CrossCountry Mortgage Announces April Bleakney as Paint the District Competition Winner

14, November, 2023

Cleveland, Ohio, November 14, 2023 – Artist April (Ape) Bleakney has been selected as the $5,000 grand prize winner of CrossCountry Mortgage’s (CCM) “Paint the District” competition. The competition awards one area artist the opportunity to create artwork for permanent display in CCM’s 168,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in the Superior Arts District of Cleveland. The contest celebrated the artistic spirit of the historic district and company’s role as a member of the community.

CrossCountry Mortgage announces Cleveland, OH artist, April Bleakney, as the winner of the Paint the District Competition The Paint the District mural titled “Superior Avenue” inside of the CrossCountry Mortgage headquarters in Cleveland, OH

“We’re thrilled to announce April as our Paint the District competition grand prize winner,” said Laura Soave, chief brand officer. “Having lived near the CrossCountry Mortgage Corporate Headquarters, April’s passion for the neighborhood is truly reflected in her work. We love the flavor and history her art exhibits, which aligns perfectly with our vision, mission, and values here at CCM.”

Bleakney’s art, titled “Superior Ave.” was installed in CrossCountry Mortgage’s Corporate Headquarters on Monday, November 13.

With the help of Cleveland Public Library, Map Collections, and personal historic imagery, Bleakney pulled photographs from the Superior Arts District neighborhood dating back to 2009.

In the early 20th century, Cleveland’s Garment District was one of the largest in the country, second to New York City. Bleakney created the original piece of art on fabric and incorporated hand sewn elements stitched into the artwork to honor the history of the area. To make the piece of art fit on CCM’s wall, she scanned and enlarged the art to be installed on a 30 feet wide vinyl wrap.

The artwork also includes historic maps of the area, photos of nearby homes, streets, transportation, and businesses, and nods to the restaurants, stores, and culture of AsiaTown.

“This artwork is really my love letter to the neighborhood,” Bleakney said. “My first live-work space when I moved to Cleveland from Kent was right next door in the Heller Building at East 22nd and Superior. I always found it special to be living and printing my clothing line in a building with history, once housing female textile workers. This pocket of Cleveland is rich in spirit and forever holds a special place in my heart. It was an honor to create this piece, to blend my personal history with a larger view of the past.”

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.

In addition to Bleakney winning the $5,000 grand prize, CCM awarded the three other Paint the District finalists Scott Goss, Michael Weiss, and Pam Spremulli a $1,500 prize.

CrossCountry Mortgage (CCM) is the nation's number three retail mortgage lender, with more than 7,000 employees operating over 800 branches across all 50 states. Our company has been recognized ten 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 120 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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