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Culturally Speaking

By Cornelia Seckel
ART TIMES May/ June 2011

THIS ISSUE marks the end of 27 years of publishing ART TIMES and we look forward to beginning our 28th year publishing in print every other month and online each month. Take a look at our ever evolving and growing website as there are new essays and resources uploaded each month. Become a “fan” of the ART TIMES Facebook page and keep up on more frequent news and information and use that page to announce your events and news.

In ART TIMES online during April, I wrote about a number of things in my Culturally Speaking column: “Crowns” by Regina Taylor at the Capitol Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY where their current (World Premiere) show is “Kingdom of the Shore” by Terence Lamude. Capital Repertory Theatre is now in collaboration with Proctors and it is their staff handling ticket sales & PR • the opening reception for the Carolyn Haeberlin exhibit at Woodstock School of Art (WSA) and obit for Robert Angeloch, artist, Woodstock teacher and co-founder of the WSA • Susan B. Phillips’ show at the Thaddeus Kwiat Projects in Saugerties (that show is over but you can still see her work at Unison Learning Center in New Paltz and at the Doghouse Gallery in Saugerties, NY along with some other members of the 122 year old National Association of Women ArtistsDawn Howkinson Siebel and Michael Fattizzi’s exhibit at Oriole 9 in Woodstock, NY where currently hangs work by Mary Anne Erickson. Online during March and April was a critique by Raymond J. Steiner of Eva van Rijn’s exhibition at Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie, NY - the former home of Samuel Morse, inventor and artist- where currently you can see photographs by Robert Lipgar.

Additionally I made 2 short videos, one of the Harriet Tannin Retrospective at the Woodstock Artists Association Museum in Woodstock, NY and the other of The International Women's Day Celebration Walk across the Walkway in Poughkeepsie. The videos are available on arttimes YouTube channel and the other pictures and comments can be found online in the list of previously printed and uploaded Culturally Speaking columns or in the archived issues of ART TIMES. Since Jan/Feb 2009, issues of ART TIMES, in pdf form, are available on our website www.arttimesjournal.com

(L to R) Kerry Henderson, Maria Todaro, Louis Otey at St Gregory’s Episcopal Church, Woodstock, NY introducing VoiceFest 2011 a four-day festival (Aug. 4-7) of opera, gospel, baroque, choral, and world music presented in Phoenicia, NY.
(L to R) Kerry Henderson, Maria Todaro, Louis Otey at St Gregory’s Episcopal Church, Woodstock, NY introducing VoiceFest 2011 a four-day festival (Aug. 4-7) of opera, gospel, baroque, choral, and world music presented in Phoenicia, NY.

The March Gala Concert at St Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock, NY was an introduction to VoiceFest 2011, a four-day festival (August 4-7) of opera, gospel, baroque, choral, and world music presented under the stars and in various town venues in Phoenicia, NY. The centerpiece of the Festival will be Mozart’s Don Giovanni, conducted by Metropolitan Opera maestro, Steven White, featuring Louis Otey and Kerry Henderson. The 3 founders of this fabulous VoiceFest sang at the church and what an exciting afternoon it was. Maria Todaro- Mezza Soprano, Louis Otey- Baritone and Kerry Henderson- Baritone were accompanied at the piano by David Mayfield and Babette Hierholzer. These performers have gorgeous voices and treated us to a program of works by Lilburn, Puccini, Mitch Leigh, Cole Porter, Bellini, Mozart, Vivaldi, Wagner, Rossini and Goldrich. What a program — delicious. The audience was enchanted as it had been last August when over 3000 people attended the festival.  This year they have added an additional day to the festival and there will be an orchestra. I went to several of the performances and made a short video of the program I attended (see arttimes channel on YouTube or online at arttimesjournal.com). Hearing world-class opera stars singing just 10 feet away was so very thrilling. Last year I wanted to attend every performance but just couldn’t manage the time. Take a look at the site, order tickets, as they will be sold out quickly, and send a donation to support this fabulous festival and these outstanding performers who are adding such joy to the cultural offerings of our region. www.phoeniciavoicefest.com

It was thrilling to go to a performance of Martha Graham Dance Company’s 85th Anniversary Season. After a welcome and program introduction by artistic director Janet Eilber, the audience—we were at the Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, the Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center— was treated to Cave of the Heart and Deaths and Entrances both Graham Classics and Chasing, a world premier by choreographer Bulareyaung Pagarlava that was commissioned by the Martha Graham Center and created as a companion piece to Deaths and Entrances. The Martha Graham Dance Company was founded by Martha Graham in 1926 and is the oldest modern dance company in the world. It presents the classic Graham repertory and new choreography in its home city of New York and on tour and features an international roster of today's most talented dance artists. The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance is the global center for instruction in the Martha Graham Technique and has provided instruction to thousands of students including such luminaries as Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, Rudolf Nureyev & Mikhail Baryshnikov. Martha Graham Resources oversees licensing of the Graham repertory, access to archives that comprise one of the world's great collections of dance history, and arts education programs that travel with the Company around the world. See the current schedule at marthagraham.org. As a teacher of Dance at the Eastman School of Music her experimentations proved to be the sparks of a new mode of dance that revolutionized theories of movement in all of the performing arts. For Graham, ballet’s concern with flow and grace left behind more violent traditional passions. I remember when she received the Gold Medal of Honor for Dance at the National Arts Club, NYC the year before she died. In her acceptance she said “it’s about time that Dance is acknowledged and not treated like a third rate art form”. She had a lasting and deep impact on American art and culture and her company continues her work and reaches out to new audiences by educational and community partnerships.

Dave Campbell (R) speaking with a visitor to his exhibit at the historic Adams Horse Stable in Saugerties, NY
Dave Campbell (R) speaking with a visitor to his exhibit at the historic Adams Horse Stable in Saugerties, NY

I always like to see innovative venues to show art and so when I got an invitation to the historic Adams Horse Stable in Saugerties, NY I headed over. Fritz Haller is a financial planner who decided that so many of his clients were artists and that many people wanted to see this mid 19th century example of Gothic Revival architecture which housed fine ice racing horses that he would open his walls for some of his clients to show their work. Dave Campbell, a native of Saugerties showed landscapes and illustrations from his “Beginners Guide to Fishing” done in ink, line and wash. I bought one of Dave’s books and hope to do some fishing here and not wait till I get to Florida.

I went to the Powerhouse Party that introduced the upcoming 2011 season of Vassar & New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theatre, a place for people in theatre to work without commercial pressures. The season opens June 24 and concludes on July 31. 40 student apprentices from across the country will participate in this 27th season taking part in the 2 mainstage productions (Patricia Wettig’s “F2M” and Rob Handel’s “A Maze”), 3 musical workshops, 2 play workshops and 10 staged readings over an intense 8-week summer residency on the Vassar College campus in Poughkeepsie, NY. Student writers, directors, designers, actors all have a chance to work with professionals and the professionals get to explore new ideas and methods in a safe environment. It’s like summer camp where one can learn new things and stretch their abilities. Vassar wanted to establish a training program for young actors at the same time New York Film and Stage was looking for a nurturing environment for working actors, filmmakers and writers. It was and continues to be an excellent cooperative effort with many former apprentices having gone on to major careers and recognition in film and stage. Edward Cheetham is the Producing Director of the Powerhouse Program and Johanna Pfaelzer is the Artistic Director of New York Stage and Film. More at www.powerhouse.vassar.edu.

The newly remodeled Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY opened with the exhibit Thomas Rowlandson: Pursuits and Pleasures in Georgian England.
The newly remodeled Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY opened with the exhibit Thomas Rowlandson: Pursuits and Pleasures in Georgian England.

Vassar College also reopened the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center with the exhibit Thomas Rowlandson: Pursuits and Pleasures in Georgian England. Rowlandson (1757-1827) was an English satirist, printmaker, and painter who commented via his watercolors, prints and drawings on his social and political worlds—the worlds of the West End, Covent Garden, and London politics in the late Georgian era. His work surely gives us a look at his world. The exhibit will be on view thru June 12. The galleries were reconfigured so that there are rooms for their large modern collection (even still only a small percentage of the holdings are on view), a gallery for student curators, a gallery for small works not usually seen, and a project gallery for work that the faculty is requesting to be on view for research by their students. The Prestel Museum Guide series has just published the new book The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College: The History and the Collection. This makes the Art Center the first U.S. art museum and the only U.S. college or university museum to have its own Prestel Guide. You can learn more about the collection and Art Center at www.fllac.vassar.edu

The Pen and Brush, an organization for women in the visual, literary and performing arts since 1894 is located in NYC and has numerous exhibitions and programs. Coming up is a Multi-Media exhibit opening on May 5th. A while ago I stopped in to deliver papers and found myself at an opening for Salon des Refusés. Members submitted work that had been rejected over the past year. It was a fun show and the work very competent. You just don’t know what a judge or jury will choose and although it is hard not to take it personally, these members had a chance to have fun and still get their “rejects” seen. Stop by for a visit to the gallery they are just off 5th on 10th Street and at penandbrush.org.

Editor Lauren Tamraz wrote to us about Awosting Alchemy, begun in 2010 when she was becoming frustrated with sending her own writing out and hoping for the best. She was seeing a lot of experimental, high-quality websites, journals and projects being developed by young people and realized she could be more effective as an editor and producer than a “mere faceless writer”. She wrote that the intension is to focus on short-ish works and stunning art, with preference going to Hudson Valley locals and/or talented young writers of the Internet with quality being the main deciding factor. They host events, contests and maintain a blog. Take a look at awostingalchemy.com.           

Stephen A. Fredericks at carrierpigeonmag.com sent me the first two issues of a new magazine, Carrier Pigeon: Illustrated Fiction and Fine Art, that he recently launched with some other artists, which features fine art, illustration, and fiction that showcases writers, artists, illustrators, and one designer. Carrier Pigeon springs from the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop and The New York Society of Etchers (along with other local arts organizations), with each issue containing at least one original artwork signed by the contributing artist.

The Mark Gruber Gallery is celebrating 35 years of bringing excellent regional artists to the art-loving community of New Paltz, NY and the Hudson Valley with artists including: Hardie Truesdale, Will Cotton, Charles Fazzino, Kevin Cook, John Variano, Keith Gunderson, Jane Bloodgood Abrams, Marlene Wiedenbaum, Thomas Locker and trends like the Cow Shows and Jacques Torres Chocolates. The gallery continues its efforts to support the New Hudson River School of painters—bringing you works in the classical, academic tradition right through an impressionistic interpretation. Mark does museum quality, affordable custom framing—using quality materials and 35 years of experience, no one else can compare. Visit in person or online markgrubergallery.com.

See you out and about and don’t forget to write about your events and news on ART TIMES Facebook page.