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Art Gallery | Spiritual Corner

Speech of B. John Zavrel

at the opening of the exhibition


at the Museum of European Art

on June 3, 2000 in Clarence, New York


Ladies and Gentlemen,


I like to welcome you to the art exhibition 'The Future Is Today.'

The title sounds more like a scientific slogan from our century of space flights and internet. But in this particular case, THE FUTURE IS TODAY means this: the development in the future depends entirely upon what we do here and now. What we do today for peace and understanding in our society, that will determine what our future will be. It will determine what the future of our children, and our children's children will be.

Dear friends of art,

I would like to say a special welcome to Dr. Wilson Greatbatch and his wife Eleanor. This exhibition is presented under the patronage of them both. This traditional family did much for the society in our area. And Wilson Greatbatch the scientist did even more. As the inventor of the implantable pacemaker - you, Mr. Greatbatch - made an extraordinary contribution to mankind.

In this exhibition we present the works of ten artists. The invitation to this art exhibition shows the motive 'Miracle in Venice' by Edward Tabachnik from Toronto. We welcome the painter among his other colleagues.

We welcome the other artists - Rick Allen, John Baker, Elisabeth Gross Marks from Ithaca, Geeta Harvey, Bill Jobling, Wendy Macdonald Mills, Mary Weig and Bradley Widman.

And we say thank you also to the one artist who for health reasons could not be with us today, Walter Prochownik, who is represented by his wife Sarah.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our Museum of European Art in Clarence has been engaged for many years to use art and culture as a bridge for understanding among the different countries. As a bridge between the United States and the European countries, in which most of us have their roots. Let me point out that all this work is done without any help from the government, but only with private donations.

Our supporters agree with the thought of our late president John F. Kennedy: 'Do not ask what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country!'


Dear friends of Art,

I am happy to say that this idea finds many supporters also in Europe. Several weeks ago, in May I was in Berlin on a high cultural mission. This official event involved the first state visit of the Czech president Vaclav Havel in the German capital. Germany and the Czech Republic have many dark political spots in their past between the years 1939 and 1948. But after World War II, Germany became with America's cooperation a strong democratic country with the largest population in Europe. Germany is a trustful ally and a very important supporter of the Czech efforts to join the European Union as a full member.

Both sides consider the cultural bonds very important for understanding among the people. The fact is that there are on both sides - mostly under the elderly people - still deep wounds from the wrong politics of the Nazi-time and the Communist-time in Czechoslovakia.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me a short side trip from art into the politics of our time. And let me add a very important fact: after the communist terror in Czechoslovakia, no one could have lead this country into the Western world better than Vaclav Havel. He was and is a well-known writer and an intellectual democrat. He is a man of culture and art. He knows the importance of culture in music, literature and the fine arts. To thank this outstanding statesman Havel for what he did for peace in Europe, we handed over to the Czech president a bronze portrait bust by the German sculptor Kurt Arentz.

We - means: the Museum of European Art in Clarence, in cooperation with the European Cultural Foundation in Berlin and the Alexander Order in Paris. And this gesture was highly appreciated by the German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and the German President Johannes Rau.

Dear friends, in short this was the story of Berlin. And today we are here in this Museum. Of course it cannot be compared with the Metropolitan Museum in New York, nor with the other great old collections in our country. But this small Museum finds respect and admiration in many countries. And by the help of the internet, we can present our artists in the small town of Clarence worldwide to those who cannot come in person.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the end I would like to thank you for your patience in listening to my words. Of course, I did not go into details about the works of our artists. Please, view for yourself the collection of their paintings. They are all individual, very interesting contributions to the art of our time. Look at them and find your own interpretation, enjoy your own feeling in front of these works of art.

By our admiration for the great artists who passed away like Chagall, Picasso, Dali, Nugochi, Calder and the Czech-born Andy Warhol, the Museum of European Art and our gallery feel close to the artists of our time. We are pleased to show some of their works. And at the end we would like to encourage also you to become collectors of the art of our time.



Thank you very much.



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Copyright 2001 West-Art

PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, Politics and Science.