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International Community Day at the Cleveland Museum of Art

On Sunday, October 12th, we tabled for Margaret W. Wong and Associates at the 2nd Annual International Cleveland Community Day held at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The event consisted of about 30 community booths many of whom were heritage displays, over 20 musical acts, tours and workshops. As the printed program said, the day was "a celebration of the rich diversity of Greater Cleveland" that expresses "the continued vitality of the global cultures and arts that enliven our city." Several people stopped by our table to ask us to convey greetings to Ms. Wong including Dr. Michael Krasnyansky, Chairman of the Board of the Cleveland Ballet; Ms. Maura O'Donnell-McCarthy, Executive Director of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs; and Ms. Margaret Douglas of the "College Club" of which Ms. Wong is a member.

Also stopping by to make sure that all was well with our table were Ms. Marjorie Williams, Sr. Director of Endowment Development; Ms. Robin VanLear, Coordinator of Community Art; and Ms. Kim Hall, Event Coordinator all of whom work with the Cleveland Museum of Art and were responsible for the day running as smoothly as it did.

We watched several of the musical acts including our friend Mr. Ken Kovach leading the Greater Cleveland Russian Chorus, the Lebanese Ajyal Folk Dance Group, the Nritya Gitanjai Indian Classical Dancers, and the Greek Hellenic Dancers who performed the famous dance from the movie, "Zorba the Greek".

We got to visit for a while with Ms. Teevi Champa who was working at the Estonian table. Ms. Champa is from Estonia and graduated from High School there in 1988 just before Estonia achieved its independence in 1990. She was then told that all the history that she had learned in school was wrong. In 1998 she journeyed to Italy and took a job at a military base where she met her future husband who was serving in the U.S. Army. When they were married they were told that they were the first Estonian/American Couple married in Italy. In 2000 Ms. Champa immigrated to the United States to be with her husband. She became a citizen in 2013. Now she is a home maker and a substitute teacher in the Painesville schools. She has three children, is very happy, and smiles a lot!

To be sure we saw many of our other friends there including Mr. and Mrs. Pierre and Mary Bejjani, Ms. Sheila Crawford, Mr. Ernie Mihaly, Mr. Romas Bublys, Dr. Anthony Yen along with his wife Josianne and his granddaughter Monique, Ms. Branka Molinar, Ms. Erika Puussaar, Ms. Debbie Hanson, Dr. Maria Pujana (who arranged for us to table there), Ms. Svetlana Stolyarova, Ms. Mary Hamlin, and Dr. Asim Datta.

All told it was a very worthwhile day because we love to take part in community events that make people aware of our office; we loved the musical acts and got to see a lot of old friends. But we really need to mention that, for us, what was really memorable was the three Giant Walking Puppets named the Lafayette Dancer, the Quilted Lady, and Quixotic Quiddity who were created by Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold, and Andre Masson. Whenever we looked up we could see one of them not far from us so we were contstantly in awe of the talent, patience, and imagination that it took to create just one of them, let alone three.

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