Browse Interviews

  • Collection: Cleveland Cultural Gardens
54 total

John Grabowski interview, 14 October 2002

Dr. John Grabowski, history professor at Case Western Reserve University, discusses how the issues of World War II and the Cold War are emulated through Cleveland's Cultural Gardens. According to Dr. Grabowski, the gardens became a symbolic and physical manifestation of the pluralism within the United States during the 1940s and 1950s. Dr. Grabowski also discusses the creation of multiple gardens, the riots and vandalism that took place within the gardens in the 1960s, Cold War ideology, and…

Anthony Yen interview, 2002

Anthony Yen discusses the history of the Chinese Cultural Garden, from its planning to its completion. Mr. Yen describes the trials and tribulations in obtaining the land and the drive to have the gardens become a national landmark designation. Other topics include the fiolage within the Chinese Cultural Garden, future plans of the garden, and vandalism.

Lena Pogrebinski interview, 2002

Lena Pogrebinski, a Ukranian immigrant who came to the United States in 1991, discusses her involvement in the Ukranian Cultural Garden. Coming to the United States as a political refugee, Ms. Pogrebinki describes her family's journey from Ukraine to the United States. She discusses how she came to the United States, why her family left Ukraine, and why her family came to Cleveland. Ms. Pogrebinki goes on to describe how she became involved with the Ukrainian Cultural Garden, what she does at…

Andrew Chakalis interview, 2002

Andrew Chakalis, project coordinator for the Cleveland Cultural Gardens and Greek Cultural Garden delegate, discusses the restoration of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. He discusses how and why gardens are being restored, future plans for the gardens, and the city's involvement with the gardens as a whole. Other topics include how he got involved with the gardens, landscape within the Greek Cultural Garden, and community involvement in the gardens.
Poor sound quality.

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Ben S. Stefanski II interview, 2002

Ben S. Stefanski II, of the Polish Cultural Garden, recollects on his involvement in Cleveland's Cultural Garden. He discusses his earliest memories of the Cultural Gardens, the importance of the Polish Cultural Garden in particular, flowers and layout of the Cultural Gardens, and the creation of busts within the Polish Cultural Garden. Other topics include his family history, vandalism and theft in the gardens, and the uniqueness of the Cultural Gardens.
Poor sound quality.

Lenone McCaslin interview, 2002

In this short interview, Lenone McCaslin discusses safety within Cleveland's Cultural Gardens. She recollects on her childhood memories at the Cultural Gardens, theft and violence in the gardens, and her thoughts on restoration.
Poor sound quality.

George Parras interview, 2002

George Parras, President of Cultural Gardens Federation, describes the history and upkeep of Cleveland's Cultural Gardens. As President, Mr. Parras believes the gardens exemplify an enduring message of peace. He discusses how he became President of the gardens, establishing a new garden, festivals within the gardens, and trying to recieve national landmark status from the federal government. Topics include safety, world peace, and preserving the Doan Brook.
Poor sound quality.

Alfonso D'Emilia interview, 2002

Alfonso D'Emilia, a representative of the Italian Cultural Garden, discusses the history of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. He discusses the gardens that are in a formative state, the importance of heritage. There is also a discussion about the Italian Cultural Garden, from vandalism and future plans, to its inspiration, founders, and sculpture. The interview ends with a brief history about the ethnic enclave of Little Italy.
Poor sound quality.

George Parras interview, 2005

George Parras, President of Cultural Gardens Federation, describes the history and upkeep of Cleveland's Cultural Gardens. As President, Mr. Parras believes the gardens exemplify an enduring message of peace. Topics include safety, world peace, and preserving the Doan Brook.

Klaus Roy interview, 2005

Klaus Roy spoke at the dedication of the Hungarian Cultural Garden at One World Day 1975. Mr. Roy recollects on the day, from who was there to the music that was played. There is also a discussion regarding the struggles of Hungary as a nation and its inhabitants. Other topics include garden restoration, Hungarians in Cleveland, and other Hungarian cultural outlets.

Florence Unetich interview, 19 April 2005

Florence Unetich describes her family's migration from Austria to the United States, the Slovenian community in Cleveland, her involvement with Slovenian Cultural Garden, and numerous issues in recent Cleveland history.

Anthony Yen interview, 2005

Anthony Yen discusses the history of the Chinese Cultural Garden, from its planning to its completion. Mr. Yen describes the trials and tribulations in obtaining the land and the drive to have the gardens become a national landmark designation. Other topics include the foliage within the Chinese Cultural Garden, future plans of the garden, and creating what became known as Teacher Day.

John Krewisky interview, 2005

John Krewisky, a representative of the Rusin Cultural Garden, discusses the history and culture of the Carpatho-Rusin community of Cleveland. He discusses the establishiment of the Rusin Cultural Garden, who took care of it over the years, and how it is currently maintained. Other topics include the Carpatho-Rusin communities in other cities, the importance of Byzantine Christianity for the community, and Carpatho-Rusin origins.
The first half of this interview was lost.

Berj Shakarian interview, 2012

Berj Shakarian, architect for the Armenian Cultural Gardens, shares about his immigration to America from Armenia, his views about what the city is doing with the Mall, details about projects from when he was the Public Architect for Cuyahoga County, how the Armenian Cultural Garden came to be and the influences behind its design, his crucial involvement in restoring Playhouse Square, and the design of St. Ignatius Plaza at John Carroll.
Interviewer is joined by his wife and son. Phone rings…

Takhar Kasumov Interview, 20 February 2009

Takhar Kasumov discusses the Azerbaijani Cultural Garden and the development of a small Azeri community in Cleveland. Born in Azerbaijan, Kasumov, a ten year Cleveland resident, explains the impetus behind the creation of the garden and the significance of the hearth that serves as its focal point. He also talks about the nature of Azeri community in the city and how it has grown over the years, describing the garden as a force for tying Cleveland Azeris together. Kasumov briefly comments on the…

Silvija Rutenbergs Interview, 30 November 2009

Silvija Rutenbergs, the delegate for the Latvian Cultural Garden discusses her role as delegate, the importance placed on Latvia being represented in the gardens, and the significance of statues and symbols throughout the Latvian Cultural Garden. She also discusses how the gardens laid dormant for twenty years without any further development prior to the recent flurry of construction.

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Roman Zorska Interview, 30 November 2009

Roman Zorska, a delegate of the Lithuainain Cultural Garden, reflects on his life and discusses the history of the Lithuanian Cultural Garden. An immigrant from Lithuania, Mr. Zorska came to Cleveland in December of 1949 as a young boy. He discusses where he went to school, where he lived, and his life in Cleveland growing up. He also discusses the areas Lithuanian's lived within Cleveland, the changing demographics within city limits, and Lithuanian history and culture. The bulk of the…

Raj Pillai Interview, 20 February 2009

In this 2009 interview, Raj Pillai discusses the recent improvements made to the Indian Cultural Garden. After a nearly 20 year delay, Pillai and other members of the Indian Community worked together to renovate the nearly empty garden, breaking ground in 2005. Pillai discusses the significance of some of the gardens features, including the steps to the Doan Brook, the six inscribed pillars, and the statue of Gandhi. He also talks about the process of decision making that went in to renovating…

Paul Burik Interview, 20 February 2009

Paul Burik, the delegate of the Czech Cultural Garden and President of the Cultural Gardens Federation, discusses his role as both delegate and President of Cleveland's Cultural Gardens. Voted in by his peers as President of Federation, Mr. Burik, a professionally trained architect, also discusses the history of both the Czech Cultural Garden and the Cultural Gardens as a whole. Other topics include Federation requirements regarding proposed gardens, funding, tourism, and plans for the future.

Paula Fishman Interview, 30 November 2009

In this November 2009 interview, Paula Fishman discusses the Hebrew Cultural Garden, one of the first gardens added to the Cleveland Cultural Gardens in the 1920s. Ms. Fishman, a Cleveland native, became involved with the Hebrew Garden in 1997. She describes the process of cleaning up the long-neglected garden, generating interest about it throughout Cleveland's Jewish community, and working with the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland to initiate a long-term plan to take care of the Hebrew…

Olli Patrikainen Interview, 20 February 2009

Olli Patrikainen, a delegate of the Finnish Cultural Garden, discusses the history and role of the Finnish community in Cleveland's Cultural Gardens. A native of Finland, Mr. Patrikainen came to Cleveland in the early 1990s with his American wife. The interview focuses on such topics as vandalism, immigration, the current Finnish community, the importance of nationalism as it pertains to the Gardens, and finally his vision of the future for the Cultural Gardens.

Matthew Young Interview, 30 November 2009

Mattew Young discusses the educational and social impact of his work with the American Cultural Garden. A teacher at Hawken School, Young describes the role that students have played and continue to play in this particular garden. Young details the scientific and educational programs that his garden promotes, describes how they are influencing urban gardening, and how they are introducing students to a variety of issues surrounding the urban environment. Young contextualizes the role of the…

Mary Hamlin Interview, 20 February 2009

Mary Hamlin, retired teacher and volunteer with the Cleveland Cultural Garden Federation, relates the history of the British Garden, originally called the Shakespeare Garden. Topics include the layout of the garden, famous visitors, sponsorship by the Daughters of the British Empire, and significance of the poets and artists represented in the garden. Hamlin provides an oral tour of the garden, and mentions plans for future additions to the garden, and relates some of the problems involved in…

Lel Somogyi Interview, 20 February 2009

Lel Somogyi of the Hungarian Cultural Garden discusses the garden's history and his involvment with the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation. Somogyi describes the garden's development within the historical context of Cleveland's Hungarian community, as well as within the context of American history and culture, and global political events. Somogyi's father was a member of the Hungarian Parliament prior to World War II, and came to the United States as a political refugee as the war heightened.…

Harry Davis Interview, 30 November 2009

In this November 2009 interview, Harry Davis talks about his position as delegate to the American Legion Cultural Gardens within the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation. Mr. Davis, a member of the American Legion and a Korean War Veteran, shares his opinions on the current state of the Cultural Gardens, comparing them now with their condition in past decades and offering suggestions for their future growth and vitality. Davis, who has lived in Cleveland since the 1950s, offers a hopeful…

Andrew Chakalis Interview, 20 February 2009

Andrew Chakalis, a native Clevelander, is an artist, President of the Hellenic Preservation Society of Northeast Ohio, and the Greek Garden delegate in the Cultural Gardens Federation. In this 2009 interview, Chakalis describes how he and others went about renovating the Greek Cultural Garden in the mid-1990s, describing the cultural and historical significance of many of the garden's features and stressing his desire to stay true to the garden's original 1940s design. He also talks about the…

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Joyce Mariani Interview, 14 February 2011

Joyce Mariani, the Exective director of the Italian Cultural Garden Foundation shares her story of how she became involved in restoring and renovating the Italian Cultural Garden. She shares her struggles and successes in regards to fundrasing, acting as the project manager for the restoration, working with Cleveland bureaucracy, adding new cultural features to the garden, and is currently working on installing wifi.

Jim Cull Interview, 2005

In this short interview, Jim Cull, the Chair of the Development Committee for the Cultural Garden Federation, discusses the topic of security within Cleveland's Cultural Garden. He touches on wrongful preconceptions, securing the surrounding neighborhood, and future security plans. Other topics include the importance of creating a cultural center of education, public access, and utilizing technology to create a safe place.

Phyllis M. Glaeser, 11 March 2005

Phyllis M. Glaeser, President of the Federation of German American Society of Greater Cleveland, discusses Cleveland's Cultural Garden. She discusses her role as President of the Federation of German American Society of Greater Cleveland and as a delegate of the German Cultural Garden. Ms. Glaeser recollects on her family history, growing up in Cleveland and the different activities the German community of Cleveland is pursuing. Other topics include vandalism, the growth of the gardens as a…

Bill Leshinetsky Interview, 2005

Bill Leshinetsky, a representative of the Ukrainian Cultural Garden, discusses the continued presence of Ukrainians throughout the Cleveland area. An immigrant from western Ukraine, Mr. Leshinetsky came to the United States in 1950. He discusses his life prior to coming to the United States, what would have happened if he had stayed in Ukraine, and the life he created for himself in a foreign country. Mr. Leshinetsky also discusses the creation, maintenance, and sculptures within the Ukrainian…

Paul Burik and Mila Hyuner Interview, 2005

Paul Burik, the delegate of the Czech Cultural Garden, discusses his role in Cleveland's Cultural Gardens. He discusses statuaries within the Czech garden, the history of the Czech Republic, Czech neighborhoods in Cleveland, and his experiences growing up in Cleveland. Other topics include events within the gardens, promotion of the gardens, and how the gardens are advertized.

Georgia Pappas Interview, 6 October 2002

In this short interview, Georgia Pappas, a first generation Greek immigrant, discusses her early memories of Cleveland. She recalls going to the West Side Market, visiting department stores, and shopping at boutiques on East 6th Street. She never knew of Cleveland's Cultural Gardens until 1996. Ms. Pappas discusses her first visit, why she was there, and who she was with. The interview ends with a discussion about her love for both Greece and the United States.

Gerald Quinn Interview, 20 April 2005

Gerald Quinn, a first generation immigrant from Ireland, came to the United States in 1961. Coming to Cleveland in the early 1960s, Mr. Quinn recalls downtown Cleveland teeming with people, traffic, and department stores. He discusses events within the Cleveland Cultural Gardens throughout his time in Cleveland, maintance of the Irish Cultural Garden, the relevence of the gardens, and funding. Other topics include Irish Clubs, marching in Cleveland's St. Patricks Day Parade, and getting involved…

Jim Cull Interview, 30 October 2002

Jim Cull, delegate of the Finnish Cultural Garden, discusses his role in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. Mr. Cull is chair of a development committee responsible for trying to find ways to increase funding and membership for the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. As delegate to the Finnish Cultural Garden, Mr. Cull discusses statues within the garden, future plans for garden, and the need for local support from the community at large. There is also a discussion about vandalism, neglect, and development…

George Dobriah Interview, 3 April 2005

In this interview, Dr. George Dobriah discusses the Romanian community of Cleveland and their relationship with the Romanian Cultural Garden. He reflects on how and why the garden started, the bust of George Enescu, and the participation of the local Romanian community in regards to the garden. Other topics include his church community, family history, Romanian culture, and the Romanian Art Museum.

Harry A. Davis Interview, 4 April 2005

Harry A. Davis, a delegate of the American Legion Peace Cultural Garden, discusses his role and memories of Cleveland's Cultural Gardens. Other topics include restoration, previous events within the gardens, One World Day, and community involvement.

Perrin Carpenter Interview, 14 October 2002

The manager of the Rockefeller Greenhouse, a building located in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, Perrin Carpenter describes the duties of her position and the day to day activities at the greenhouse. Ms. Carpenter also discusses the different entities involved with the care and maintenance of the gardens, financial and horticultural responsibilities, the planning of future gardens, and special events within the garden boundaries.

Maria Minko Interview, 10 April 2005

Maria Minko, a first generation Ukrainian immigrant, recollects on her life in Ukraine and the United States. There is a detailed conversation regarding life in Ukraine during World War II. Other topics include World War II, family history, coming to the United States, and establishing a life in Cleveland.

Jeff Davis Interview, 2 October 2002

In this interview, Jeff Davis discusses his role as delegate to the African American Cultural Garden. Mr. Davis touches on how he became involved with the gardens, groups involved with the garden, and what the gardens represent as a whole. He then goes on to discuss the obstacles for the African American Cultural Garden, how those obstacles can be met, and why there are no busts within the garden. Other topics include the history, present state, and future plans for the garden.

Bill Jirousek Interview, 2 December 2002

Bill Jirousek discusses the guidelines and perameters for establishing a garden within the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. He explains the difference between officially established gardens and the gardens in the process of establishing themselves. Mr. Jirousek mentions the importance of fundraising and safty within the gardens toward their future success. There is a discussion about the guidelines each garden must abide by when deliberating about new sculptures and the steps necessary for an ehtnic…

Elizabeth Szabolcs Interview, 31 March 2005

Elizabeth Szabolcs, a first generation immigrant from Hungary, discusses her life in Hungary and the United States. Ms. Szabolcs discusses her experience during World War I and World War II, her family history, coming the United States, and living in Cleveland.

Valerie Coates Interview, 18 April 2005

Valerie Coates, the delegate for the African American Cultural Garden, discusses the African American experience in Cleveland and abroad. She discusses the formation of African American Cultural Garden, how it came to be, and the garden's future plans. Other topics include influential African Americans throughout history, slavery, and African American life in the mid 1900s.

Mila Hyunar Interview, 13 May 2005

Mila Hyunar, a representative of the Czech Cultural Garden, discusses the history, culture, and importance of the Czech community within Cleveland. As of 2005, her husband has been involved with the Czech Cultural Garden for over twenty years. Ms. Hyunar discusses Czech culture and history, generational differences within the Czech community of Cleveland, and influential members of her community. She discusses her feelings about the recent growth within the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, additions…

Bill Jirousek Interview, 2002

Bill Jirousek, a representative of the Rusin Cultural Garden, discusses how an ethnic group establishes a new garden, the steps in the application process, and the stages of garden formation. He also discusses a new sense of professionalism and organization in the Cultural Garden Federation as it pertains to the Design and Preservation Committee.

Cordell Edge Interview, 14 October 2002

Cordell Edge, a delegate of the African American Garden, discusses her involvement with the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. Ms. Edge describes how she got her start in the African American Cultural Garden, what her role is within the Cultural Garden Federation, and how the garden was created. Other topics include her memories of the gardens and how the neighborhood surrounding the gardens has changed over time.

Erika Puussaar and Rita Tubalkain, 24 October 2002

Erika Puussaar and Rita Tubalkain reflect on their time working in the Estonian Cultural Garden. Both coming to the United States in the early 1950s, Ms. Puussaar and Ms. Tubalkain discuss their memories of Estonia. They describe what it was like to be an immigrant coming to the United States, early jobs taken, and surviving an unfamiliar landscape. Ms. Puussaar and Ms. Tubalkain also discuss their involvement in Cleveland's Cultural Gardens, problems with funding, statuaries in the Estonian…

Charles Couch Interview, 7 April 2005

Charles Couch, professor at Cleveland State University, discusses his experiences while playing with the Cleveland Orchestra. He recalls his audition, how he chose the trumpet, and the influence different music conductors had on the orchestra. He discusses performing and practicing at Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center, personal milestones, playing in Mexico.

Hedvika Sfiligoj Interview, 29 March 2005

Hedvika Sfiligoj, a Slovenian immigrant who came to Cleveland in 1952, discusses her life throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Ms. Sfiligoj discusses where she worked and shopped, who she befriended and met, and where she sent her children to school. Other topics include Euclid Avenue, how Cleveland has changed, coming to the United States, and living in Slovenia as a child. She describes her early memories of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, vandalism within the gardens,…

Bud Weidenthal Interview, 2005

Bud Wiedenthal discusses his family and their role in Cleveland and the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. His Great Uncle, Leo Wiedenthal, was influential in the creation of both the Hebrew Cultural Garden and the Cleveland Cultural Gardens as a whole. He discusses his family history, memories of Leo, and Leo's connection to Zionism.