Thursday September 17, 2015
Tags for: The Cleveland Museum of Art’s Womens Council Hosts Education Evening Program, “The Diplomacy of Art: How Art in Embassies Linked Cleveland with Bratislava"
  • Press Release

The Cleveland Museum of Art’s Womens Council Hosts Education Evening Program, “The Diplomacy of Art: How Art in Embassies Linked Cleveland with Bratislava"

exterior of the CMA building

On Friday, September 25, The Womens Council's Annual Education Evening Program, “The Diplomacy of Art: How Art in Embassies Linked Cleveland with Bratislava” will take place at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gartner Auditorium. This is a free event, open to the public beginning at 6:00 p.m. Art in Embassies, an office of the U.S. State Department, curated and mounted the Art in Embassies exhibition in the Bratislava residence of former U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick in 2011, at his request. Ambassador Sedgwick is also a native Clevelander, and family descendant of Jeptha Wade. The paintings, on loan from the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Western Reserve Historical Society and the Cleveland Artists Foundation (now known as Art Neo), were on view until 2014.

The “Diplomacy of Art” guest speakers, including Ambassador Sedgwick, will discuss the selection of the art, the impact of the installation, the AIE program and the historic diplomacy between Cleveland and Bratislava.
“It is a great privilege for me to speak at ‘The Diplomacy of Art,’” said Theodore Sedgwick, U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia (ret). “I look forward to telling interested Clevelanders about how the Art in Embassies program and the Cleveland Museum of Art helped me as an Ambassador strengthen ties between Cleveland and Bratislava and between the U.S. and Slovakia.”

Guest speakers include:

  • Mark Cole, curator of American painting and sculpture at the Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Theodore Sedgwick, U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia (ret)
  • Welmoed Laanstra, curator of cultural programs for Art in Embassies, Department of State

Those interested in attending “The Diplomacy of Art: How Art in Embassies Linked Cleveland with Bratislava” should RSVP by calling (216) 707-6819 or go to and click on the red RSVP button to sign up. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History will also host a related event, celebrating Slovak heritage on Saturday, September 26 from 11:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

About the Guest Speakers

Mark Cole
Mark Cole is curator of American painting and sculpture at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  Since joining the CMA in 2006, he undertook the reinstallation and reinterpretation of these holdings as part of the museum’s extensive renovation and expansion project, while simultaneously launching an extensive framing initiative. His acquisitions include major works by Robert S. Duncanson, Edmonia Lewis, Reginald Marsh, Aaron Douglas, Jacob Lawrence and Theodore Roszak.  He has hosted such exhibitions as Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties and William H. Johnson: American Modern.  This past fall he organized Maine Sublime: Frederic Church’s Twilight in the Wilderness and Jacob Lawrence: The Toussaint L’Ouverture Series.  He has lectured and published on a variety of topics, including Beaux-Arts mural painting, New Deal-era African American artistic production and commodity sculpture of the 1980s, and he recently contributed a catalogue essay for the George Bellows retrospective organized by the National Gallery of Art.  Cole holds a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware. 

U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia, Theodore Sedgwick (ret)
Ambassador Sedgwick is a business executive with experience in the publishing and timber industries. He founded Pasha Publications, a specialty publisher focused on energy, defense and environment markets, and served as its chief executive for 20 years. More recently, he founded Lo Energy, an online energy information company covering the natural gas, coal and electricity industries. He was president of Red Hills Lumber Co., a producer of pine flooring. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Sedgwick served on a number of private company boards, including Inside Higher Ed, Atlantic Information Services and Washington Business Information Inc. He has served on the boards of a number of cultural institutions, including the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Shakespeare Theater Co. and the Gennadius Library in Athens, Greece. Ambassador Sedgwick has also served on the boards of a number of land preservation organizations, including the Civil War Preservation Trust, which he chaired in 2006-2009 and Wetlands America Trust, an affiliate of Ducks Unlimited. He was on the National Council of the Land Trust Alliance. Ambassador Sedgwick is a member of the Chief Executives Organization, an organization of global business leaders. He graduated with honors from Harvard College, cum laude, where he majored in Ottoman History.

Welmoed Laanstra
Trained as a historian and artist/designer, Welmoed Laanstra joined Art in Embassies, Department of State, as the curator for cultural programs in 2013. She initiates and facilitates cross-cultural exchange programs—including lectures, exhibitions and other public events—and, working with colleagues and artists of national and international renown, she curates permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. Before joining Art in Embassies, Laanstra was the public art projects curator for Arlington County, Virginia, where she developed projects—both temporary and permanent—that energized public space and explored the relationship between art and urban culture. In 2006, she co-founded Street Scenes: Projects for DC, a public art initiative that has installed and organized temporary public art projects throughout the Washington metropolitan area. Laanstra also curated Site Projects DC, a series of temporary public art installations for the Washington Project for the Arts. Laanstra also has served as an independent curator, and has conceived and organized engaging and well-received exhibits including: Civic Endurance (Jacqueline Tarry and Bradley McCallum), which featured photographs and video of homeless youths in Seattle, Face Time (Harry Shearer), which presented video of television talking heads sitting in silence and more.

About the Womens Council
The Womens Council takes an active role in support of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Individually and collectively, our members engage with the museum by participating in educational programs, volunteering and providing financial support. Working in partnership, the Womens Council assists the museum in fulfilling its dual roles as one of the world’s most distinguished comprehensive art museums and as one of northeast Ohio’s principal civic and cultural institutions.

About Art in Embassies
The U.S. State Department has sponsored the Art in Embassies program since 1963 to promote original works of art by American artists.  The art is exhibited in consulates, chanceries and embassy residences worldwide. Overseas, AIE exhibitions and collections allow foreign citizens, many of whom might never travel to the United States, to personally experience the depth and breadth of our artistic heritage, culture and values.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Slovak Heritage Day
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, in conjunction with members of the Slovak community in Cleveland, will host a Slovak Heritage Day Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. Free with Museum admission, the event honors the 100th anniversary of The Cleveland Agreement.  The cultural event is expected to draw members of the Slovak community from the Greater Cleveland area and will include displays of Slovakian culture through performances of Slovakian music and dance, a Slovak Republic presentation, Slovakian food, served in the museum’s restaurant and displays of cultural Slovakian clothing. For a complete list of event details visit

Contact the Museum's Media Relations Team:
(216) 707-2261