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CULTURALLY SPEAKING

 

By Cornelia Seckel
ART TIMES November 2008


Artists (L to R) Katharine McKenna, Eva van Rijn and Judy Abbott at their exhibit Painted Journeys On the Colorado Plateau at the newly renovated Woodstock School of Art, Woodstock, NY

How exciting to see the new renovations at the Woodstock School of Art (www.woodstockschoolofart.org). I was thrilled as Paula Nelson, President of the board of Directors and early registrar of the school when it first opened, gave me the tour of the building from the attic, now an excellent storage area to the new offices (staff no longer is banned to the winter office –a small wooden outbuilding that is now storage area), the extremely efficient heating and cooling system, and the versatile panels and window coverings that make the gallery space so lovely and extremely workable. I loved seeing the massive counter made by the wooden planks of the old counter and the old cement floor surrounded with what looked like a new wood floor but was the old, just sanded and polished. Within the same footprint, the office has been moved and workspace utilized more efficiently, the gallery seems much larger and paintings still can be clustered in more intimate viewing areas. And then there is the fabulous windows, all bringing filtered light into the newly designed space. Now with heat and air conditioning, the gallery can operate all year, supplementing the year-round schedule of daily classes in drawing, painting, composition, sculpture and printmaking, with workshops in specialized techniques under the guidance of experts in their respective fields. The bluestone and timber buildings, originally built by the Federal Government as a crafts training center before World War II, subsequently housed the summer school for the Art Students League of New York that had opened in the town of Woodstock in 1906. Artists came to the area to study and then to live, creating a large community of artists, musician, craftspeople and actors.  In 1979 the League discontinued its summer classes, and two years later The Woodstock School of Art, a non-profit organization of local artists started in 1968, took over the complex. There are accommodations for a limited number of its students in a converted barn on the premises; Drawing, Painting, Sculpture and Graphics (the most complete graphic shop in the region) Workspace is available in studios which are not otherwise in use. I was at the school to see the exhibition of work by Katharine McKenna, Judy Abbott, and Eva van Rijn. The three women were invited to participate in the Artist Residency Program at the Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, to interpret the Colorado Plateau. The current exhibit, Painted Journeys On the Colorado Plateau at the WSA stems from that residency, the work (as all work from a residency) characterizes the Colorado Plateau for present and future generations and offers Museum visitors an opportunity to see the Plateau's heritage through the voices of contributing artists. What a magnificent grouping of interpretations. The artists painted the landscape in their individual style, all carrying the strength and power of the mesas, the river, the landís varied surface, and the great unknown. The exhibit will be at the Woodstock School of Art until November 1st and then will be on exhibit at the Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, December 5th, 2008 through May 4th, 2009.

Attendees having their books signed at Raymond J. Steiner's (right) book reading at the Salmagundi Club, NYC

Raymond Steinerís readings this past month went very well and coming up he will have a book signing at the Saugerties Library on Dec. 8 at 5:30 and at The Karpeles Museum in Newburgh where he will have a solo exhibit showing approximately 40 of his landscapes. The exhibit opens on November 1, reception is Nov 8, 1:30-3 with a book reading and signing of The Mountain until 4pm. We hope you can join us. Give me a call or go to Raymondís website www.raymondjsteiner.com for more details on the exhibit and future book readings. Raymond was invited by Robert Loesch to give a book reading at Zion's United Church of Christ of Taborton, in Sand Lake and fortunately we had some time and could stop at the Sand Lake Center for the Arts (www.slca-ctp.org) which is housed in a renovated, 1835 church with a fully equipped open performing space for theatrical productions by the Circle Theatre Players, community meetings, concerts, workshops and classes. Other activities include The Squire Jacob Coffeehouse series that began in 2004 with nationally and internationally recognized artists and in the lobby a light-filled Art Gallery and reception area with changing exhibits each month by emerging young artists and established artists. During October, Raymond also gave readings at the Woodstock Art Fair, Woodstock Jewish Congregation, the Colony Cafť in Woodstock (along with other poets and writers), and at the Salmagundi Clubís Sunday Brunch in NYC.


Cliff Furcall (L)showing his handcrafted wood turnings
at the 1st Annual Woodstock Arts Fair

I am pleased to say that the 1st Annual Woodstock Arts Fair cosponsored by ART TIMES and the Woodstock Jewish Congregation was a huge success as a result of the hard work of the volunteers and the committee, as well as the fine quality arts and crafts of the vendors. Artists and craftspeople were pleased, the day was beautiful, the organization excellent, people came to look and buy — all making for an exceptional first attempt.

All Fired Up! is the biggest cultural collaboration Westchester County has ever had. 68 venues are presenting exhibitions and special events: artist talks, workshops, films, and classes that explore the many ways that clay can be transformed and molded into art forms with over 600 artists showing their work. A comprehensive brochure with all the venues and specifics is available from the Westchester Arts Council www.westarts.org and www.allfiredup.info and most every arts venue in Westchester. Strong corporate sponsorship and a lot of very hard work by the principals and volunteers at the council and arts venues are making for a very exciting and, so far extremely successful, Celebration of Clay which continues through November.

Iíve just learned about Cross River Fine Art, a group of 13 watercolorists from the Hudson River Valley who have joined together to show their diverse painting styles. All of the artists study with Betsy Jacaruso at her gallery in Red Hook, NY. For more information: 845-331-2699.

Breaking The Maya Code is a fascinating film now on DVD and available from First Run Features (firstrunfeatures.com) that follows the story of the 200 year struggle to unlock the lost secrets of this ancient civilization. It is based on archaelogist Michael Coeís book of the same name, and what an interesting story as we follow the discovery from one country to another, from ancient archaeological sites to contemporary libraries ending up with Mayan People of today along with some answers to their history.

Salmagundi Fall Art Auctions has nearly a 100-year history at the Salmagundi Club. The Club, formed in 1871 is a center for fine arts and artists and offers art classes, demonstrations, and the annual Fall and Spring art auctions (principal fund-raising events for the Club) where excellent artwork can be gotten at great bargains. The Club hosts many of their own exhibitions as well as the annual exhibits for Audubon Artists, American Artistsí Professional League, National Society of Painters in Acrylic & Casein, American Watercolor Society, National Association of Women Artists and is the sponsor of the United States Coast Guard Art Program. The galleries and fine restaurant are open to the public. Take a look at their website for the full program of events www.salmagundi.org.


(L to R) Jinx Lindenauer, Exhibition Chairwoman; Gaile Snow Gibbs, Honored Member; and Joyce Zeller, President at the Preview Reception of the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club's 112th annual Open Exhibit at the National Arts Club, NYC

The Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Clubís 112th Annual Open Exhibition at The National Arts Club is always an excellent show. Each year a preview reception is held for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Artís curators to travel within the US and study museum collections. A curator from the museum is present to speak on behalf of the other curators. At the awards dinner, always a fun affair with many artists having traveled great distances to come to the exhibit, awards are presented (The ART TIMES Award went to Jada Rowland for her oil painting Silvermoon Bakery) and the Honored Member award was presented to Gaile Snow Gibbs. Gaile has been a valued member of the CLW Board of Directors and tirelessly produced the beautiful and comprehensive catalog for the Annual Open Exhibit. Gaile is an excellent painter, her portraits fabulous. What a pleasure to see so many of her works on the Honorary Memberís Wall. When accepting the award, Gaile thanked the organization for inspiring and challenging her as an artist and expressed how truly honored she was to be hanging with such wonderful painters. The Helping Hands Award was presented to Gloria Spevacek who was surprised and happy as she accepted this honor for her efforts with the club and most specifically in creating the computer (power point) presentation of the winning paintings. Gloria, an excellent sculptor, has also served as sculpture chair.

Samuel Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz is a treasure for the Hudson Valley. Currently at the museum are Photographs by Lilo Raymond; Made by Hand: Drawings, Paintings, Photographs, and Prints from the Byrdcliffe Art Colony; Jamie Bennett: Contemplative Jeweler; Defining Art: Recent Acquisitions 2005-2007 and Reading Objects, part of an ongoing interdisciplinary series featuring works from the Museumís collection accompanied by texts written by University faculty and staff. I was particularly taken with Professor Jamie Bennettís work. He is intrinsic to the faculty of the Metal Program, a program that the University is well known for. It was a delight to see sketchbooks, a display case with fine finished work as well as 2 with failed pieces in this exhibit that shows us the process of his work. Shadow Boxes with paintings and enamels, finished Jewelry pieces, paintings, drawings, wall sculptures were among the 125+ works in the exhibit. I could have spent many hours exploring the work and can imagine how wonderful it is for students to come and study with this master metalsmith.

That is it for this month. Fall is clearly here and it is time to get ourselves ready for winter. Meanwhile, see you out and about.

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