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Out & About in Cleveland

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Women to Watch-Ohio

On Tuesday, March 31st, we only had one event to attend but it the opening reception for the art exhibition "Women to Watch-Ohio" at the Reinberger Galleries of the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) was a very good one to go to because we got to see some beautiful works by five excellent female artists and hear a very powerful, informative lecture by Ms. Susan Fisher Sterling, Director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C. Ms. Fisher Sterling made an excellent case for the need for more assertive action regarding the showcasing of the work of women artists because their work only takes up 16% of the space in contemporary art galleries due to the network largely composed of men who make the determinations as to what to show. We learned all about the NMWA which was opened 1987 and is devoted to displaying the work of talented female artists. Its popularity has certainly increased over the years; in 1987 there were 500 pieces of art on exhibit and now there are 4,000.

We talked to Ms. Harriet Warm of the Ohio Advisory Group of NMWA who told us that "Women to Watch-Ohio" is one of 22 exhibitions in the "Women to Watch" series which are taking place in different parts of the United States and in other countries. Out of all of the art on display, 14 pieces have been selected to be part of an exhibit at the NMWA in Washington, D.C. in June, 2015. The artists whose work was on display at the CIA all live in Cleveland now and they are Ms. Christi Birchfield (a Cleveland native), Ms. Hildur Asgeirsdottir Jonsson (who actually divides her time between Cleveland and Reykjavik, Iceland), Ms. Mimi Kato (who immigrated to the United States from Japan), Ms. Eva Kwong (who immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong), and Ms. Lauren Yeager (initially from Nashville, TN). One of Ms. Kato's paintings has been deservedly selected to be shown in the Washington, D.C. exhibition.

We talked for a few minutes to Ms. Kwong about the need for advocacy for Asian artists and we really enjoyed meeting her good friend, Ms. Annika Entlo who immigrated here from Sweden in 1990. An accomplished singer and voice coach/instructor, Ms. Entlo taught for many years at the University of Akron and agrees with what her friend and other people were saying tonight about the need for opportunities to display the works of artists who are women. Fortunately, this does not seem to be true regarding the Cleveland Museum of Art which Ms. Fisher Sterling said had been very good about exhibiting the work of women as well as the Cleveland Institute of Art. We talked for a moment to Mr. Bruce Checefsky, Director of the Reinberger Galleries, who was indeed sympathetic to what was being said and pointed out that a large percentage of their recent art exhibitions have devoted to women.

Before we left, we talked for a minute to Ms. Becky Dunn. It turned out that she is the widow of Mr. George Dunn, the general counsel of British Petroleum America (BPA) which was based in Cleveland. Ms. Dunn told us that Ms. Margaret W. Wong and the late Mr. Dunn used to work together a lot to obtain the necessary visas for British Petroleum employees from Great Britain.

Above all else, we urge everyone to check out this exhibit which will run from April 2nd to May 2nd at the Cleveland Institute of Art on East Blvd. in University Circle because we believe that wonderful talent deserves to be seen and appreciated.

Out & Aboutimwong