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Out & About in Cleveland

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CSU Galleries and Plexus

On Thursday, August 28th, we attended the opening of a new exhibition at The Galleries at CSU called "At Home in Africa-Design, Beauty and Pleasing Irregularity in Domestic Settings". As the website for the Galleries states, this "is an exhibition that features the inspirational and creative design, pattern and form found in a variety of traditional handcrafted objects from African homes of the past 130 years, covering 70 different ethnic groups from 30 countries". Briefly speaking at this event was Professor Gregory M. Sadlek, founding Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Cleveland State University, who said that this exhibit was "about what is human and what humans make with their hands" and that these artifacts represent cultures and the cultures of Africa are very rich, indeed.

Also speaking tonight was Professor Kathy Curnow, the curator of the exhibition, who holds Ph.D. in Art History and African Studies, for whom this project has special meaning because she taught in Nigeria from 1983 to 1988 and owned her first permanent home there. Moreover, she said Nigeria is "still home to me". Professor Curnow reminded the attendees that CSU is celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Black Studies is celebrating its 45th anniversary, and many of the artifacts in this exhibit are 40-45 years old.

We spoke to Ms. Janet Purdy, a graduate student who is the assistant curator of the exhibition, who told us that it is very unusual for large pottery to survive for 40 years which was part of the reason that Professor Curnow chose to do this exhibition; to showcase these delicate, precious artifacts so that the public could have the opportunity to see them.

We got to say hello to Mr. Robert Thurmer, Director/Chief Curator of The Galleries at CSU who was thanked by both Professor Sadlek and Professor Curnow for his dedication and hard work. While we were enjoying delicious appetizers we talked to Ms. Jane McCrone, Development and Alumni Relations Associate of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, who told us that she really admires Ms. Wong for her service on the College of Urban Affairs Advisory Committee with Mr. David Sweet. Ms. McCrone told us to be sure to say hello to Ms. Wong.

And then there were Mr. Mamadou Gningue and Mr. Mamadou Tounkara, the talented drummers who played in the entrance of the Galleries and established the proper ambiance to view the exhibition. In fact, we parked our carsur cars at the same time and walked into the Galleries together. We found out that they both immigrated to the United States from Africa and are both permanent residents of the United States but they still asked for our contact information; hopefully Margaret W. Wong and Associates will get to hear from these gifted people.

Our last event for the day was the a Plexus (the LGBT Chamber of Commerce) gathering at Shula 2's Steak and Sports on Quarry Lane in Independence.

Its purpose was for networking, renewing old acquaintenances, and to hear about upcoming activities. Board member Todd Lloyd told us that the three main goals that Plexus was focusing on were identifying LGBT businesses, helping businesses grow more diverse, and helping businesses gain a better understanding of the LGBT market.

Among the people we visited with were Mr. Kevin Moore, Managing Director of the Cleveland Playhouse who says that Margaret Wong is "a really nice lady" and Ms. Maya Simek, the new Program Director of the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland on Detroit Avenue. And we always like to talk to our friend the Reverend Allen Harris of the Franklin Circle Christian Church.

We spent a lot of time discussing the Gay Games and everyone seemed to agree that they were a big success. What's more, it will probably take several months before we know for sure, but it is believed that the Gay Games generated $40 million worth of business for the Northeast Ohio area!

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