Alumni enjoy arts experiences, conversations in New York City Destination Weekend

Destination Weekend Group

Case Western Reserve alumni and community members gathered in New York City from Friday, March 22, to Sunday, March 24, to celebrate the arts and connect with one another. Despite some rain, the CWRU Alumni Association’s second Destination Weekend allowed attendees to network while enjoying a variety of the city’s unique cultural experiences 

Activities began with a Friday evening reception at Gibney: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center. Gina Gibney (WRC ’79; GRS ’82, theater) is founder, artistic director and CEO of Gibney, a New York City dance company and social action incubator. Gibney was unable to attend the event.

Reception guests watched SARA, a performance by the Gibney Company dancers, and then heard from Gilbert T. Small II, the dance company’s director, and Nancy Lashine (WRC ’78), a member of Gibney’s board in a discussion led by Karen F. Kaler, wife of Case Western Reserve University President Eric W. Kaler. 

At a Saturday morning breakfast, alumni association board emeritus member David A.G. Johnson (WRC ’73) and PhD candidates Ben Levy and Reed O’Mara (GRS ’20, art history) spoke to the group. 

After breakfast, group members toured a variety of sites and museums, including the African Burial Ground National Monument—the location of the remains of more than 419 Black people buried in the 17th and 18th centuries. Other stops included the Morgan Library and Museum, which once housed investment banker J.P. Morgan’s personal library and now houses a significant number of illuminated manuscripts; the American Folk Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. 

Attendees closed out the weekend’s activities by hearing a conversation between Karen F. Kaler and Elizabeth A. Davis (GRS ’06, theater), whose performance in the musical Once earned her a nomination for the 2012 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. The discussion provided a glimpse into the role of Case Western Reserve’s theater program in shaping her path to Broadway.

"It was lots of fun," said alumni association board emerita member Judy Strauss Schwartz (WRC ’74) of the experience. "The activities were great. Loved being [with] friends and other alums. Both the Morgan Library and the Folk Art Museum are terrific locations. I hadn’t been to either in a while. I enjoyed the dance experience; it was different and thought-provoking! I always love seeing and hearing Elizabeth Davis. Both Reed O’Mara and Ben Levy were delightful."

Destination Weekend alumni group
Case Western Reserve University African American Alumni Association