Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer took a turn at the easel in order to help raise money for the Westerville Education Foundation. After serving 32 years in Westerville law enforcement, Morbitzer is leaving to become Superintendent of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation under newly elected Attorney General Dave Yost. He was instrumental in creating an outstanding, decades-long partnership between the Westerville Police Department and the Westerville City School District.
Twenty local celebrities and community leaders came together on Wednesday, January 23, at Otterbein University’s The Point to support the Westerville Education Foundation (WEF) by painting original pieces of artwork that will be sold for the benefit of students in Westerville City Schools.
In partnership with the Arts Council of Westerville, WEF Board member Jan Fedorenko led the group of celebrity artists to create works inspired by the theme The Sky is the Limit. Among the individuals creating masterpieces were Frankie Hejduk of the Columbus CREW, Westerville City Manager Dave Collinsworth, Westerville Mayor Craig Treneff, Westerville Board of Education President Tracy Davidson, Westerville City Schools Superintendent John Kellogg, Westerville Area Chamber President Janet Tressler-Davis, Sunrise Rotary President Gretchen Kiehl, and Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer. “Many of these leaders in our community had expressed some concern about their painting abilities, but they all bravely picked up their paintbrushes for the benefit of our students,” said WEF Executive Director Colleen Moidu. “I think they surprised themselves with the beautiful artwork they created.”
These 20 paintings, along with hundreds of other works from local professional and practicing artists, will be available for purchase at the WEF’s Annual Gala, An Artful Affair, on April 27 at the Lakes Golf and Country Club.
The evening also included an exhibit of nearly 300 pieces of student artwork that was inspired by the Columbus Crossing Borders Project. The Columbus Crossing Borders Project was brought to Westerville’s Community Culture Day on September 30, 2018, and remained for four days of student field trips in early October. The project came to Westerville through a collaboration called Westerville Crossing Borders (Westerville Education Foundation, Westerville Education Challenge, Westerville Partners for Education and Westerville Parent Council) with a mission to create awareness, understanding and connection around the diversity in Westerville City Schools.
Other celebrity artists included: Vaughn Bell, Westerville Board of Education Member and President of the Westerville Area Ministerial Association; Westerville Vice Mayor Kathy Cocuzzi; Valerie Cumming, Westerville City Council Member; Mark Hershiser, Deputy Superintendent of Westerville City Schools; Michael Heyeck, Westerville City Council Member; Dave Krebs, Noon Rotary President; Nancy Nestor-Baker, Westerville Board of Education Member; Rick Rano, Sunrise Rotary and Community Culture Day; Laurie VanBalen, Director of The Columbus Crossing Borders Project; Rick Vilardo, Westerville Board of Education Member; Michael Wettrich, President of Education First Credit Union; and Linda Wilkins, President of Westerville Arts Council.
The mission of the WEF is enrich the learning experience and broaden the minds of students in Westerville City Schools through the funding and support of innovative programming. To learn more about the organization, visit www.WestervilleEducationFoundation.com or email Colleen Moidu at ExecutiveDirector@WestervilleEducationFoundation.com. For more information about An Artful Affair, please visit www.ArtfulAffair.info. An Artful Affair is presented by Education First Credit Union and Mount Carmel St. Ann’s.