Veteran members anchor new Art Talkers officer team

ArtTalkers held elections on Saturday June 13th. Founding member Olga Pogorelova will continue as VP education.  Graham Seibert will serve as president and Valentina Karabayeva as VP membership. Rounding out the team are two longtime members from our British Council days and before, Victor Fursov VP PR and Liz Korotchenko, Secretary, and newer member Nataliya Panchenko as Sergeant at Arms.  Olga Boskeno will serve temporarily as Treasurer. 

Since most of the new team have served as officers before, we have only one departing officer to thank, Kostya Orekhov our VP Membership.  Tanya will continue to serve as Immediate Past President, and Lucy Povaliy as Past Past President.  Having these founding members actively involved is a source of strength and stability for  our club.  Thanks!

Published in: on June 16, 2009 at 4:34 am  Comments (1)  

Paganini tops Art Talkers February 7 bill

On February 7, we had only one speaker who was an ATM speaker Olga Pogorielova. She told about Niccolo Paganini (October 27, 1782 – May 27, 1840), an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist and composer. Olga brought two musical compositions on CD to supplement her speech. The beginning of her speech was accompanied by Caprice No. 24 in A minor, being one of Paganini’s best known compositions. Olga ended her speech with the words from the lyrics of the song “A road without end” (the Soviet movie “Niccolo Paganini”, 1982), and then people listened to a fragment of this song.

Mark Taylor served as toastmaster. Graham Seibert as Table Topics host recycled an idea from last week’s EBA meeting: explain to a six-year-old where the wind comes from, or why there have to be both boys and girls.

We had several guests: Valentina, Natalia, Kate, Masha, Helena, Pavel, and a special treat, Sasha, the President of Toastmasters Lviv.

This week we met in the library’s cozy back room. There was space enough for everybody, but not much allowance for growth. Next week we intend to meet at Khreshetik 44. Please check back about Thursday for confirmation.

Published in: on February 7, 2009 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

December 27 holiday party

We emerged like groundhogs from the Zhitomirskaya Metro, blinking in attempting to locate the Vostoki Veranda. It was exactly where it was supposed to be, but it had no signs whatsoever to indicate it was a restaurant. Once inside, it was a delight. An excellent choice.

People kept arriving long after 11 o’clock. It was wonderful to see familiar faces such as Jane, and Masha again. Olga pulled together a program that was imaginative and extremely well suited to both the physical layout and the Oriental theme of the restaurant. We played word games with the animals of the Chinese zodiac, exchanged wishes with each other for the new year, and made origami swans.

Published in: on December 28, 2008 at 9:28 am  Leave a Comment  

November 30. If your heart aches….

From Heart To Heart…


                                            “If we fail to dare, if we don’t try,

                                            then the next generation will  reap the harvest

                                            of our indifference…”            


I was deeply impressed during the auction at “Art-Talkers”. The aim of the event was to collect money for the benefit of the Fastiv orphanage, to be able to invite the children to visit Kyiv and enjoy its places of interests – museums or theaters.


The meager attendance at the library of arts was not promising.  Just a handful of members, librarians and guests … As a rule, charity  auctions gather volunteers who have great desire to help those in need. Anyway, optimistic Levon Petrosyan with his charming smile, who has great talent as an auctioneer, inspired the audience to bid generously for the auction items.


What was sold at the auction? Books with poetry and prose, CDs, pictures and souveniers. The meeting was conducted in a usual form – with Timer, Ah-Counter and Grammarian. And the phrase of the day was “From Heart to Heart’. And the mission  of the auction was deep – to open our hearts…


And we succeeded! We gathered 700 hryvnas! If you ask how it could happen, I would reply without hesitation: our souls were ready for doing goodfrom heart to heart.


Great thanks to the librarians who presented a small booklet about literature of artificial hunger in Ukraine. A friend of our club Sergey Grebenyuk brought a very useful book of typical English phrases. Yulia Usova, Tanya Knyazeva and Olya Pogorelova prepared books, pictures and CDs.  To our delight, in an hour all the items were sold.


Great thanks to everybody who took part in the auction and donated money for children.

I hope that sooner or later we’ll make a new step in doing good – from heart to heart.


Lucy Povaliy



Published in: on December 2, 2008 at 7:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Our first meeting at the Art Library, November 8

Art Talkers Toastmasters meeting Saturday, November 8, 2008. Tanya Knyazeva presided over the first meeting in a trial location, the Art Library, Povitroflotskiy Prospect 10. Getting there was not difficult. Kostya and I made a short walk from the Vokzalna Metro.


The physical layout is interesting, presenting both challenges and advantages. We shared the room with a few library patrons on computers. The people at the library, led by Svetlana, were the picture of courteous hosts. The chairs/desks are arranged a little bit irregularly, designed for library research and not for meetings. It was a bit of a trick to navigate through them, and we were sitting little bit further apart than we normally do. We were pleased to have several members of Toastcrackers with this, including Sergei, Artem, President Timur, and past president Olga, who served as grammarian.


We made a pretty good demonstration for the staff of the library. There was only one prepared speech, by Liz Korotschenko. She spoke on the Picture of Oscar Wilde to describe Oscar Wilde’s rather wildlife. His amazing gift with words became evident when he was a student at Trinity College. Although he had no lady love himself, when his classmates found what a wonderful writer he was, he soon had a brisk business writing letters to their girlfriends. It eventually succeeded for him as well, and he married and had a couple of children. The product of an unhappy childhood, he wasn’t given to fatherhood, left his wife and fell into an affair with a young man, which led to his spending time in jail on a morals conviction and a rather ruined life.


Yulia Usova gave a talk entitled art and business, in which she discussed the many relationships that are possible between businesses and artists they choose to support. They can sponsor individual artists, sponsor museums, sponsor collections, and use art in their business. Graham Seibert was Table Topics Master asking. His topic was Aesop’s fables, and he read for fables and asked our guests to respond to them.


We will be back at the art library next week, and there is a strong possibility it will become our permanent meeting place.



Published in: on November 9, 2008 at 6:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Meeting notes for October 18

Our president Tatiana Knyazeva chose an autumn theme as Toastmaster today. We think of change, and our mortality is brought to mind by the falling of the leaves and the coldness in the air.

Oksana Fedorinenko told us about herself in her icebreaker. Modestly enough, she said 22 years doesn’t give you the vast amount of material about which to speak. Still, she has managed to spend six years in college and get her degree in computers and cybernetics while holding down a job.

Elizaveta Korotchenko held us in suspense for seven minutes as she talked about folk dancing in Italy, Ireland, and Ukraine. There are apparently two versions of the Tarantella, one of which is a stately dance, and the other frenzied attempt to ward off tarantulas. We also learned that in Ireland the English and Irish landlords used to get together and have balls at which their servants would dance. Good as they were, there were no professional dancers among them, three centuries ago.

Lilia Khalikova told a sad story of an artist’s unrequited love here in Kiev. The poor man was invited down from Russia to fulfill a commission, fell in love with his sponsor’s wife, but found his great disappointment that she was loyal to her husband and her husband to her. He lost his commission, went mad, and died early.

As table topics master, Lucy Povaliy brought a bag of tricks. Bartlett’s quotations, a picture, a decorated jar of seeds, and a copy of “the picture of Dorian Gray.” Kostya, but figuratively knock the ball out of the park in last week’s table topics, amazed us again. He remembered the book very well, and was able to describe the moral of the story as if he had rehearsed the speech a dozen times. Mustafa Bas, Graham Seibert, and Anna Zagornaya offered credible performances, but stood in Kostya’s shadow.

Kostya also delivered our only bit of art news, a presentation tomorrow on engineering and design.

Published in: on October 18, 2008 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

September 27 meeting in photos

Technology keeps improving.  A Toastmaster at Dnipro Hills introduced your webmaster to Google’s Picasa product for displaying pictures.  It is fantastic.  Here is a link to the best of the pictures from our meeting.

With pictures telling the story, there is not much else to say.  Kostya led a wonderful table topic session on relationships.  He asked questions about family relationships, relationships with one’s spouse, relationships and organizations like Toastmasters, relationships at work, and others I do not recall.  His questions evoked the kind of impromptu speeches we love to hear in Toastmasters.  The respondents were generally able to organize good answers and stay within the time limit.


President Tania presented Art news that is printed in the weekend magazine, a copy of which was in the recent Korrespondent newspaper.   I (Graham) mentioned that I had been to the Jewish studies offices at Kiev Mogilya university where they have several wonderful books on Jewish art from the early decades of the last century.

The meeting ended with a request for people to sign up for speeches next week, and there was already a fair agenda shaping up by the time we left.

Published in: on September 27, 2008 at 3:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

September 13 meeting notes

With Tanya still on the road, Olga presided over the meeting, with Lucy serving as Toastmaster.  She fills that role extraordinarily well.  We had four guests: Славик, Денис, Елена and Оксана.


Ekaterina Mezentzeva’s icebreaking speech did exactly what it should.  It told us who she is, where she is from, and what she is looking forward to in the future.  She was born on Valentine’s Day and 14 is her lucky number.


Valentina Karabaeva’s seventh speech focused again on the differences between men and women.  The seventh speech emphasizes research, and she had done her is thoroughly!  She had wonderful quotes and poems, as well as citations from learned journals from Harvard and elsewhere.  Her bottom line is that men and women are different.  We need to understand the differences, overcome them and learn to love them.


Yuriy chose technology as the theme for our table topics. 


First he asked Graham whether or not the Internet represented a threat to society.  Yes!  concurred Graham.  It is just like Valentina said in her talk.  Men and women have a hard enough time getting together in person.  Physically isolating ourselves in our bedrooms as we communicate by blogs does not represent social progress.  It shields us from the hard work of getting along with other people, especially people of the opposite sex.


Next he asked Masha whether or not cell phones represented real progress.  That is a hard question to think about; they’re such an integral part of our lives.  Masha discoursed well on the pros and cons, and concluded that on the whole they are good thing.


Kostya was unequivocal on the value of television.  It is terrible.  He called it the stupid box.  It wastes our time.  He says that children should not be exposed to it until they are at least seven years old, time enough to develop some resistance.


Olga doesn’t use an alarm clock.  They’re not a bad thing; they’re not a good thing.  To her they’re not a necessary thing.


Lucy told us she is devoting a lot of effort to finding a new place to meet.  Encourage everybody to keep an eye on the website for a new meeting location.  And that was the end of the meeting.  Well-organized and on time.

Published in: on September 14, 2008 at 4:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

September 6 Meeting Notes

Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”  ArtTalkers never seems to have a short meeting.  With only one scheduled speaker, we still managed to fill our time beautifully this lovely Saturday morning. 


As has been true all summer, people continued to arrive after the meeting and started and we wound up with a pretty appreciable crowd for a beautiful Saturday morning in late summer.  You can see it in our pictures


Olga Pogorelova filled in as president and also served as timer.  Choosing as are our ah-counter Valya, who just got her degree in education, fit Toastmaster Sergei Obukhov’s “back to school” theme perfectly.  Yuri was our grammarian.


Since he was the only scheduled speaker, Graham Seibert asked for a couple of extra minutes to explain his philosophy of PowerPoint.  He then used it to lead us through a presentation about his month with the Kayapó Indians in the Amazon Valley.


Liz Korotchenko chose “the future” as her table topics theme.  Sergei Plyasov presented his vision of the world in 2050.  Ukraine may or may not be here, but Ukrainians will!  Our guest from Toastcrackers, Zhenia (Eugene?) got what appeared to be as easier question: what would his own future be like?  He has explored several alternatives in three universities and it sounds as though he will be as surprised as anybody at where he finds himself in 20 years.  Lucy is sure that the club will thrive and grow, though she is not sure how long she will be able to stay with us.  Nastya got an interesting question: “does the future belonged to people who believe in their dreams?”  Yes, as long as they dream the right things — friendship and peace.  Lastly, Anya’s guest Alexei offered a positive view of the world many years from now, a world of collective consciousness, higher spiritual values, and greater happiness.


Alexei and Lucy spoke on “Art news,” upcoming art shows.  Lucy recommends that we read Afficha and What’s On, and she gave a glowing account of the art show currently at the Fulbright office, Khrushchevskovo 4.  Graham added that each presentation lasts a month; there will be a new show opening October 3.


Olga reminded us that we pay our dues in September.  It amounts to $36 for six months, payable to our Treasurer, Yuri Karabach.


After the evaluations, we adjourned.  Just in the nick of time, as always.

Published in: on September 8, 2008 at 3:55 am  Leave a Comment  

ArtTalkers is a Distinguished Toastmasters Club

ArtTalkers is a distinguished Toastmasters club.  Lucy Povaliy presented the ribbon, earned during her presidency, to Tania Knyazeva.  Tanya then explain to us how a club or earns such distinctions.  There are several factors, among them the number of new members, the number of members who had advance to new levels by completing ten speeches within a year, and punctuality and paying dues to the international.

Yuri speaks on PAEI

Yuri speaks on PAEI



Yuri Karbasch spoke on a business book which had transported him.  The theme is that every business needs a producer, an administrator, an entrepreneur, and an integrator.  The producer is rather like an executive, the administrator makes sure that it operates effectively, the entrepreneur is on the lookout for new directions, and the integrator ensures that all of the parts work smoothly together.  The key insight is that it is rare for one individual to embody all of these abilities.  The business usually depends on multiple leaders who complement each other’s strengths and make up for each other’s weaknesses.


You know a table topic session is successful when every speaker rises to the occasion.  It is doubly so when it’s so aptly reflects the purpose of our club.  Olga Pogorielova asked six members to argue both sides of three questions concerning art.  Should it be subject to government censorship?  Should it be funded by government?  Should it be promoted by government?  She concluded by asking a professional artist, Yulia Kostereva, to give her opinions on all three questions.


Just as we have adjusted to the very unique acoustics at the Center for Contemporary Art, summer is drawing to a close.  We will meet there on the 16th, skip a week for Independence Day, and meet again on the 30th.  After that we will probably be back at the British Council.



Published in: on August 10, 2008 at 7:58 am  Leave a Comment