The reach of ethnic media

(Canscene) –July, 2007 and the 46th Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition came and went, as always a great draw and bigger than ever in the number of works displayed.

Once again it reminded me of the potential of our ethnic media, at the time of the first exhibitions largely confined to perhaps 75 to 100 European-language newspapers and a handful of radio broadcasts on English and French language radio stations. Multicultural/multilingual stations had not yet arrived.

As a director of the exhibition, then held at the Four Seasons Motor Hotel, I was responsible for publicizing it. Since many of the 100-plus artists were recent immigrants, in 1962 I researched their origins and sent a news release to appropriate ethinc newspapers. Two of the exhibitors were the Polish husband and wife team of Roman and Mary Scneider, he a ceramicist, sha a watercolourist. They were a lovable, mdle-aged couple

Fast forward to early spring of 1963. The hotel clerk called me and aked me whether I ould help identify a Mary Schneider who had received a letter addressed to her care of the hotel

The letter was froma friend of Mary’s. They’d had a lunchen date in Warsaw on the day Hitler invaded Poland and the consequent air raid prevented their meeting. Mary and Roman escaped Poland and eventually reached Canada where they opened an art school.

Mary Schneider was overjoyed to receive the letter and by mail the two friends were reunited after 23 years. Seems the press release had been picked up b newspaper in Poland.

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