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Edward Parker

owner, EEP Creative Arts Complex, Cleveland, OH

Master artist, educator, and entrepreneur Edward Everett Parker was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Hill District on Bentley Drive on February 7, 1941. His parents were Augustine Washington and David Nathaniel Parker. When he was in elementary school, his parents moved Edward and his brother David to Toledo, Ohio, where he studied at the Toledo Museum of Art as a child. Parker attended the Lincoln Elementary School and graduated from Scott High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in art from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio and a Master's Degree in Art Education, with an emphasis in sculpting, from Ohio's Kent State University. He also completed additional graduate level work at the University of Illinois and at Ife in West Africa. Parker taught art education in the Cleveland Public Schools, serving as the head of the Art Department at Audubon Jr. High for a number of years. He later attained the position of Professor and Arts Coordinator at the Western Campus of Cuyahoga Community College and taught as a fulltime professor for nearly twenty years. Parker is the founder and director of the Snickerfritz Cultural Workshop for the Arts, Inc., located in the Edward E. Parker Creative Arts Complex in East Cleveland, Ohio. The complex, which also includes gallery and classroom space, meeting rooms, and a number of small businesses, is housed in a converted nursing home that sat vacant and dilapidated for seventeen years before Parker purchased and rehabbed the facility. His artistic achievements include numerous one-man and group shows in Ohio and other states and commissions from Cleveland's Cuyahoga Community College and Florida Memorial College, among others. His vision as an artist has long been informed by African American history and culture, and his better known works include a life-sized sculpture of the "Chicken George" character from Alex Haley's "Roots" and a celebrated series of African American clown sculptures and prints. Parker resides in East Cleveland, Ohio and has served on the Board of Trustees for the East Cleveland Library.