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The 2015 Cleveland Cultural Garden Installation Dinner

Our other event on Tuesday was the 2015 Cleveland Cultural Garden Installation Dinner in which the 99th birthday of the Gardens was celebrated. In fact, it was on that very day; April 14th, 1916; that the Shakespeare Garden was dedicated. Tonight's dinner was organized by the Russian Cultural Garden on behalf of all of the gardens. Ms. Svetlana Stolyarova and Dr. Boris Vinogradsky welcomed us all and introduced a slide show showing the accomplishments of notable people who were either Russian or of Russian descent.

Entertainment was in the form of several talented dancers from Cleveland Ballet Youth Company. Dr. Michael Krasnyansky, President of the Board, introduced the young dancers and invited us all to a performance on Friday, April 17th, at the Ohio Theatre in Playhouse Square.

We must say that the dinner committee consisting of Ms. Stolyarova, Mr. Richard Crepage, Mr. Mary Hamlin and Ms. Debbie Hanson did a fine job because the food was very good (as vegetarians we particularly loved the salads) and the evening had the right balance between seriousness and fun.

One thing that we are happy was repeated throughout the evening was as Ms. Sheila Crawford, President of the Cultural Gardens, said, "we honor those who serve all of the gardens, not just our own." Ms. Crawford (and the other speakers) urged everyone to get involved in One World Day coming up on August 23rd and the 100 year anniversary of the Cultural Gardens in 2016. "There are many projects," said Ms. Crawford, "but just a few working them won't help." She went on to say that the individual gardens must plan activities for these upcoming events that are "unique to their garden and to their heritage." Above all, as Ms. Crawford firmly stated, the youth must become involved for the sake of "prosperity and the future." Someday the Cultural Gardens will be bequeathed to them.

We shared a table with Mr. Paul Burik, Vice President of the Cultural Gardens; Ms. Mary Hamlin of the British Garden; and Mr. Ernie Mihaly of the Hungarian Garden. Also at our table were two people who were involved in the making of a short film titled "Hidden in Plain Sight" which told the history of the Cultural Gardens which was screened for all of us later in the evening. These people were Mr. Luke Frazier, narrator and writer, and Mr. Travis Pollert, the producer. Both of them loved movies so we had a good time visiting with them. When they introduced their film, Mr. Frazier said that "this is about standing here today and reaching out to the past so we can understand where we come from." As we should never forget, the Cleveland Cultural Gardens brought together the peoples who had immigrated to Cleveland from all over the world.

Indeed retired Judge Diane Karpinski, who inaugurated the officers, couldn't have been more right when she said that the Cultural Gardens "exemplify oneness of purpose linking all cultures of the world." Those to serve on the executive board will be Mr. George Terbach, Mr. Carl S. Ewing, Ms. Svetlana Stolyarova, and Ms. Dozia Krislaty. Two people chosen as chairpersons were Mr. Dan Hanson and Ms. Debbie Hanson and County Councilperson Yvonne Conwell will be the community representative for the Cultural Gardens.

Towards the end of the evening, Mr. Ken Kovach and Mr. Johnny Wu were introduced as the organizers of One World Day 2015. They introduced the team that will be assisting them and said that this year the Gardens, themselves, will be in the forefront of the celebration and not just the backdrop for the festival which might have been the case in other years. Moreover, they want this celebration to be a "stepping stone" for the one in 2016.

The evening ended on an upbeat note as Mr. Carl S. Ewing got up and declared that after 37 years the African-American Garden will finally have its groundbreaking on May 1st, 2015 and phase one should be completed by the end of the year.

Sounds to us like a great kickoff point for 2016!

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