SnickerFritz: Engaging the Community with Art

MON, MAY 24, 2010 (31:30)

This program discusses the SnickerFritz Cultural Arts Workshop for the Art, Inc which is a non-profit organization founded by master artist and sculptor Edward E. Parker to provide various programs that engage people in the arts for social development. Over the last 27 years Parker has developed the EEP Creative Arts Complex, which houses several businesses including his SnickerFritz Arts Gallery. His training and formal studies extend as far as Africa and Ecuador, and his art has been featured and commissioned across the country by many outstanding universities and organizations.

Additionally this program discusses the SnickerFritz Community Time Capsule Project which is an important Art and Community History initiative that documents the fast changing landscape of various local landmarks, businesses, institutions and residential neighborhoods in the City of East Cleveland. Each project partner contributes a piece of memorabilia (i.e. photographs, newspapers, magazine articles, oral histories, student research reports on the history of the city etc.) The preservation of these capsule submissions further documents the History of East Cleveland and provides a valuable community history lesson for current and future generations. The time capsule is scheduled to be reopened in 2020.

Program participants are Edward Parker, Owner of the EEP Creative Arts Complex, home of Snickerfritz Art Gallery and Art Studio and The Snickerfritz Cultural Workshop for the Arts, Inc. Rhonda Williams, Faculty member in the History Department at Case Western Reserve University and Director of the Social Justice Alliance/Initiative. Gladys Haddad, Host of Regionally Speaking. Nancy Nolan-Jones, Project Director, Snickerfritz Community Time Capsule Project

+ BIO: Edward Parker

Master artist, educator, and entrepreneur Edward Everett Parker was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Hill District on Bentley Drive on February 7, 1941. His parents were Augustine Washington and David Nathaniel Parker. When he was in elementary school, his parents moved Edward and his brother David to Toledo, Ohio, where he studied at the Toledo Museum of Art as a child. Parker attended the Lincoln Elementary School and graduated from Scott High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in art from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio and a Master's Degree in Art Education, with an emphasis in sculpting, from Ohio's Kent State University. He also completed additional graduate level work at the University of Illinois and at Ife in West Africa.

Parker taught art education in the Cleveland Public Schools, serving as the head of the Art Department at Audubon Jr. High for a number of years. He later attained the position of Professor and Arts Coordinator at the Western Campus of Cuyahoga Community College and taught as a fulltime professor for nearly twenty years. Parker is the founder and director of the Snickerfritz Cultural Workshop for the Arts, Inc., located in the Edward E. Parker Creative Arts Complex in East Cleveland, Ohio. The complex, which also includes gallery and classroom space, meeting rooms, and a number of small businesses, is housed in a converted nursing home that sat vacant and dilapidated for seventeen years before Parker purchased and rehabbed the facility.

His artistic achievements include numerous one-man and group shows in Ohio and other states and commissions from Cleveland's Cuyahoga Community College and Florida Memorial College, among others. His vision as an artist has long been informed by African American history and culture, and his better known works include a life-sized sculpture of the "Chicken George" character from Alex Haley's "Roots" and a celebrated series of African American clown sculptures and prints.

Parker resides in East Cleveland, Ohio and has served on the Board of Trustees for the East Cleveland Library.

+ BIO: Rhonda Williams

Social Justice Institute director Rhonda Y. Williams, PhD, is an associate professor of history and the founder and director of the postdoctoral fellowship in African American studies at Case Western Reserve.

The award-winning author of The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women's Struggles against Urban Inequality, Williams has been honored by History News Network as a Top Young Historian and is listed in the 2009 edition of Who's Who in Black Cleveland.

Her research interests include the manifestations of race and gender inequality on urban space and policy, the history of low-income people's lives and activism, and illicit narcotics economies in the post-1940s United States.

Williams is a recipient of an American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Fellowship and a former Harvard University W.E.B. Du Bois Institute Fellow. She is the co-editor of the recently launched book series, Justice, Power, and Politics, with the University of North Carolina Press.

Williams received her PhD in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Maryland College Park in 1989, where she became that university's first black salutatorian in its then 187-year history.

Her publications include articles on black power politics, the war on poverty, low-income black women's grassroots organizing, and urban and housing policy.

To learn more about social justice initiatives at Case Western Reserve and how you can be involved, contact the Social Justice Institute at 216.368.2515 or socialjustice@case.edu.

+ BIO: Gladys Haddad

Gladys Haddad is Professor of American Studies at Case Western Reserve University and the founder and director of the Western Reserve Studies Symposia, an annual event now in its twentieth year that offers a forum and WEB site for the study of the history and culture of a distinctive northeastern Ohio region. She earned a B.A., Allegheny College, B.F.A., Lake Erie College, M.A. and Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University. She is professor of American Studies emerita at Lake Erie College where she was academic dean and executive assistant to the President.

A historian and regionalist her scholarship is centered in Ohio's Western Reserve. She has published on the history, literature, and art of the region. She is the author of Ohio's Western Reserve: A Regional Reader, Anthology of Western Reserve Literature and Laukhuff's Book Store: Cleveland's Literary and Artistic Landmark: An Epilogue. She is the editor of Western Reserve Studies: A Journal of Regional History and Culture and Western Reserve Studies Symposia Papers.

She is the Project Archivist, Researcher and Author of the CASE website "Selected Philanthropic Families of Case Western Reserve University."

+ BIO: Nancy Nolan-Jones

Nancy Nolan-Jones, Project Director, Snickerfritz Community Time Capsule Project

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Case Western Reserve University