PechaKucha Night: Waterways bringing together thought leaders from around the globe for inspirational evening on the Cuyahoga

Free community event on June 20 to feature artists, activists, and special presentation from the Stokes family

Release Date: 5.29.2019

CLEVELAND – Taking place on the banks of the Cuyahoga almost 50 years to the day of the river’s last burning, PechaKucha Night: Waterways will highlight clean water issues in a free, exciting format for anyone who loves creativity, clean water and Cleveland.

PechaKucha Night Cleveland (PKN Cleveland) and LAND studio will host the groundbreaking event, presented by the Cleveland Foundation, on Thursday, June 20 at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the event will officially kick off at 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but advanced registration is requested at

“We believe gathering diverse voices to explore our relationship to water creates a powerful space to reflect on the Cuyahoga River’s recovery and foster a global dialogue about our shared freshwater future,” said Stephen Love, Cleveland Foundation Program Officer for Environment.

“PechaKucha is a simple presentation format that is fast-paced and engaging, with each presentation consisting of 20 slides timed to 20 seconds each,” said Michael Christoff, co-founder of PKN Cleveland. “At PechaKucha Night: Waterways, architects, activists and artists from around the world will leverage the presentation format to share their unique perspectives on our most critical natural resource.”

The crowd-pleasing format was devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture in Tokyo in the early 2000s. The first PechaKucha Night was held in Tokyo in 2003. PechaKucha Nights, informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas in the PechaKucha 20×20 format, are now held in more than 1,000 cities worldwide.

The event will be the 34th PechaKucha Night to take place in Cleveland and the first to feature nationally and internationally renowned experts in addition to local presenters. Additionally, PechaKucha co-founder, Mark Dytham, will help emcee the event.

Presenters include:

Pat Conway and Saul Kliorys from Cleveland, Ohio

Conway (founder) and Kliorys (sustainability manager) of Great Lakes Brewing Company, a principle-centered, environmentally respectful and socially conscious company committed to crafting fresh, flavorful, high-quality beer.

Adid Dada from Beirut, Lebanon

Dada is the founder and lead architect at theOtherDada, an architecture lab aimed at invoking new relationships between climate, landscape, and inhabitants.

Sharon Day from Minneapolis, Minnesota

Day is an Ojibwe elder and water walker who is carrying forward a new tradition to honor and protect our shared waters. As part of the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion: Waterways to Waterways Edition, Day will lead a water walk which will begin at the Cuyahoga’s headwaters in northern Ohio and end four days later; she will carry the sacred river water to the mouth of the Cuyahoga where it empties into Lake Erie. At PechaKucha Night: Waterways, she’ll speak about her journey.

Kizito Johnson from Kampala, Uganda

Johnson serves as the Director of Works for Drink Local. Drink Tap., Inc., an organization that inspires individuals to recognize and solve our water issues through creative education, events, and providing safe water access to people in need.

Sadhu Johnston from Vancouver, British Columbia

Johnston helped found the Cleveland Green Building Coalition in the early 2000s. Today, Johnston is the city manager of Vancouver, where his Greenest City Action Plan hopes to make the British Columbia seaport into the most eco-friendly in the world by 2020.

Monica Lewis-Patrick from Detroit, Michigan

Lewis-Patrick is Co-Founder & President of We the People of Detroit. As an educator, entrepreneur, and human rights activist/advocate, she is one of the leaders at the forefront of the water rights struggle in Detroit.

Dr. Taraneh Meshkani from Cleveland, Ohio

Meshkani is an urbanist, architect, and educator who currently serves as an Assistant Professor at Kent State University’s College of Architecture & Environmental Design.

Cordell Stokes and Chuck Stokes from Cleveland, Ohio

Cordell Stokes, the son of Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes, is the chairman and CEO of CLC Stokes Consulting Group in Cleveland and senior advisor for Journey Steel Inc. in Cincinnati, OH. Chuck Stokes, the son of Rep. Louis Stokes, is the editorial and public affairs director for WXYZ-TV/Channel 7 in Detroit, MI.

Michael Tsegaye from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tsegaye is an artist and photographer. Much of his work presents a glimpse of life in contemporary Ethiopia, although an extended catalog of his images come from his travels abroad. As part of the current Creative Fusion cohort, Tsegaye will create an exhibition of aerial photographs of the Cuyahoga River and its crooked bend from a helicopter.

Creative Fusion: Waterways to Waterways Edition, including the PechaKucha Night: Waterways event, is a part of Cleveland’s broader Cuyahoga50 initiative ( that will bring people together throughout 2019 to celebrate clean water and ignite future action through storytelling, discussion, and debate.

About PechaKucha Night Cleveland (PKN Cleveland): PechaKucha Nights are fun and informal gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, project — just about anything, really — in the PechaKucha 20×20 format. PechaKucha Nights were pioneered in Tokyo in the early 2000s and quickly spread to over 1,000 cities worldwide, including here in Cleveland. Volunteer members of the PKN Cleveland Creative Team organize three to four PechaKucha Nights at venues around the city each year in an effort to showcase Cleveland talent. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook.

About the Cleveland Foundation: Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.5 billion and 2018 grants of more than $100 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of residents of Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation’s program areas include: arts and culture, economic and workforce development, education, environment, neighborhoods, and youth development and social services. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Creative Fusion: Since 2008, the Cleveland Foundation has brought more than 90 accomplished or rapidly rising artists from around the world to Cleveland as part of an international arts residency program. Each year, artists from Creative Fusion cohorts are hosted by local cultural institutions during a three-month residency. Creative Fusion artists collaborate with local Cleveland artists on a commissioned project during their stay, and engage directly with the community, making strong connections and exchanges. Beginning in 2016, the program strengthened collaboration between local Cleveland artists and the visiting artists by focusing each Creative Fusion cohort along a theme, those have included Creative Fusion: Data Edition, Creative Fusion: Composer Edition, The Madison Residencies as part for FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, Creative Fusion: Cuba Edition, and Creative Fusion: Street Art Edition. More information about Creative Fusion: Waterways to Waterways can be found at, and by following #CreativeFusionCLE across Cleveland Foundation and host organization social media properties.