Press Releases

Roots & Shoots Concerts Series Presents Tracy Grammer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2019
Media Contact: Gina Hyams, PR Consultant (413) 629-3175

Spencertown Academy Roots & Shoots Concerts Series Presents Tracy Grammer

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Roots & Shoots Concerts Series presents contemporary folk artist Tracy Grammer on Saturday, February 22 at 8:00pm. General admission tickets ($25 public, $20 Academy members, and $10 students) may be purchased in advance via www.spencertownacademy.org and, pending availability, will be available at the door.

Grammer is renowned for her pure voice, deft guitar and violin work, and incantatory storytelling. She has recorded and performed with Joan Baez and Mary Chapin Carpenter, headlined several of the nation’s top folk festivals, including Philadelphia Folk Festival and Falcon Ridge, and enjoyed 12 consecutive years as one of folk radio’s 50 top-played artists, both solo and with the late Dave Carter. Her eleventh release, Low Tide, showcases her original songs and was Folk Alley’s #2 album of 2018 (just after John Prine at #1).

Joan Baez has said: “Tracy Grammer is a brilliant artist and unique individual. Her voice is distinctive, as is her mastery over the instruments she plays.” Mary Chapin Carpenter has said of Grammer: “Her pure voice conveys the simple truths of these songs; her gifts as a musician are like that of a painter who is a master of chiaroscuro, offering light and shadow at every turn.“

Roots & Shoots Concerts is a monthly series that showcases artists who reach back to earlier traditions in music (Americana, jazz, blues, rock, and world music) for inspiration, while incorporating more recent forms and influences of the present. Upcoming shows include Embe Esti with special guest Rob Fisch (March 21), Jim Kweskin (April 4), Rachelle Garniez (May 2), and The Kennedys (June 6).

Founded in 1972, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center and community resource serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. Housed in a landmark 1847 Greek Revival schoolhouse, the Academy is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information, please see www.spencertownacademy.org or call 518-392-3693.

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Kids Need Music Benefit Concert 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2019
Media Contact: Gina Hyams, PR Consultant (413) 629-3175

Kids Need Music Benefit Concert at Spencertown Academy

Spencertown, New York– Spencertown Academy Arts Center will host the Kids Need Music Annual Benefit Concert with acclaimed soprano Kathleen O’Mara and pianist Chris Reynolds on Sunday, November 23 at 3:00pm. Proceeds from the program of art songs, arias, and popular songs will be used to purchase band instruments to be donated to the Hudson City School District. Tickets ($25 general admission, $75 benefactor) may be purchased in advance via www.spencertownacademy.org.

Kids Need Music is a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that underprivileged schools have musical instruments for their music program. “68% of the children of Hudson are classified as underprivileged and can not afford to rent or purchase their own instrument,” says Kids Need Music President Craig Bender, who is also a member of the Spencertown Academy Music Committee. “To date, Kids Need Music has donated over 300 instruments to the Hudson schools. That’s 300 more children playing music!”

Currently pursuing a Masters in Music at Juilliard, Kathleen O’Mara has performed in such operas as The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, The Turn of the Screw, and Don Giovanni.

Chris Reynolds is a doctoral candidate at Juilliard with recent performances at Carnegie Hall and Tanglewood. He is a two-time winner of the Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital Auditions leading to recitals in Alice Tully Hall.

Founded in 1972, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center and community resource serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. Housed in a landmark 1847 Greek Revival schoolhouse, the Academy is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information, please see www.spencertownacademy.org or call 518-392-3693.

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“Artists for the Academy” Benefit Exhibition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2019
Media Contact: Gina Hyams, PR Consultant (413) 629-3175

Spencertown Academy Arts Center Presents 
“Artists for the Academy” Benefit Exhibition

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center presents “Artists for the Academy,” a special exhibition featuring donated works by more than 50 regional artists. All proceeds from sales will benefit the Academy’s building and maintenance endowment fund. On Saturday, January 11, there will be a gala opening reception from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The entrance fee of $25 can be fully credited toward art purchases. The exhibition will remain on display (with free admission) through February 2. Gallery hours will be Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets to the opening event are available in advance via www.spencertownacademy.org.

“Spencertown Academy is well on its way to complete restoration—the new roof is on, windows are being fitted in one by one, and old white paint is being stripped from the outer walls. As of now, we’re only about $150,000 away from reaching our goal for the building and maintenance endowment fund,” says Nick Van Alstine, president of the Academy’s board of directors. “To help get us there, several Academy members formed a committee—Lauren Wilkinson, Stephen Dietemann, and Gerald Seligman—to organize an art show fundraiser. We are most grateful to them and to all of the contributing artists. And, importantly for art lovers, the featured works will be offered at special, lower-than-normal prices to make the show accessible to collectors of all means.”

The exhibit will encompass fine arts, photography, ceramics, illustration, and sculpture. Participating artists include Stephanie Anderson, Karen J. Andrews, Fern T. Apfel, Carl Berg, Amy Bergeron, Arlene Boehm, Jim Brearton, William Bullard, Jennifer Clark, Norma Cohen, Pamela Dalton, Mary Anne Davis, Jeff DeLisle, Stephen Dietemann, Elizabeth DiPalma, Diane Fader, Alan Finger, Leslie Gabosh, Gail Giles, Karen Halverson, Linda B. Horn, Marta Jaremko, Marybeth Ketz, Maria Kolodziej-Zincio, Barbara Lax Kranz, Ellen Lynch, John MacGruer, Alice McGowan, Jane McWorter, Jason McWorter, Liz Nealon, Moira O’Grady, Clarke Olsen, Marilyn Orner, Rick Patterson, Andrew Pellettieri, Valerie Richmond, Mary Ellen Riell, Lynn Rothenberg, Julia Rothenberg, Mary Ellen Riell, Liz Sample, Joel Schiller, Jody Lynn Schoenfeld, Gerald Seligman, Laura Shore, Cecilia Sinclair, Diane Smook, Amelia Toelke, Marianne Van Lent, Marlene Vidibor, Betsy Wallin, and Mike Zdeb.

Founded in 1972, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center and community resource serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. Housed in a landmark 1847 Greek Revival former schoolhouse, the Academy is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. The venue is centrally located—just 20 minutes from the Berkshires and about 35 minutes from Albany. For more information, please see www.spencertownacademy.org or call 518-392-3693.

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Folk/Blues Music Legend Geoff Muldaur

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2019
Media Contact: Gina Hyams, PR Consultant (413) 629-3175

Folk/Blues Music Legend Geoff Muldaur at Spencertown Academy

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Roots & Shoots Concerts Series presents folk/blues music legend Geoff Muldaur on Saturday, December 14 at 8:00pm. General admission tickets ($25 public, $20 Academy members, and $10 students) may be purchased in advance via www.spencertownacademy.org and, pending availability, will be available at the door.

“Geoff Muldaur was here, there, and everywhere in the ‘60s, and has kept true to his inspirations in the decades since, while expanding his vision and his reach,” says Gerald Seligman, member of the Academy’s Music Committee. “Now, he comes to Spencertown Academy in a format that best showcases his talents—solo—in an environment with the intimacy of a small folk club.”

Guitarist, singer, songwriter, composer, and arranger Muldaur is one of the great voices and musical forces to emerge from the folk, blues, and folk-rock scenes centered in Cambridge, MA and Woodstock, NY. During the 1960s and ’70s, Muldaur made a series of highly influential recordings as a founding member of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and the Paul Butterfield’s Better Days group, as well as collaborations with then-wife Maria Muldaur and other notables (Bonnie Raitt, Eric Von Schmidt, Jerry Garcia). He has composed scores for film and television, and produced off-beat albums for the likes of Lenny Pickett and the Borneo Horns and the Richard Greene String Quartet. His definitive recording of “Brazil” provided the seed for—and was featured in—Terry Gilliam’s film of the same title.

Muldaur is what’s known as a ‘musicians’ musician.’ “Geoff has always been one of my favorite singers,” says Bonnie Raitt and Loudon Wainwright III deems him “one of my musical heroes.” Richard Thompson sums up his admiration this way: “There are only three white blues singers, and Geoff Muldaur is at least two of them.”

Roots & Shoots Concerts is a monthly series that showcases artists who reach back to earlier traditions in music (Americana, jazz, blues, rock, and world music) for inspiration, while incorporating more recent forms and influences of the present. Upcoming shows include The Nields (January 18), Tracy Grammer (February 22), Embe Esti with special guest Rob Fisch (March 21), Jim Kweskin (April 4), Rachelle Garniez (May 2), and The Kennedys (June 6).

Founded in 1972, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center and community resource serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. Housed in a landmark 1847 Greek Revival schoolhouse, the Academy is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information, please see www.spencertownacademy.org or call 518-392-3693.

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Roots & Shoots Concerts 2020 Season Announcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2019
Media Contact: Gina Hyams, PR Consultant (413) 629-3175

Spencertown Academy Announces Roots & Shoots Concerts Season

Spencertown, New York– Spencertown Academy Arts Center announces its second annual Roots & Shoots Concerts season. The monthly series showcases artists who reach back to earlier traditions in music (Americana, jazz, blues, rock, and world music) for inspiration, while incorporating more recent forms and influences of the present. Running from November 2019 through June 2020, the series will feature Embe Esti with special guest Rob Fisch, Rachelle Garniez, Tracy Grammer, Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, The Kennedys, The Nields, and the Amy Ryan Band.

The 2019-2020 season will kick off with the Amy Ryan Band on Saturday, November 9 at 8:00pm. Over the past five years, the Amy Ryan Band has gained an enthusiastic following for its high-energy blend of blues, rock, and jazz. In 2015, the group won Capital Region Blues Network’s qualifying competition to represent the region at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Guitarist Richard Green saw an opportunity to join forces with a gutsy female singer with the potential to lead a great blues band. Melding Ryan’s country-blues vocals and Green’s urban blues and rock sensibilities, the band also includes bassist Dave Imbaratto, drummer Mark McKay and keyboard player Ed Stein. Their repertoire includes band adaptations of Ryan’s self-penned solo tunes, newly minted originals, and select covers.

Guitarist, singer, songwriter, composer, and arranger Geoff Muldaur will perform on Saturday, December 14 at 8:00pm. He is one of the great voices and musical forces to emerge from the folk, blues, and folk-rock scenes centered in Cambridge, MA and Woodstock, NY. During the 1960s and ’70s, Muldaur made a series of highly influential recordings as a founding member of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and the Paul Butterfield’s Better Days group, as well as collaborations with then-wife Maria Muldaur and other notables (Bonnie Raitt, Eric Von Schmidt, Jerry Garcia). He has composed scores for film and television, and produced off-beat albums for the likes of Lenny Pickett and the Borneo Horns and the Richard Greene String Quartet. His definitive recording of “Brazil” provided the seed for—and was featured in—Terry Gilliam’s film of the same title.

The nationally acclaimed folk-pop duo The Nields will perform on Saturday, January 18 at 8:00pm. Sisters Nerissa and Katryna are well into their third decade as musical partners. They have released 17 albums, had major and independent record and publishing deals, and performed with The Band, James Taylor, Dan Zanes, 10,000 Maniacs, and the Indigo Girls. Their most recent album, XVII, is both their most personal and their most community-minded. Its meditative lyrics express joy in the present and faith in the future. The songs are about the lessons The Nields hope to have learned by midlife: accepting the passage of time and the choices they’ve made, and being thankful for the moments of grace.

Contemporary folk artist Tracy Grammer will perform on Saturday, February 22 at 8:00pm. She is renowned for her pure voice, deft guitar and violin work, and incantatory storytelling. She has recorded and performed with Joan Baez and Mary Chapin Carpenter, headlined several of the nation’s top folk festivals, including Philadelphia Folk Festival and Falcon Ridge, and enjoyed 12 consecutive years as one of folk radio’s 50 top-played artists, both solo and with the late Dave Carter. Her eleventh release, Low Tide, showcases her original songs and was Folk Alley’s #2 album of 2018 (just after John Prine at #1).
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Embe Esti, with special guest jazz trumpeter Rob Fisch, will perform on Saturday, March 21 at 8:00pm. Embe Esti is the New York Capital Region’s premier intercontinental fusion band that mixes Afrobeat, North African, and other global traditions with rock, funk, and blues. Their songs combine message-based lyrics with the raw improvisation of jazz and polished writing and performances to create original soulful dance music that will get your hands clapping and feet moving. Group members include vocalist Taunya Hannibal-Williams, guitarist Scott Collins, bassist Mike Dimin, and drummer Robert Morris—all seasoned players with diverse interests and influences.

Jim Kweskin will perform on Saturday, April 4 at 8:00pm. He is the founder of the legendary 1960s Jim Kweskin Jug Band with Fritz Richmond, Geoff Muldaur, Maria Muldaur, Mel Lyman, Bill Keith, and Bruno Wolfe. Their imitators were legion, including a San Francisco jug band that became the Grateful Dead, a Los Angeles jug band that became the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and a New York jug band that became the Lovin’ Spoonful. These days, Kweskin is best known as a singer and bandleader. He is recognized as one of the best interpreters of the great American songbook, but he also created one of the bedrock guitar styles of the folk revival, adapting the ragtime-blues fingerpicking of artists like Mississippi John Hurt and Pink Anderson to the more complex chords of pop and jazz.

Back to the Roots and Shoots series by popular demand, singer-songwriter-pianist-guitarist-accordionist Rachelle Garniez will perform on Saturday, May 2 at 8:00pm. The native New Yorker is a certified free spirit who performs story songs that slip between pop, polka, country, ska, jazz, yodeling, and more. She is at home in many worlds, from busking on street corners to performing on stages around the globe. She has released six albums of original material; her influences range from Tin Pan Alley classics to Klezmer, Americana Roots, and Latin flavors. She composed the music for Taylor Mac’s “The Lily’s Revenge,” has written for jazz vocalist Catherine Russell, and has collaborated with many artists, including The Citizens Band, Thomas Dolby, and Jack White.

Folk-rock band The Kennedys will perform on Saturday, June 6 at 8:00pm. Husband and wife Pete and Maura Kennedy have traversed a broad musical landscape over more than two decades of travel across the US and UK. Starting out as members of Nanci Griffith’s Blue Moon Orchestra, the New York-based duo cites Buddy Holly and The Everly Brothers as primary influences. Their original songs, spanning more than a dozen CDs, are uplifting and encouraging. They describe their music as “a tonic to inspire and empower our better angels.”

General admission tickets to the Amy Ryan Band in November are $20 public, $15 Academy members, and $10 students. General admission tickets to all of the other concerts are $25 public, $20 Academy members, and $10 students. Tickets to the winter 2019 concerts are available now; the 2020 shows will go on sale in December. Tickets may be purchased in advance via www.spencertownacademy.org and, pending availability, will be available at the door.

Founded in 1972, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center and community resource serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. Housed in a landmark 1847 Greek Revival schoolhouse, the Academy is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information, please see www.spencertownacademy.org or call 518-392-3693.

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Juried Regional Art Exhibit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2019
Media Contact: Gina Hyams, PR Consultant (413) 629-3175

Spencertown Academy Arts Center Presents Juried Regional Art Exhibit

Spencertown, New York—Spencertown Academy Arts Center presents its sixth annual Regional Juried Art Show. On Saturday, October 5, there will be an opening reception from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and the exhibit will remain on display through October 27. This year’s theme is “In the Moment” and the guest juror is Katharine T. Carter. Gallery hours will be Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free and most of the artworks are for sale; a portion of the proceeds benefits the Academy.

“This show is about how an artist, inspired by his or her process and vision, transforms the ephemeral into an enduring work of art. We had a great response this year from many artists throughout the region,” says Leslie Gabosh, member of the Academy Curatorial Committee and this year’s coordinator of the Juried Regional Show. “The variety and quality of the selected works make for an exciting exhibit. Join us for the opening and meet the artists, whose work includes painting, sculpture, collage, drawing, mixed media, and ceramics.”

Juror Katharine T. Carter works as an artist representative, furthering the careers of artists across the country, and working with institutions, galleries, and critics to create synergistic and interdependent solutions for success in today’s contemporary art world. She has booked over 1,000 one-person exhibitions for her clients at museums, art centers, and college and university galleries. She selected pieces by 69 artists for “In the Moment” and will bestow first, second, and two honorable mention places before the exhibit opening.

The artists to be featured in the Juried Regional Art Show include Fern T. Apfe (Kinderhook, NY), Arlene Boehm (Hudson, NY), Patrick V. Brown (Valatie, NY), David Dew Bruner (Columbiaville, NY), Jennifer Clark (Great Barrington, MA), Stephanie Cohen (Lee, MA), John Cooley (Chatham, NY), Janet Cooper (Sheffield, MA), Maria T. Crespo (Philmont, NY), Mary O. Davidson (South Egremont, MA), David George Deutsch (Kinderhook, NY), Christian J. Dewailly (Ghent, NY), Stephen Dietemann (Great Barrington, MA), Elizabeth DiPalma (Chatham, NY), Mary Jo Downey (Alplaus, NY), Diane Fader (Kinderhook, NY), Mary A. Flinn (Ghent, NY), Susan Gilbert (Monterey, MA), Gail Giles (Chatham, NY), Gary Glinski (Schenectady, NY), Michel Goldberg (Freehold, NY), Robin Guthridge (North Chatham, NY), Eden Hart (Catskill, NY), Valerie Hoffman (Elizaville, NY), Adrian C. Holmes (Richmond, MA), Linda B. Horn (Spencertown, NY), Karen Anne Hummel (Stuyvesant, NY), Marta Jaremko (Delmar, NY), Jennifer Johnson (Hillsdale, NY), ML Kammel (Tyringham, MA), Esther Koslow (Hillsdale, NY), Mary Delaney Krugman (Spencertown, NY), Barbara Lennox (Albany, NY), Alice McGowan (South Egremont, MA), Sandra L. Moore (Claverack, NY), AJ Nadel (Germantown, NY), Bob Newman (Spencertown, NY),Wendy Nooney (Albany, NY), Nancy O’Hara (Germantown, NY), Marilyn Orner (South Egremont, MA), Olivia J. Padrusch (Pittsfield, MA), Andrew Pellettieri (Kinderhook, MA), Susan Petry (Hillsdale, NY), Chris Reynolds (Albany, NY),Valerie Richmond (Hillsdale, NY), Julia Johnson Rothenberg (Canaan, NY), Anthony Ruscitto (Schenectady, NY), Arlene Santana (Stuyvesant, NY), Anita D. Schermerhorn (Nassau, NY), Joel Schiller (Chatham, NY), Randall Schmit (Hudson, NY), Laura Shore (Altamont, NY), Cecelia Sinclair (Hudson, NY), Elizabeth Spangler (Pittsfield, MA), George Spencer (Kinderhook, NY), Ilene B. Spiewak (West Stockbridge, MA), Lucy Swope (Hudson, NY), Rose Tannenbaum (Great Barrington, MA), Kim E. Tateo (Troy, NY), Theresa M. Terry (Austerlitz, NY), Marianne Van Lent (Athens, NY), Rudy Vavra (Rhinebeck, NY), Marlene Vidibor (Ghent, NY), Betsy Wallin (Kinderhook, NY), Celeste Watman (Otis, MA), Steven Wildermuth (Ghent, NY), Barbara Willner (Chatham, NY), Nan Wilson (Albany, NY), and Christi L. Wright (Niverville, NY).

Founded in 1972, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center and community resource serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital Region. Housed in a landmark 1847 Greek Revival schoolhouse, the Academy is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information, please visit our website at www.spencertownacademy.orgor call 518-392-3693.

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“Curator as Artist II” Exhibit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2019
Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-464-2851

Spencertown Academy Arts Center Presents “Curator as Artist II” Exhibit

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center presents “The Curator as Artist II” exhibit featuring mixed media collages, paintings, ceramics, and photographs by Academy gallery curators Norma Cohen, Leslie Gabosh, Barbara Lax Kranz, Moira E. O’Grady, and Lynn Rothenberg. On Saturday, July 20, there will be an opening reception from 4:00p.m. to 6:00p.m. and the show will remain on display through August 11. Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00p.m. to 5:00p.m. Admission is free and the artworks are for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Academy.

“To reward our diligent and dedicated volunteer Gallery Committee, every two years we host a show of their work. All of our curators are accomplished artists in their own right and not eligible to participate in the shows they curate,” says Madaline Sparks, vice president of the Academy Board. “This is our way of thanking them for the hard work of mounting multiple shows each year as well as a chance for the community to get to know them through their individual artistic endeavors.”

Norma Cohen has an unabashed love of color. “I tend to depict subjects in an environment that encapsulates, creating an intricate puzzle of shape, pattern, color, and texture,” she says. She often works with mixed media, incorporating watercolor, wax crayons, oil pastel, pencil, and unique collage material. Her themes include botanical still-lifes, famous and everyday people of Paris in the early 20th century, the early European immigrant experience in America, and antique Christian art. She has an M.A. in Art History and Criticism and has exhibited her work in solo and group shows in the United States and France.

Leslie Gabosh has been a working artist for over 50 years, painting as well as designing and fabricating silver and gold jewelry. As a painter, her inspiration has been 17th and 18th century Dutch and Flemish paintings, 18th century Spanish paintings, and 19th century American paintings. “My subjects are the incidentals of daily life. Although these are unremarkable objects, they create a pathway to thoughts and memories, as well as a window into the world of artists who inspire me. It is my wish to create a quiet meditative place for the viewer to find a calm refuge and a smile.”

Barbara Lax Kranz is an abstract painter. “My formal arts training was in dance, much of which was improvisational. This has had a significant influence on my painting,” she says. “Inspired by visual memories or visceral emotions from a place or time, my work is all about how the colors interact with each other and how one line or shape influences that which is adjacent or beneath. Colors are layered and massaged, one on top of the other, allowing shadows of the original markings to bleed through.” Her works are in many private collections internationally.

Moira E. O’Grady began her life with clay in 2004 with tiles, which she viewed as small three-dimensional canvases, where sculptural, woodcutting, and painterly techniques could be combined on a single surface. “Using leaf forms that fascinated me as tile motifs, my work evolved to hand-built bowls that incorporated extremely high-relief carved or sprigged forms on the interior surfaces,” she says. “New subjects I’m exploring now include undersea motifs and cloud formations.” O’Grady earned a BA in Fine Arts (painting) and English Literature at Manhattanville College and she did graduate studies in filmmaking at Montclair State University.

Lynn Rothenberg studied commercial photography at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and worked as a production assistant at an advertising agency. After moving to the Capital District from California, she owned and operated a photography portrait studio for ten years and exhibited fine art portraits locally as well as in juried shows. “During a portrait session, I take my time, develop rapport with my subject and strive to capture mood and personality with an honest, straightforward approach,” she says.

Founded in 1972, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center and community resource serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital Region. Housed in a landmark 1847 Greek Revival schoolhouse, the Academy is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information, please visit our website at www.spencertownacademy.org or call 518-392-3693.

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14th Annual Festival of Books August 30 through September 2 at Spencertown Academy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2019
Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-629-3175

Spencertown Academy Arts Center 14th Annual Festival of Books August 30 through September 2

Distinguished authors, children’s programming, and giant book sale

Spencertown, New York—Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s 14th annual Festival of Books takes place over Labor Day weekend, August 30 through September 2. The Festival features a giant used book sale, two days of discussions with and readings by esteemed authors, and a children’s program. Featured authors include Ruth Reichl, Boris Fishman, Jenna Blum, Daphne Kalotay, David Yaffe, Steve Katz, Grace Taluson, and Crystal Hana Kim. Admission is free to all of the events, save for the Members Preview early book-buying opportunity detailed below.

Authors’ books will be available for purchase (at special event prices) and signing. Healthy, delicious snacks and beverages will also be for sale throughout the weekend, including the Academy’s signature “To-Die-For, No-Alarm Vegetarian Chili.”

The Festival, which began in 2006 as a book sale to raise funds for the Academy’s community arts programs, has grown into one of the biggest and most eagerly anticipated cultural events of the year. Academy Board members David Highfill and Jill Kalotay co-chair the Festival. “We are so excited about this year’s line-up of superb authors. Their literary styles and themes will appeal to variety of readers’ tastes. We have books about music, war, food, immigration, families, and more,” says Kalotay.

“The Academy is an all-volunteer organization and none of this would be possible without the generosity of our individual underwriters, book donors, and the nearly one hundred people who volunteer their time and talents to help make the Festival of Books a success,” adds Highfill, vice president and executive editor at William Morrow & Co., an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. “We are so grateful for their support.” Proceeds from the Festival book sale help support the Academy’s programs and preservation and maintenance of its historic building.

FESTIVAL MAIN STAGE: Saturday, August 31

The Festival kicks off at 12:00 p.m. with “Remembering Woodstock,” a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the seminal music festival moderated by music industry veteran Gerald Seligman. Authors David Yaffe (Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell, Sarah Crichton Books, 2017) and Steve Katz (Blood, Sweat, and My Rock ‘n Roll Years: Is Steve Katz a Rock Star?, Lyons Press, 2015) will read from their books and discuss the influence of the festival musicians through the years, during and beyond the Woodstock summer. Yaffe’s other books include Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown (Yale University Press, 2011) and Fascinating Rhythm: Reading Jazz in American Writing (Princeton University Press, 2005). Katz was a founding member of The Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears. He became a record producer, working with rock renegade Lou Reed, among others.

At 1:30 p.m., author Grace Talusan, in conversation with playwright Liz Diggs, will explore the art and craft of memoir writing. She will discuss her debut book, The Body Papers (Restless Books, 2019), winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. Talusan’s unflinching memoir is about her life as an immigrant from the Philippines, racism, and childhood sexual abuse, as well as how she grappled with her family’s history of hereditary cancer. She gives voice to unspeakable experiences, and shines a light of hope into the darkness.

At 3:00 p.m., author Boris Fishman will talk about food and family. His memoir with recipes, Savage Feast: Three Generations, Two Continents, and a Dinner Table (Harper, 2019) tells the story of his childhood immigration from the Soviet Union, exploring the meaning of food after generations of scarcity and how a dinner table in Brooklyn lured him back to his culture in the United States. His previous two novels, Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo (Harper, 2016) and A Replacement Life (Harper, 2014), were both New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Elaine Khosrova, author of Butter: A Rich History (Algonquin Books, 2016), will join him in conversation.

FESTIVAL MAIN STAGE: Sunday, September 1

At 12:00 p.m., best-selling novelists Jenna Blum and Daphne Kalotay will discuss the legacy of war. Both authors’ recent books take place against the background of war and its long-term consequences. Blum’s The Lost Family (Harper, 2018) follows a family facing truth in the shadow of WWII. Kalotay’s Blues Hours (Triquarterly, 2019) is part love story, part adventure, illustrating the consequences of America’s interference in Afghanistan.

At 1:30 p.m., debut novelist Crystal Hana Kim will discuss her book, If You Leave Me (William Morrow, 2018), a tale of war, family, and forbidden love—the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today. Jessica Williams, executive editor at William Morrow/HarperCollins, will join Kim in conversation.

Sunday’s final program at 2:30 p.m. will feature trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl in conversation with Dinitia Smith, former culture reporter for the New York Times. Reichl took the job (and the risk) of a lifetime when she entered the high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet in Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir (Random House, 2019).

CHILDREN’S PROGRAM

The Festival of Books children’s program on Saturday, August 31 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. will feature “Froggy,” the lovable and enduringly popular character in a children’s book series by Jonathan London. The costumed character will be on hand to greet children and pose for photos with them. Children will hear funny stories about the silly amphibian, create a related craft, and browse in the Children’s Book Room, which will be open throughout the Festival.

GIANT USED BOOK SALE

At the heart of the Festival is a giant book sale, one of the biggest in the region, featuring more than 10,000 gently used books, including fiction and non-fiction, hard and soft covers—all offered at very affordable prices. There’s a special Kids’ Corner for young readers and a media section full of DVDs, CDs, audio books, and vinyl LPs. A first-floor gallery features a handpicked selection of specialty books, limited editions, out-of-print books, and new books donated by leading national publishers.

Friends of the Academy donate books and a dedicated band of volunteers, led by Allan Davidson and Wayne Greene, spend countless hours throughout the summer carefully sorting and organizing the books in preparation for the sale.

The book sale is open to the public on Saturday, August 31 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday, September 1 from 10:00 am to 4:00pm, and on Monday, September 2 (bargain day) from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Admission is free. Teachers with ID receive a 20% discount on their purchases (except in Special Books Room).

In addition, Spencertown Academy members will have first crack at the books during the Member’s Preview on Friday, August 30 from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Free for members, $10 for member’s guests, and memberships will be available at the door. Refreshments will be served during the evening hours.

Founded in 1972, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center and community resource serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. Housed in a landmark 1847 Greek Revival schoolhouse, the Academy is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information, please see www.spencertownacademy.org or call 518-392-3693.

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Folk-Pop Duo The Chapin Sisters Presented by Spencertown Academy Roots & Shoots Concerts Series

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2019
Media Contact:Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-629-3175

Spencertown Academy Roots & Shoots Concerts Series Presents Folk-Pop Duo The Chapin Sisters

Spencertown, New York– Spencertown Academy Roots & Shoots Concerts Series presents folk-pop duo The Chapin Sisters on Saturday, May 4 at 8:00pm. General admission tickets ($20 public, $15 Academy members, $10 students) may be purchased in advance via www.spencertownacademy.org and will be available at the door.

“I bought my first record (45 rpm from a Woolworth store) at the age of nine. It was ‘Bye Bye Love’ by The Everly Brothers and it hooked me on music for life. When I heard The Chapin Sisters CD ‘A Date With The Everly Brothers,’ I immediately became a fan. The attraction of The Everly Brothers was two-part harmony and the same is true for these sisters,” says Mike Zdeb, member of the Academy’s Music Committee. “Their original songs are great, too. Given the wonderful acoustics of the Academy, two-part harmony accompanied by two guitars presenting original songs and some Everly Brothers covers should make for a fine evening.”

Since 2005, The Chapin Sisters have garnered critical acclaim with their alluring vocals and distinctive blend of folk music roots and modernist sensibilities. Siblings Abigail and Lily carry on a proud family musical legacy: father Tom Chapin is a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter, legendary late uncle Harry Chapin was a musical artist and activist best known for his 1974 #1 hit “Cat’s in the Cradle,” and grandfather Jim Chapin was an esteemed jazz drummer. The duo have been singing and harmonizing from their youth in, first, Brooklyn, NY and later the Hudson River Valley. They have recorded seven albums, the latest of which, Ferry Boat, will be issued by Loantaka Records on April 30.

Spencertown Academy Roots & Shoots Concerts Series features artists who reach back to earlier traditions in music (Americana, jazz, blues, rock, and world music) for inspiration, while incorporating more recent trends, forms, and influences. Other upcoming concerts in the series include rockabilly swing band The Lustre Kings on Saturday, April 13 at 8:00pm and Americana roots-oriented duo Kieran Kane and Rayna Gellert on Saturday, June 29 at 8:00pm.

Founded in 1972, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center and community resource serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. Housed in a landmark 1847 Greek Revival schoolhouse, the Academy is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information, please see www.spencertownacademy.org or call 518-392-3693.

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Fourteenth Annual Festival of Books

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2019
Media Contact: Gina Hyams, PR Consultant (413) 629-3175

Spencertown Academy Arts Center 14th Annual Festival of Books August 30 through September 2

Distinguished authors, children’s programming, and giant book sale

Spencertown, New York—Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s 14th annual Festival of Books takes place over Labor Day weekend, August 30 through September 2. The Festival features a giant used book sale, two days of discussions with and readings by esteemed authors, and a children’s program. Featured authors include Ruth Reichl, Boris Fishman, Jenna Blum, Daphne Kalotay, David Yaffe, Steve Katz, Grace Taluson, and Crystal Hana Kim. Admission is free to all of the events, save for the Members Preview early book-buying opportunity detailed below.

Authors’ books will be available for purchase (at special event prices) and signing. Healthy, delicious snacks and beverages will also be for sale throughout the weekend, including the Academy’s signature “To-Die-For, No-Alarm Vegetarian Chili.”

The Festival, which began in 2006 as a book sale to raise funds for the Academy’s community arts programs, has grown into one of the biggest and most eagerly anticipated cultural events of the year. Academy Board members David Highfill and Jill Kalotay co-chair the Festival. “We are so excited about this year’s line-up of superb authors. Their literary styles and themes will appeal to variety of readers’ tastes. We have books about music, war, food, immigration, families, and more,” says Kalotay.

“The Academy is an all-volunteer organization and none of this would be possible without the generosity of our individual underwriters, book donors, and the nearly one hundred people who volunteer their time and talents to help make the Festival of Books a success,” adds Highfill, vice president and executive editor at William Morrow & Co., an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. “We are so grateful for their support.” Proceeds from the Festival book sale help support the Academy’s programs and preservation and maintenance of its historic building.

FESTIVAL MAIN STAGE
Saturday, August 31

The Festival kicks off at 12:00 p.m. with “Remembering Woodstock,” a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the seminal music festival moderated by music industry veteran Gerald Seligman. Authors David Yaffe (Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell, Sarah Crichton Books, 2017) and Steve Katz (Blood, Sweat, and My Rock ‘n Roll Years: Is Steve Katz a Rock Star?, Lyons Press, 2015) will read from their books and discuss the influence of the festival musicians through the years, during and beyond the Woodstock summer. Yaffe’s other books include Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown (Yale University Press, 2011) and Fascinating Rhythm: Reading Jazz in American Writing (Princeton University Press, 2005). Katz was a founding member of The Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears. He became a record producer, working with rock renegade Lou Reed, among others.

At 1:30 p.m., author Grace Talusan, in conversation with playwright Liz Diggs, will explore the art and craft of memoir writing. She will discuss her debut book, The Body Papers (Restless Books, 2019), winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. Talusan’s unflinching memoir is about her life as an immigrant from the Philippines, racism, and childhood sexual abuse, as well as how she grappled with her family’s history of hereditary cancer. She gives voice to unspeakable experiences, and shines a light of hope into the darkness.

At 3:00 p.m., author Boris Fishman will talk about food and family. His memoir with recipes, Savage Feast: Three Generations, Two Continents, and a Dinner Table (Harper, 2019) tells the story of his childhood immigration from the Soviet Union, exploring the meaning of food after generations of scarcity and how a dinner table in Brooklyn lured him back to his culture in the United States. His previous two novels, Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo (Harper, 2016) and A Replacement Life (Harper, 2014), were both New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Elaine Khosrova, author of Butter: A Rich History (Algonquin Books, 2016), will join him in conversation.

FESTIVAL MAIN STAGE
Sunday, September 1

At 12:00 p.m., best-selling novelists Jenna Blum and Daphne Kalotay will discuss the legacy of war. Both authors’ recent books take place against the background of war and its long-term consequences. Blum’s The Lost Family (Harper, 2018) follows a family facing truth in the shadow of WWII. Kalotay’s Blues Hours (Triquarterly, 2019) is part love story, part adventure, illustrating the consequences of America’s interference in Afghanistan.

At 1:30 p.m., debut novelist Crystal Hana Kim will discuss her book, If You Leave Me (William Morrow, 2018), a tale of war, family, and forbidden love—the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today. Jessica Williams, executive editor at William Morrow/HarperCollins, will join Kim in conversation.

Sunday’s final program at 2:30 p.m. will feature trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl in conversation with Dinitia Smith, former culture reporter for the New York Times. Reichl took the job (and the risk) of a lifetime when she entered the high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet in Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir (Random House, 2019).

CHILDREN’S PROGRAM

The Festival of Books children’s program on Saturday, August 31 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. will feature “Froggy,” the lovable and enduringly popular character in a children’s book series by Jonathan London. The costumed character will be on hand to greet children and pose for photos with them. Children will hear funny stories about the silly amphibian, create a related craft, and browse in the Children’s Book Room, which will be open throughout the Festival.

GIANT USED BOOK SALE

At the heart of the Festival is a giant book sale, one of the biggest in the region, featuring more than 10,000 gently used books, including fiction and non-fiction, hard and soft covers—all offered at very affordable prices. There’s a special Kids’ Corner for young readers and a media section full of DVDs, CDs, audio books, and vinyl LPs. A first-floor gallery features a handpicked selection of specialty books, limited editions, out-of-print books, and new books donated by leading national publishers.

Friends of the Academy donate books and a dedicated band of volunteers, led by Allan Davidson and Wayne Greene, spend countless hours throughout the summer carefully sorting and organizing the books in preparation for the sale.

The book sale is open to the public on Saturday, August 31 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday, September 1 from 10:00 am to 4:00pm, and on Monday, September 2 (bargain day) from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Admission is free. Teachers with ID receive a 20% discount on their purchases (except in Special Books Room).

In addition, Spencertown Academy members will have first crack at the books during the Member’s Preview on Friday, August 30 from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Free for members, $10 for member’s guests, and memberships will be available at the door. Refreshments will be served during the evening hours.

Founded in 1972, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center and community resource serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. Housed in a landmark 1847 Greek Revival schoolhouse, the Academy is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information, please see www.spencertownacademy.org or call 518-392-3693.

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