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Notre Dame College Presents Art Display of "KinderToys: The Courageous Children of the Holocaust"

Notre Dame College’s Clara Fritzsche Library will host “KinderToys: The Courageous Children of the Holocaust,”─an exhibition of works that focuses on the toys and drawings of the youngest victims of Nazi persecution─by local artist Boni Suzanne Gelfand.

An opening reception for the exhibit, which is sponsored by a grant from the Ohio Humanities Council,a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, will from 5-7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 7, in the library. The reception will include a gallery talk by the artist at 5:30 p.m., followed by a lecture by Louise Prochaska, Ph.D., Notre Dame professor of theology and women’s studies and humanities scholar for the project. Live music will be provided by violinist Reed Simon, associate professor of fine arts at Notre Dame.

The event and the exhibit, which runs through December 20, are free and open to the public.

Utilizing still photos, collages, paintings, installation art, quotes, replica toys and memoirs and historical literature, Gelfand’s exhibit will tell the stories of the child victims of Nazi persecution from a personal level and serve as a springboard for reflection and discussion.

Gelfand’s 2001 visit to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem planted the seed of an idea for the present exhibit.Inspired by the trip and her father’s collection of Judaica, Gelfand has studied the Holocaust extensively. In 2010, she took a class on “Hitler and the Holocaust” and became particularly interested in the forgotten children. She subsequently spent over four years researching the topic in preparation for this exhibit.

Skilled in various media, Gelfand has been in more than 25 competitions and exhibitions. She has won several awards for her paintings and installations, and her work has been featured in various publications.

In 2008, she received a Certificate of Mention award for “humanity?,” an installation of 11 abstract paintings at the Tri-C Gallery East Student Art exhibition juried by Cleveland art dealer William Busta. Two years later, her installation entitled “Jewels of the Pacific” won Best Sculpture at the Tri-C 2010 Student Art Exhibition. That same year it also won First Prize at the Artist Archives of the Western Reserve’s Seeing Green: Creating Art in an Era of Sustainability exhibition, juried by Robert Thurner, director of the Cleveland State University Art Gallery and retired architect Berj Shakarian. Both installations were featured in her 2012 “humanity?” solo show at the Clara Fritzsche Library.

A resident of Shaker Heights, Gelfand also has lived in Toronto, Canada, and Long Beach, New York. She attended Cuyahoga Community College, where she received an Associate of Arts degree and studied under Blake Cook, technical advisor for her Notre Dame exhibit. She also holds an Associate of Applied Business degree from the college with a major in interior design.

Gelfand has been a certified travel consultant for over 25 years, specializing in travel to India, which she has visited three times. The artist said these trips served to foster her spiritual side, which informs her work.

In addition, Gelfand is a member of the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve, a unique archival facility created to preserve representative bodies of work by Ohio visual artists, and serves on its Board of Directors. She also assists in fundraising for Ursuline College’s and Cuyahoga Community College’s art therapy and counseling programs and volunteers at the Maltz Museum, the Shaker Heights Public Library annual book sale and the annual Armenian Church Bazaar. She enjoys yoga, meditation, walking and helping to clean up local beaches.

The exhibit of her works may be viewed during library hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 1-10 p.m. Sunday.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. Enter campus from South Green Road. For additional information, contact Karen Zoller at 216.373.5267 or at kzoller@ndc.edu.