and servicer by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae. Through our dedication to getting it done, we make every mortgage feel like a win. Visit

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