A special group of Detroit-area young women and men enjoyed the once-in-a-lifetime experience of meeting Muhammad Ali in person, thanks to an educational program sponsored by the Park West Foundation, in association with Park West Gallery. Park West Gallery founder Albert Scaglione and his wife Mitsie accompanied the young Detroiters to Louisville to visit with the international boxing legend at the city’s acclaimed Muhammad Ali Center.
~ Written by Mitsie Scaglione ~
Our visit to the Muhammad Ali Museum in Louisville, Kentucky was multi-faceted. I have so many wonderful memories of that trip, some highlights of which were:
1. Touring the Museum—a tribute not only to Muhammad Ali’s career but also to his life.
2. Seeing the installation by artist Simon Bull—his creative depictions of Ali capture the man and his emotions.
3. Bringing eleven of our foster girls and boys from our Park West Foundation in Detroit to the museum, where they had the opportunity to learn about Ali’s life, from his humble beginnings to the present.
Ali’s delightful wife, Lonnie, accompanied us as the spokeswoman for her husband. Due to Muhammad Ali’s health issues, we weren’t sure if he would be able to visit with us at the museum. I recall that the Park West group was standing around admiring Simon Bull’s paintings of Ali, when a coordinator from the Museum approached us.
Artist Simon Bull stands in front of a series of his paintings depicting Muhammad Ali, all of which are on permanent display at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville and are exclusively available for purchase from Park West Gallery.
Photo ©Park West Gallery, 2010
The guide informed us that Mr. Ali would be with our group shortly. As I reflect back, I realize it was a large feat for Ali to make such an exception to be with us. Our boys and girls were thrilled! One of our foster girls had her baby with her and Ali asked if he could hold it. Lonnie expressed to us how much her husband loves children. From the picture below you can see that was evident.
The late youth mentor and anti-violence activist Weusi Olusola, artist Simon Bull, Albert and Mitsie Scaglione along with Park West Foundation youths visit with The Champ, Muhammad Ali. Photo ©Park West Gallery, 2010
After our visit to the Museum, Lonnie invited us for a visit to their home. As you can see from the photo, Simon Bull’s dynamic paintings have a prominent spot hanging on their walls.
Our Park West Foundation will always be eternally thankful for the inspiring visit to the Muhammad Ali Center and to Ali himself for being there for our girls and boys. The visit continues to have a great impact on all of our lives.
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The Simon Bull Collection of Muhammad Ali artwork is available for purchase exclusively through Park West Gallery and our cruise art auctions at sea. Please visit parkwestgallery.com for more information.