“Our hope is to expose guests to various flavors of arts and culture already present in Cleveland’s rich and vibrant tapestry,” said Arooj Ashraf, Chief of Creativity and Design, WIN – Cleveland.
Featured artists are diverse in their work and heritage, representing Columbia, Mexico, Africa, Iraq, Pakistan, Italy, Ukraine, Sicily, and Czechoslovakia.
One of the artists is Ahmed Ghareeb, an Iraqi refugee who resettled in Cleveland and brought his love of calligraphy and sculpture. A professional artist in Iraq, Ghareeb’s work has been displayed in Saudi Arabia, China, Damascus, Germany, Italy and England, and he is eager to share his perspective through the vibrancy of Arabic script..
“We wanted artists to expand perception of their own work and find an international flavor in their crafts,” Ashraf said.
Barbara Pitorka Bloom of Parma rose to the challenge with her company Images in Bloom. Her specialty is silk scarves painted in hand dyed Japanese shibori style. She also offers unique Viking knitting bracelets and handbags crafted from recycled grocery bags and old sweaters.
Entertainment includes performances by Warmis, a traditional Peruvian dance group. The group formed this year to help in Cleveland Clinic’s Lamay Project Fundraiser.
Iris Waters and AA Langsdale of Lady of the Lake Foundation (www.ladyofthelakefoundation.org) will perform a duet of crystal bowls and Australian didgeridoo. Langwater will also offer spinal alignment massages using the didgeridoo.
Alsie Clay from Shore Cultural Centre Artisans’ Treasure in Euclid will show live demonstrations of Sacred Sand Mandela through colored sand. As an artist, Clay creates interpretive, kinetic sand paintings and watercolors, and Exquisite Designs Jewelry. She plans to start a community art co-op, and include artwork from her new book, “International Cumulative Grief, Influence, Stories, and Healing a World.”
Walt Neil, an African artist captures the spirit world on vibrant canvas. Drumming, singing and painting have been the center of his universe for the past 43 years. He will display his paintings and lead a procession of African drums.
Guests will have an opportunity to stretch their taste buds and sample appetizers from around the world. Rashid Mitcham-Bey from ThePhatVegan will demonstrate ways to prepare healthy vegan food in less than 30 minutes. Carlos Chinchilla will present a delicious and healthy dessert called frutisc, a mouthwatering array of fruits arranged in colorful patterns and layered with jello. Along with international wine and beer, guests will be served refreshing drink of the East, Rooh Afza.
The main showcase of the night will feature an acrylic painting by Steven D. Standley, University Hospitals’ chief administrative officer. The 30x40-inch canvas, “Barcelona Sunset,” and will be raffled at the end of the night. Anyone who becomes a new member of WIN Cleveland is eligible to win the raffle. Annual memberships are available to individuals for $15, and family of four may join for $25.
“Greater Cleveland is home to nearly 130 nationalities who contribute to the vibrant tapestry of our city’s multiculturalism, arts, economy and hospitality,” said Richard Eastburn, a WIN Cleveland founding member.
“We wanted to showcase our rich multicultural artistic community and bring everyone together to network and learn more about each other. What better way to accomplish both goals than through a unique sensory experience incorporating music, art and food in a relaxed atmosphere,” Eastburn said.
The arts festival is WIN Cleveland’s second event. In December, WIN Cleveland collaborated with the city for a Global Urban Fusion holiday celebration of diversity and drew a capacity crowd of 450 to City Hall.
WIN Cleveland is a grassroots organization founded to energize Cleveland’s multicultural communities, engage them in effective dialogue through events and educate them of global possibilities through local interaction. The group envisions a collaborative community that will attract and retain the best and brightest talent from around the world
Follow WIN Cleveland on Twitter at WINCleveland and become a fan on Facebook. For a listing of WIN Cleveland and community events, visit www.win-cleveland.org.