Elfi Di Bella was born and raised in Germany. She moved to the United States as a teenager, which taught her a great deal about how to understand and adapt to new cultures and approaches. Thirty years on, Elfi Di Bella, now Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, CAPA has worked in the corporate and nonprofit worlds, devoting her career to organizations and services that make a difference in people’s lives.
Fully involved in the presentation of “Amal Walks Across America” in Columbus, Elfi Di Bella is thrilled to be part of a vibrant arts community that is committed to presenting art that brings people from all backgrounds together for shared, and often transformative, experiences.
Little Amal, the internationally celebrated 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, will be arriving in Columbus on Friday, September 22, 2023, as part of her epic 6,000-mile journey across the United States this fall.
Throughout the two-month trek, which will span more than 35 U.S. cities and towns for 100+ events, some of the country’s most influential cultural institutions and artists will come together to greet Amal and add their unique color to the rich tapestry of America’s story.
People from throughout Central Ohio are invited to greet Amal and participate in her journey through Columbus. Activities, including the opportunity to make welcome signs and love notes for Amal, as well as paper craft-making to commemorate the occasion, will begin at 5 pm in Genoa Park in Downtown Columbus.
At 6 pm, Amal will begin her Columbus journey near the U.S. Supreme Court Building and will continue across the Broad Street bridge and into Genoa Park. During her walk she’ll be joined by artists and performers from the Columbus community, including poet Sara Abou Rashed and dancers from Momentum, Thiossane West African Dance Institute, and Warithat Arabic Dance Troupe, who will share in welcoming Amal to Columbus.
“My first thoughts were that it was a creative way to bring attention to an important, worldwide humanitarian situation, and I was excited that the creators of the project were considering Columbus for part of their North American journey,” Elfi Di Bella told New Americans magazine when she first heard about the Walk With Amal in Columbus.
“CAPA is excited to present the Walk With Amal in Columbus, with our many community partners. We are serving as a lead local partner in the event, working closely with the City of Columbus and our other collaborating artists and organizations.”
Amal Walks Across America” in Columbus is presented by CAPA (Columbus Association for the Performing Arts), the City of Columbus, Mayor Andrew Ginther’s Office, Columbus City Council, Councilman Emmanuel Remy’s Office, US Together, Welcoming City, Bell Tree Productions, and Zen Genius. The event is presented with funding support from PNC Arts Alive.
Elfi Di Bella hopes for a rousing welcome from residents of Columbus.
“We know that there is a significant population of refugees, migrants, and New Americans here in Columbus, and we hope that they will come to the event and see it as the larger community reaching out and embracing them and letting them know that they are valued as important members of our community.
“We also hope many long-time area residents will share in that sense of embrace by attending and showing that they see the needs of refugees and migrants and are committed to helping meet them.”
According to Elfi Di Bella, “we hope that many people will simply want to experience a beautiful and moving piece of art that is being held for free in our city, thanks to the Walk With Amal team, the City of Columbus, PNC Arts Alive, and all of our local partners and supporters. Especially for anyone who has never seen or heard Sara Abou Rashed, Thiossane West African Dance or Momentum, they are in for a real treat.”
“I believe this is an event and an experience that people in Columbus will want to be able to say they attended and saw in person.”
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