Friday, July 19, 2013

Kaleidoscopic Creative Cohort Convenes in Cleveland; Trayvon trial aftermath on local airwaves this weekend

A healthy segment of Cleveland’s African American creative class convened in University Circle last night to network and glean insight and inspiration from some of our town’s under the radar professional talent.

Jacinda Walker, right, chats with videographer Aaron Clement and his daughter
The occasion was a well-conceived DesigNation networking event sponsored by the Organization of Black Designers [OBD], a national group of design professionals from across a spectrum of intellectual workers: graphic artists, industrial designers, videographers, fashion designers, video gamers, product designers, architectural, interior, and multi-media designers, etc.
OBD national president David Rice, swaps ideas
with Scott "Spike" Radway, of Richmond Heights-
based Team Spike Consulting LLC

OBD is a national organization whose local presence is represented by the yearlong effort of Jacinda Walker to develop a regional chapter.

The group’s national leader, David Rice, was at last night’s event, which was held at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Rice encouraged attendees to toot their own horns, to lift each other up, and to work collectively to strengthen the network of black designers.

Drue Thompson
Dru Christine Fabrics & Design
After an extended networking period built around a thematic game of Pantene Bingo, the crowd of roughly seventy professionals heard briefly from several standout designers, including fashion designer Drue Thompson of Dru Christine Fabrics and Design, Tamar Medina of J-Lynn Entertainment, Marshall L. Shorts Jr. of Soulo Theory [Columbus], and Eric Mathews of Madwerkz.

Tamar Medina, J-Lynn Entertainment
Medina, whose company designs video games, talked about the serendipitous discovery that his products were of special utility for the cognitive development of autism sufferers.

Marshall L. Shorts Jr., Soulo Theory
Eric Mathews described his nine-person company as the leading digital effects company in the Midwest. He wowed the audience after he modestly sketched his prior work with LL Cool J, NWA, his tenure with National Geographic magazine, his work in place as varied as Bosnia and Sierra Leone, and his association with a variety of well-known Hollywood films. He encouraged talented artists to contact his company for possible employment.*

Maurice Wingfield of Tiny Giant Studio was singled out for special acknowledgement for his contributions to OBD’s work here.

[L-R] CIA interior design student Jaliah Johnson and graphic designer
Amber Albergottie, a CIA graduate,served as hostesses for the event.
[L-R] Cleveland Institute of Art faculty members
Kidist Getachew, Mari Hulick, and David Hart, Ph.D.
Event organizer Jacinda Walker had many reasons to be smiling all evening. On top of the positive vibe she was instrumental in creating, she was sharing the news that the local OBD chapter would be participating for the first time in next month’s Weapons of Mass Creation FEST 4, which bills itself as the premier art, design and music event in the Midwest.

The event draws creative professionals, entrepreneurs, artists and musicians from around the country.

This year’s festival will be August 16-18 at the Cleveland Public Theatre in the city’s Gordon Square Arts District. [Visit for more information and tickets. Use OBD for a discount code to save $10.]

Walker’s smile was a little bittersweet when she announced that Walker would be leaving town at the end of the month to enter a master’s of design program at Ohio State University.

* An earlier version of this post misidentified the photo of Marshall L. Shorts Jr.

Anatomy of a Tragedy

I continue to shake my head how anyone could have thought, even in the immediate glow of Barack Obama’s 2008 electoral victory, that this country was entering a post-racial era. The tragic case of Trayvon Martin, where George Zimmerman got off scot-free after profiling, stalking and killing an unarmed teenager who was minding his own business, should put a halt to all such nonsensical thinking for a long time. But of course it won’t.

The case will be the centerpiece of two local community radio programs this week. Former NAACP president and current ACLU Ohio legal director James Hardiman will be discussing the case with Meryl Johnson on “It’s About Justice”, which airs tomorrow on WRUW-FM/91.1 from 1:30-2:30PM. You can hear it online at

On Sunday night, Mansfield Frazier will be discussing the Trayvon-Zimmerman case with C. Ellen Connally, president of Cuyahoga County Council and a retired judge, and Sheila Wright, executive director of the Cleveland NAACP. Mansfield’s show, “The Forum”, airs Sundays from 7-10PM on WTAM-AM/1100.

1 comment:

Jeff Hess said...

Good morning Richard,

I'll be listening.

Thanks for the alert.

Jeff Hess
Have Coffee Will Write