Dwight Richardson found Cleveland through his wife and fell in love with both! She told Richardson of her hometown, and together, they decided to raise their family in Cleveland. Shortly after buying their first house here, he became a realtor. 

“I love real estate. I love meeting people and there’s just nothing better than to take somebody that doesn’t think they can afford a home to the bank to get them qualified. It’s just so fun working with first home buyers, because they won’t ever forget you. I remember the very first person that ever sold me a home. That was 30-40 years ago. I love helping people achieve their American dream.”

Richardson doesn’t separate the city from the people that live here. “The City with Spirit to me is just the people,” he said simply. “What got me connected here so much was I got into real estate. We were members of the chamber and that opened up a lot of people. Then I joined the Rotary Club, and of course, that opened up more people that I got to know. That’s just kind of how I took off and came to love Cleveland.”

Through these various opportunities, Richardson reflected upon how he was so deeply connected to his church community as well as the arts.

“I was asked to join the Allied Arts Council at the Chamber. I didn’t know anything about the Arts and Cleveland because everything I did was church related. It blossomed out and the outlet Arts was kind of neat because at that particular time, we had something to tell Evening Shade and it was a downtown festival for a whole month every Friday night in may we met downtown at Johnston Park. I got involved in trying to secure artists for promoting that, and doing that every year drew me into the Arts community, and then I was asked to join to be the president of the Community, and that was fun. I think I was there for three years as president, and so, that got to meet a lot of new people which got me involved in the Arts.”

His love of people and art combines well with Richardson’s spirit for history. He talked about his work “Spirits, Legends, & Lore” as he enjoys taking groups on candlelight journeys as attendees hear stories of history mystery and suspense. The conversation went from one historic story to another with enthusiasm as if captivating an audience of only one. To Richardson, it seems like every road, house and cemetery has a history just waiting to be uncovered.

His community work, arts advocacy, preservation of culture and stories and just pure love of Cleveland make Richardson such a vital member of his community. His work has been recognized as the recipient of the 2023 Robert W. Varnell Jr. Leadership Award. The city of Cleveland has spirit because individuals like Richardson exemplify that community spirit.



Aniela Suit is a junior at Lee University majoring in Public Relations. She served her internship in the Spring 2023 Semester with Tourism Development of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. Her hometown is Johnson City, Tennessee.