Sunday, November 30, 2008

International Center in Valparaiso

International center coming to Valpo

We know this family, and are proud of their efforts ... Go Davisons!

VALPARAISO | Duane Davison and a small group of volunteers worked off their Thanksgiving meals Friday by ripping out the flooring in a 128-year-old house just east of Morgan Boulevard along the north side of Lincolnway. (sorry for bad photo, NWI Times has the worst photos and tries to sell them online ... another case of totally misunderstanding online media)

Davison purchased the house at 309 E. Lincolnway a year and a half ago to fulfill his dream of opening an international center that will bring together Valparaiso University, the local community and international residents of the area.

Where others now see unfinished floors, piles of construction debris and exposed beams, Davison sees a variety of ethnic groups hosting cooking, language and dance classes. He also envisions being able to stop in on any given evening to find discussions on current events or a group of sports fans watching an international soccer game.

"Sports are another thing that brings people together internationally," Davison said.

The Valparaiso International Center is not slated to open its doors until early spring, but those who are curious can take a peek Friday through Sunday when the facility hosts a fair-trade craft fair. The fair runs 4-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Davison said the idea of the center stems from the eight and half years he spent travelling through 80 countries before settling down in Valparaiso with his wife, Frieda, and four children. He said he wants his children to have a more broad cultural experience than they otherwise may have in the area.

Unlike other cultural centers in the region that focus on one ethnic group, Davison said the VIC will be open to all. He hopes to have a different cultural group take over the center each month and offer their own unique experience.

He is excited about the downtown location, which is accessible by pedestrians and those relying on the local V-Line bus service.

"We want people to open up and have a dialogue with each other," Davison said.