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Out & About in Cleveland

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Galleries at CSU and Cleveland Stonewall Democrats Meeting

On Thursday, January 15th, we started off at the monthly breakfast meeting of the Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce (HHRC). The guest speaker was Ms. Carolyn Santos who offers high performance communication training that has the power to "bridge cultural diversity, build strong teams, reduce misunderstandings, and increase connection and understanding" to name just a few things. Ms. Santos said that a person doesn't have to change to enroll in one of her programs, he/she only has to "be committed to grow." Ms. Santos and Ms. Angie Pohlman, Executive Director of the HHRC, both took the survey associated with the training and found ways to improve their obviously good relationship even though they have known each other for 22 years! Ms. Pohlman said that she believes that Ms. Santos brings "a wealth of knowledge, insight and fun" to her programs. Ms. Santos has traveled throughout the world and told us that she was familiar with the name of Margaret W. Wong but had never actually met her so we gave her our contact information in case she encounters someone who may need our help on an immigration matter.

Also at the meeting this morning was Ohio State Senator Kenny Yuko who told us that people have been approaching him about immigration matters lately and he has a couple of meetings planned although he wonders what can be done at a state level. Other elected officials who were present were Mayor David Roche of Richmond Heights, Councilwoman Mary Dunbar of Cleveland Heights, and Councilman Marty Gelfand of South Euclid.

We got to meet Ms. Madelon Watts, a friend of Councilman Gelfand, who was there for the first time. She is busy working with a group called "move to amend" which is working to create support for a U.S. constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling regarding amounts of money that can be spent on elections. So far several communities have passed resolutions in support of this.

We also encountered Mr. Michael Wagner and found out that he was also at the East Side Irish American Club for Celtic Comedy Night last Saturday and he enjoyed it as much as we did. We had a good time discussing movies with Ms. Jill Katzenberger because both of us were anxious for find out what films were nominated for the 2015 Academy Awards after this meeting ended.

(Note: we were generally happy about the nominations but were sorry that "Selma" didn't get more and were particularly disappointed that Mr. David Oyelowo wasn't nominated for his portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Our second event for the day took us to the Galleries at CSU on Euclid Avenue because there was an opening of an exhibition featuring three artists, two of which were CSU Professors of Art who are unfortunately now deceased.

In the North Gallery was featured, "Mind Creatures: the Amazing World of Marvin Jones". In his essay about this exhibit, Dr. Russ Revock, Associate Professor of Art at CSU, described the work of the late Dr. Jones, Professor of Printmaking in the Art Department, as "whimsical figures congregating in playful communion and dance spiritedly within the borders of the painted surface." Dr. Revock went on to write that "a distinct essence of independence-for good or bad-flows through Marvin's work. After working in the painterly abstraction that was still permeating art schools and galleries in the late 1960's, he was captivated by the work of Chicago Imagists and the Hairy Who...As his work progressed in the 1980's and 90's, it would be tempting to say his style became more minimal. But again, Marvin loved contradiction. While his figures became stark and geometric or nearly amorphous, his painting technique was complex and meticulous."

In the Center Gallery was featured, "Only Human: Wrestling Entropy" featuring the work of artist, E.D. Taylor. Part of the exhibit was a series of ballpoint pen drawings on sketch paper illustrating the career of entertainer Bobby Darin who we have always admired. Ms. Taylor was there so we talked to her about Bobby Darin for a few minutes.

In the South Gallery was featured, "Place and Vision: The Artistic Legacy of Masumi Hayashi". This was the exhibit that really motivated us to come to this event because we had heard a lot about the late Dr. Hayashi, Professor of Photography in the Art Department. We talked to Dr. George Mauersberger, Professor of Art at CSU, about Dr. Hayashi and he said that "she found beauty in places where most people would not find beauty like abandoned internment camps, nuclear waste sites, and prisons." In his essay about her, Dr. Mauersberger wrote, "in her work and in her life, Masumi Hayashi was committed to social justice. Since she was born in an internment camp, she was dedicated to educating people about prejudice. She did this with her art, going back to photograph the sites of the internment camps and other unusual venues. Her work was recognized as significant, in part because of the awful beauty that she found in places that most people would rather not look at." They were also showing a short film about Dr. Hayashi and her work.

The exhibition runs until March 7, 2015 and we urge people to stop by and experience it like we did.

Our last event for the day was the first meeting of 2015 for the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats which was held at the Clifton Martini and Wine Bar on Clifton Avenue. Tonight elections were held to elect board members for 2015 and one of the candidates, Ms. Anne Sweeney gave a brief but inspiring speech in which she said that she was "thrilled to be a member of the Stonewall Democratic Club" and that she "embraced opportunities that lead to the creation of social justice."

The highlight of the meeting occurred when Mr. Steve Bennett was honored for his nine years of service on the board. Mr. Bennett was not running again this year but he assured us that he would still be around. Mr. Rob Rivera, the club president, praised Mr. Bennett for his contribution to the club over the years. He said that Mr. Bennett was not at all afraid of hard work and enjoyed working on such things as the club constitution and by-laws that "drives us nuts." Mr. John Farina, PAC Treasurer, then presented Mr. Bennett with a specially designed plaque that had the word, "impact" on one side of it that showed how much he had positively affected the club over the years.

After the presentation, we had a long discussion with Mr. Bennett and Mr. Joseph Jacoby, who are both educators, about the problems currently faced by teachers in the public school system. As we were leaving, Mr. Rivera stopped us and told us that he thought it was good that Ms. Margaret W. Wong was so on top of immigration issues.

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