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Ethiopian Cultural Garden Phase 1 Dedication

Ethiopian Cultural Garden
Phase 1 Dedication
MLK Blvd. Cleveland
August 24, 2019

The Cleveland Cultural Gardens are one of Northeast Ohio's oldest and most beautiful treasures. More than 31 gardens, designed and cultivated by distinct cultural or nationality groups, adorn the drive along Martin Luther King Boulevard and East Boulevard in Rockefeller Park. Founded in 1916, the Cultural Gardens are unique to the world. They represent the diversity and multiculturalism that is Cleveland, and bring life to the Gardens' mission of "peace through mutual understanding."

The Ethiopian Garden is the first garden from an African country in the 100+ year history of the gardens.

Ethiopian Garden monument covered before the unveiling

Ethiopian Garden monument covered before the unveiling


Phase 1 of the Ethiopian Garden includes a large wall displaying 5,000 years of history. The Ethiopian artist Yetimgeta Zerihun designed the structure while Cleveland Ethio-American artist mosaic artist Ernesto Spinelli constructed the mural.

The Menelik Hall Foundation supports all things Ethio-American in Cleveland and worldwide and has spent seven years raising over $25,000 for the garden. The Menelik Hall Foundation is currently raising funds for Phases II and III.

A large crowd gathered for the unveiling ceremony for Phase 1 of the Ethiopian Garden on Saturday August 24, 2019. Dan Hanson of ClevelandPeople.com was on hand to record and archive the historic event.

The ceremony began with MC Scott Embacher introducing speakers including community leader Aklilu Demessie, Dr. Wael Khoury, President of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation and Lori Ashyk, Director of the CCGF.

NOTE: All the images below with a white arrow in the middle are videos. (The other images are just photos) You can click on the white arrow to watch the video of whatever is described. Make sure your speakers are on and you can make the video full screen once it begins by clicking the icon in the lower right corner.



Aklilu Demassie speaking at Ethiopian Garden Dedication

Aklilu Demessie speaking at Ethiopian Garden Dedication

Aklilu Demessie speaking at Ethiopian Garden Dedication

MC Scott Embacher

MC Scott Embacher

Scott Embacher with his 2 sons

Scott Embacher with his 2 sons

Dr. Wael Khoury, President of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation

Dr. Wael Khoury, President of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation

Lori Ashyk, Executive Director of the CCGF

Lori Ashyk, Executive Director of the CCGF

The City of Cleveland was well represented by Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell, Council President Kevin Kelley and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson who gave a proclamation from the City to the Ambassador. Also Joe Cimperman the president of Global Cleveland.



Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell

Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell

Council president Kevin Kelley

Council president Kevin Kelley

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson

Joe Cimperman the president of Global Cleveland

Joe Cimperman, president of Global Cleveland

Next, Ethio-American businessman Girma Feleke spoke and introduced Brook Hailu, Professor and Honorary Consul of Ethiopia to Ohio and Adjacent States. Hailu then introduced Fitsum Arega, Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States.



Ethio-American businessman Girma Feleke

Ethio-American businessman Girma Feleke

Brook Hailu, Professor and Honorary Counsul of Ethiopia to Ohio and Adjacent States

Brook Hailu, Professor and Honorary Consul of Ethiopia to Ohio and Adjacent States

Fitsum Arega, Ethiopian ambassador to the United States

Fitsum Arega, Ethiopian ambassador to the United States

Fitsum Arega, Ethiopian ambassador to the United States

Dr. Carl Robson, owner of Empress Taytu Ethiopian Restaurant and member of the Ethiopian Cultural Garden Committee, spoke next.



Dr. Carl Robson, owner of Empress Taytu Ethiopian Restaurant and member of the Ethiopian Cultural Garden Committee

Dr. Carl Robson, owner of Empress Taytu Ethiopian Restaurant

Dr. Carl Robson recognizes mosaic artist Ernesto Spinelli

Dr. Carl Robson recognizes mosaic artist Ernesto Spinelli

Next, Dr. Raymond Silverman from the University of Michigan introduced the Ethiopian artist, Yetimgeta Zerihun, who flew in for the dedication. He designed the structure while Cleveland Ethio-American mosaic artist Ernesto Spinelli constructed the mural. Spinelli introduced his crew and presented a piece of art to the Ambassador.



Dr. Raymond Silverman from the University of Michigan

Dr. Raymond Silverman from the University of Michigan

Ethiopian artist Yetimgeta Zerihun

Ethiopian artist Yetimgeta Zerihun

Ethiopian artist Yetimgeta Zerihun

Ethio-American mosaic artist Ernesto Spinelli with his team

Ethio-American mosaic artist Ernesto Spinelli with his team

Proclamations from government officials were received and read by Herb Resnick who was a member of the first Peace Corps group in Ethiopia in 1962.



Herb Resnick

Herb Resnick

Finally it was the big moment. Dignitaries including Fitsum Arega, Ethiopian ambassador to the United States, and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson pulled the cover off the mosaic.



Back of the covered mural before unveiling

Back of the covered mural before unveiling


Everyone wanted to pose with the beautiful new addition.
Visit these other pages for more

Main Ethiopian Garden Dedication page (this page)

See photos and videos of the crowd at the unveiling

A detailed look at the new monument

See the Ethiopian Cultural Garden work in progress one month earlier





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