Press Releases

Spencertown Academy Presents Music Lessons Live Show by Ed Napier

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 11, 2021

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-629-3175
[email protected]

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center presents Music Lessons written and performed by Ed Napier on Saturday, November 13 at 7:00pm. Directed by Robert LuPone, the production also features William Lewis on piano and soprano Maria Gabriella Landers. For Covid safety, proof of vaccination will be required for attendance, seating will be distanced and limited, and masks will be required for audience members while in the building. The Academy has installed Blue Pure 211+ air filters in the auditorium. General admission tickets ($20 public, $15 Academy members) may be purchased in advance via www.spencertownacademy.org and, pending availability, will be available at the door.

Music Lessons tells the story of Ed Napier’s journey from the backwoods of West Virginia to the halls of Columbia, Herbert Berghof (HB) Studio, and Juilliard in New York in pursuit of becoming a playwright and opera singer. Through scenes, stories, and songs, he recounts the process of growing up, becoming an artist, and learning, he says, “to relish the glory of just being alive.” On stage he channels a multitude of characters from his life with ebullience and humor. He slips into many roles—ranging from singing gospel as a kid in a West Virginia church to country songs in a bar with drunken locals; from Enrico Caruso singing Neapolitan songs of love and revenge to Puccini in the voice of his Viennese acting mentor to playing Constantine in Chekhov’s Seagull.

“Ed Napier has a great set of pipes!,” says Academy Board Member Cindy Atkins. “The life of any artist is always full of obstacles which can seem insurmountable. If Ed’s show about overcoming his on the way to becoming one is as wonderful as his voice is, we’ll be in for a funny and poignant evening.”

Napier’s plays have been presented in New York at the HB Playwrights’ Foundation, MCC Theater, WPA Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and more. He has had the privilege of singing in many notable venues, among them the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Steinway Hall, the Bohemian National Hall, and Walt Disney Hall. He previously performed Music Lessons for Engarde Arts’ Uncommon Voices series, in the H.E.R.E Summer Co-op, and at the Theatre Row Theatre in the United Solo Festival, where it won the Award for Best Non-Fiction piece.

Robert LuPone’s Broadway credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, A Chorus Line (Tony Nomination), A Thousand Clowns, True West, A View From The Bridge, Zoya’s Apartment, and Saint Joan. He is the co-artistic director of MCC Theater, an award winning Off-Broadway Theater.

Maria Gabriella Landers is an entrepreneur, operatic soprano, collage artist, and celebrated party host. After Barnard College, she cofounded the CoOPERAtive, a New York City based nonprofit that provided performance opportunities to classical singers between formal studies and a professional career.

William Lewis, pianist/accompanist, vocal coach, arranger, and performer has worked as a professional musician for more than 50 years. He regularly appears with Irish tenor Ronan Tynan in concert and also plays for Marcello Giordano and violinist Gregory Harrington. He has performed throughout the US, Canada, Iceland, Brazil, Germany, Sicily, the British Isles, and China.

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 contact [email protected].

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Spencertown Academy Presents “Whimsy” Art Exhibition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2021

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-464-2851
[email protected]

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center presents “Whimsy” art exhibition featuring paintings and sculptures by Gabe Brown, Keith Davidson, Ron Harrington, Dorothy Sabean, Audrie Sturman, and Elizabeth Wallin. The show will be on display from October 2 through October 31 on Saturdays and Sundays, 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Admission is free and all art is for sale with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Academy.

Spencertown Academy Curatorial Committee Co-Chair Barbara Lax Kranz organized the exhibition. “In a world that seems more and more fractured and traumatized by a pandemic, the idea of a show focusing on whimsy seemed a necessity for the soul,” she says. “Whimsy can be defined in many ways—capricious, fanciful, fantastical, imaginative, and unpredictable are just a few words that come to mind. We all need a little escape now and then. After all, fun and fantasy are necessary ingredients in living.”

“Six very different artists have produced works that will bring smiles to your faces. They look at the world around them in a different way,” continues curator Lax Kranz. “Some travel to an alternate universe while others create work that will just make you laugh or leave you delighted.”

Gabe Brown (Elizaville, NY) searches for meaning in the unknown. “Art is like magic, an illusion created by the force of humanity. Our choices in life can be amazing portals for adventure,” she says. Her paintings are narrative vignettes that are both alluring and mysterious. Brown has won national awards and was the 2018 recipient of a NYFA Fellowship in painting. She is an Adjunct Professor in Painting and Drawing at Fordham University.

A national award-winning artist, Keith Davidson (Egremont, MA) considers himself a self-taught artist. His work comes from his imagination. “The Fish Series” to be showcased in “Whimsy” presents playful, colorful forms that are dramatic, captivating, and complex. “The amorphic, fanciful shapes keep the eyes moving, lifting one’s spirit to a better place,” says Davidson.

Ron Harrington (Hillsdale, NY) creates characters from scraps of wood, debris, and interesting pieces of detritus. “Each unique sculpture comes with a name that reflects its personality,” says Lax Kranz. “You have no alternative but to howl with laughter.”

Dorothy (Dee) Sabean (Dalton, MA) is a visual artist who works in many different media. She got her training on the city streets. She dreamed and she drew in many street festivals throughout the United States, winning many awards along the way. In 2011, she began canvas painting and has had many solo shows since that time. Lax Kranz says, “Sabean’s mural, ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborwood,’ which will be on display in ‘Whimsy,’ will take you, along with Mr. Rogers and numerous friends of the forest to untold places in the woods.”

For sculptor Audrie Sturman (Slingerlands, NY), rhythms of nature ignite her creative vision. Her work is spontaneous and reflects her background in painting and printmaking. “Her sculptures in the show will include both two- and three-dimensional work on a small and large scale and incorporate her vision of stem cells and a Covid cell. “It’s a more pleasant way to look at the disease,” notes Lax Kranz.

The illustrations of Elizabeth Wallin (Kinderhook, NY) are drawn from her imagination and life. She enjoys creating humorous characters, although she is equally comfortable with more sober subjects. Her published illustrations can be found in many books and magazines.

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 spencertownacademy.org.

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Spencertown Academy Virtual Festival of Books October 7 through October 31

Zoom events with distinguished authors, children’s programs, and online book sale

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2021

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-629-3175
[email protected]

Spencertown, New York—Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s sixteenth annual Festival of Books will take place online this year, with virtual events running from Thursday, October 7 through Sunday, October 31. The Festival will feature Zoom programs with distinguished authors, children’s events, and a “Special Book Room” online sale. Featured authors include Ayad Akhtar, Nancy Castaldo, [JK1] Michael Kupperman, Clare Mulley, Sonia Purnell, Rishi Reddi, Rick Rogers, Russell Shorto, and Peter Sis. Admission is free to all events, but advance registration is required. For program details, please see www.spencertownacademy.org.

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.

“This year, in spite of the hopes we had for almost everyone to be protected with vaccines by this fall, we will again hold a virtual Festival of Books,” says Highfill, vice president and executive editor at William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. “The challenging logistics of our space, and our foremost wish to protect the health of our community and our treasured volunteers, have led us to the decision to err on the side of caution.”

We are really happy about the variety and quality of the works we are presenting, with several prize-winning authors represented,” says Kalotay. “Also, we have some ‘firsts’ that should be fun: a live cooking demonstration by Rick Rodgers, a graphic memoir by Michael Kupperman, and an interview with world-famous children’s book author-illustrator Peter Sis, followed by a program for children featuring one of his books.”

ONLINE BOOK SALE

The “Special Book Room” online sale will open to Academy members on Friday, October 8 at 10:00am and to the general public on Saturday, October 9 at 10:00am; it will run through Sunday, October 31 at midnight. More than 400 carefully selected volumes in like-new condition, as well as CDs, DVDs, vinyl LPs, and ephemera will fill the virtual shelves. The collection includes art, architecture, design, biography/memoir, children’s/young adult, cookbooks, fiction, history, music/film, photography, signed books, and other offerings. Quirky or collectible, rare or simply stunning, all are priced accordingly from $5 to $1,000 and everything in between. Note: Purchases must be picked up by appointment at Spencertown Academy; there will be no shipping.

Volunteer Wayne Greene has expertly examined covers and spines, scanned pages for signatures or marginalia, and assessed each book’s value in antiquarian or contemporary circles. Among the most valuable treasures to be offered are a first edition, second printing of Mark Twain’s 1875 Sketches New and Old, which is filled with engraved black-and-white illustrations ($1,000); John Singer Sargent’s Portraits, Figures and Landscapes, a rare set of seven beautifully illustrated coffee table books ($750); a 1904 first edition Italian Villas and Their Gardens by Edith Wharton with illustrations by Maxfield Parrish ($250); a limited and numbered edition of Francoise Gilot’s Three Travel Sketchbooks, depicting Venice, India, and Senegal ($200); and The Great War by Winston Churchill, three volumes in red cloth with embossed gilt lettering on spine ($150).

ZOOM EVENTS

Thursday, October 7

The Festival kicks off at 7:00pm with authors Rishi Reddi and Dexter Palmer discussing their works of historical fiction. Reddi’s debut novel, Passage West, tells the story of a Punjabi family, their Mexican in-laws, and their Japanese neighbors at the onset of World War I in California. It was an L.A. Times “Best California Book of 2020” and a finalist for the New England Independent Booksellers Association’s New England Book Award in fiction. Palmer’s Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen fictionalizes the unlikely but true event of a woman giving birth to 17 rabbits in 18th century England, confounding apprentice and experienced surgeons in rural England and London, and intriguing King George I. It was long-listed for the Dublin Literary Award and shortlisted for the Joyce Carol Oates Prize. The authors will be joined in conversation with Daphne Kalotay, whose latest novel is Blue Hours.

Saturday, October 9

At 3:00pm, culinary professional and author Rick Rogers will conduct a cooking demonstration while being interviewed by Madaline Sparks, Festival Committee member. On the menu will be Almas Pite, or Hungarian apple pie, a classic pastry featured in his book, Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from Classic Cafés. Their conversation will range from baking tips to celebrities and famous chefs he’s worked with, to challenges unique to publishing cookbooks. As an author, editor, or ghostwriter, Rogers has published over 75 books, several of which landed on the New York Times bestseller list or went on to win James Beard and IACP Cookbook Awards.

Sunday, October 10

At 4:00pm, internationally acclaimed children’s book author and illustrator Peter Sis will discuss his latest work, Nicky and Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued, with Carl Atkins, Festival Committee member. This true story of the Holocaust was written for children, but carries a message of decency, action, and courage for all ages. Born in the Czech Republic, Sis has won the New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year award seven times, the American Library Association’s Caldecott Honor three times, the Hans Christian Andersen medal for illustration, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Tuesday, October 12

At 7:00pm, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and playwright Ayad Akhtarwill discuss his nationally bestselling book, Homeland Elegies, with Julie DeLisle, former director of the Chatham Public Library. Blending fact and fiction, Homeland Elegies is the story of a Pakistani immigrant and his American-born son in post-Trump America. The New York Times selected it as a Top 10 Book of 2020 and Barack Obama named it one of his favorite books of the year. Akhtar is currently adapting the work into a limited series at FX, with director Oren Moverman and starring Kumail Nanjiani.

Thursday October 14

At 7:00pm, historian and author Russell Shorto will discuss his latest book, Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob, in which he reveals how his grandfather and great-uncle ran the mob in his hometown in Pennsylvania. He is a contributing writer to New York Times Magazine and the author of six books, including the national bestseller The Island at the Center of the World. David Cudaback, Festival Committee member, will join the author in conversation.

Saturday, October 16
Children’s Program

At 10:00am, author Nancy Castaldo will give a presentation about her book, Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World. Castaldo turns her own fascination with the natural world into science-themed books that inform and engage children. She has written award-winning books about the earth for over 20 years, including The Story of Seeds, which earned the Green Earth Book Award, Junior Library Guild Selection, and other honors. In Sniffer Dogs, children learn about dogs’ exquisitely sensitive noses, and how their handlers train the animals to detect bombs or drugs, save people from rubble, or detect diabetics’ blood sugar levels. This program is suitable for children age 10 and up.

Sunday, October 17
Children’s Program

At 10:00am, Ann Gainer, storyteller and librarian at New Lebanon and Altamont Libraries, will read aloud and discuss with children, Peter Sis’s Nicky and Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued. Nicky was a young Englishman who went to Prague to help refugees from the Nazis; Vera, one of the children he saved. His efforts to raise money, find foster homes in England, and ultimately transport over 600 children are told with luminous, poetic images. This program is suitable for children age eight and up.Sunday, October 17

At 4:00pm, Sonia Purnell and Clare Mulley, two historians and authors whose books focus on remarkable women and their roles in WWII, will discuss their works with David Highfill, Festival co-chair. Purnell’s A Woman of No Importance tells the story of an American heiress, injured in an accident, who broke disability [JK2] and gender barriers to spy for the British and lead a core unit [JK3] of French resistance. It was a New York Times bestseller and won the Plutarch Prize for Biography. Mulley’s biography, The Spy Who Loved, relates the ventures of a Polish-born part Jewish countess called Churchill’s favorite spy who served behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied France. Publication of this book led to Mulley being decorated with Poland’s national cultural honor, the Bene Merito.

Tuesday, October 19

At 7:00pm, Eisner Award-winning writer and artist Michael Kupperman will speak with journalist Virgil Texas about his graphic memoir, All the Answers. In it, he tells the story of his famous father, a child prodigy on the TV show “Quiz Kids.” With wit and heart, he presents a fascinating account of mid-century radio and early television history, the pro-Jewish propaganda entertainment used to counteract anti-Semitism, and the early age of modern celebrity culture. NPR, Vulture, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and the New York Public Library all named it a best book of 2018. Kupperman’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, Fortune, and the New York Times. He has published comic books for DC, Marvel, and others, five of his own books, and animated for Saturday Night Live, Adult Swim, and Comedy Central.

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 contact [email protected].

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Download and PDF of the press release.

Spencertown Academy “Still Life: Flowers, Fruits & Foods in Repose” Exhibition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2021

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-464-2851
[email protected]

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center kicks off its 17th annual Hidden Gardens program with “Still Life: Flowers, Fruits & Foods in Repose,” an exhibition featuring artists Mary Beth Eldridge, Ann Getsinger, Ellen Joffe-Halpern, Julie Love Edmonds, Alice McGowan, Scott Taylor, and Terry Wise. The show will be on display from August 14 through September 19 on Saturdays and Sundays, 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Admission is free and all art is for sale with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Academy. Please note that on Saturday, August 28, the gallery will be open from 9:00am to 5:00pm during the Hidden Gardens Tour.

Spencertown Academy Curatorial Committee members Moira O’Grady and Norma Cohen organized the exhibition. “This year’s botanical show features scenes of tabletops and other settings where flowers, fruits, and food items provide glimpses into daily life that can be restful, playful, or downright intriguing,” says O’Grady. “Seven accomplished artists with very distinct styles will present their visions of peaceful—and sometimes challenging—still-life renderings. We are monitoring the local COVID-19 situation to see if it will be safe to host an opening reception for this exhibit. Please check the Academy’s website for forthcoming details.”

Artist and art teacher Mary Beth Eldridge (Pittsfield, MA) works in oils, watercolors, and acrylics. She finds creative inspiration in objects that populate her life. She says, “They reflect memory, functionality, and simple pleasure. With limited palettes, brush, and knife, these paintings, though small, use color, pattern, and form to convey hospitality and simplicity.” Her work has been featured in Pittsfield exhibitions at Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, Colonial Theatre, and Downtown Inc.

“I paint whatever seduces me most sweetly,” says Ann Getsinger (New Marlborough, MA). “At the starting point of a painting, I don’t want it to be reasonable…Painting has been an experimental vehicle for the most playful places in my mind to go beneath the surface, to harmoniously engage reality, imagination, and intuition in order to shine a bit of light into the cavern.” Her work can be seen at The Gallery at Somes Sound (Mount Desert, ME), Stockbridge Station Gallery (Stockbridge, MA), and at the Camilla Richman Fine Arts (Osterville, MA).

Ellen Joffe-Halpern (Williamstown, MA) is an artist, expressive art therapist, and teacher. “I don’t know how to slow life down so that it is ‘still,’ but I can paint in the moment and hold it in that way, an ongoing search to transcend the limits of time,” she says. “Most of my work is done from on-site sketches that I then transform through a veil of memory, experience, and affection.” Painting under the signature Joffe, she has exhibited extensively throughout New England.

Oil painter Julie Love Edmonds (Stockbridge, MA) tries to achieve a balance between the representational and abstract qualities in her artistic subjects. “I am attempting to upset the natural movement of the eye from one space to the next so that another context, other than naturalism, is allowed,” she says. “The goal is to represent life, not just in the way it looks, but the way it is experienced in different levels.” Edmonds has participated in many solo and group shows in Massachusetts and New York.

Alice McGowan (South Egremont, MA) creates paintings that are primarily meditations on light. “I find vegetables, fruit, and other elements of daily life particularly compelling as subjects,” she says. McGowan was born in postwar Japan to American parents and spent her childhood there and in India and the Philippines. “Making art has always been important to me, although other priorities took precedence for much of my life. I feel fortunate that recently I’ve had more time to paint.”

Painter Scott Taylor (Pittsfield, MA) is known for his use of color. He draws inspiration from New England’s rustic barns, wooded pathways, garden flowers, old rusted trucks, and treed ridgelines. “Often when I start a painting, I have an idea and direction for what I expect the piece to be, but at times the painting will take on a life of its own,” he says. His work is in permanent collections at Dana Farber Pediatric Children’s Hospital, Fairview Hospital, and Hillcrest Cancer Center.

Painter and printmaker Terry Wise (Stockbridge, MA) says, “I don’t enjoy cooking, but I love to set a beautiful table—to revel in the patterns and colors of textiles and smooth ceramic surfaces. Always drawn to still life paintings, I have come to understand the greater importance of the genre…The table as symbol of family and community and nourishment has become my message. Wise exhibits throughout the northeastern states and occasionally in Europe.

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 contact [email protected].

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Download a PDF of the press release.

Spencertown Academy Celebrates the Art of the Garden

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2021

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-629-3175
[email protected]

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s 17th annual Hidden Gardens is scheduled for Saturday, August 28, with a self-guided garden tour, outdoor market, and botanical-themed art exhibition. This beloved Columbia County summer event is designed to inform, inspire, and intrigue garden enthusiasts.

“The 16th Annual Hidden Gardens Tour and Market on the Green had to be canceled for 2020 because of the pandemic. Not knowing exactly how opening up would evolve, we passed up the month of June this year and opted to schedule the event for later in the summer for the first time,” says Madaline Sparks, who co-chairs the event along with Vivian Wachsberger. “This later timing for the tour gives garden voyeurs a rare opportunity to view these beautiful private landscapes in the waning days of summer, rather than the burgeoning of late spring. The light is different, the color palette is bolder and richer, and it affords us a chance to see how these avid gardeners keep their landscapes interesting and fresh in the dog days of August.”

Wachsberger adds, “Several of the gardens have been on the tour before, but not for many years and never before offered for late season viewing. They have matured and evolved over those years and will offer a totally different perspective in August of 2021.”

The Hidden Gardens Tour showcases five private gardens in Austerlitz, Chatham, Ghent, and Spencertown. From a ca. 1790’s Federal-style home nestled in a bucolic country landscape to a contemporary Asian-inspired abode featuring massive native plantings, there will be a broad spectrum of garden designs to inspire visitors. Most of the sites this year also feature vegetable gardens that will be abundant with produce in August. All of the gardens boast one or more water features: farm ponds, koi ponds, waterfalls, and fountains. For those curious about what can grow in shade, woodland gardens abound. It will be peak time for dahlias, coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and many other flowering plants that make the late summer garden an explosion of color and form. One location is a sculpture garden with installations of the work of the artist who lives there and some of his colleagues. In another, formal elements of garden design are juxtaposed with natural features of the landscape and combined brilliantly to great effect. Outdoor gathering options became very important in 2020, due to the pandemic, and all of these properties offer many great ideas for “outdoor rooms”: fire pits, dining spaces, and conversation areas.

The gardens will be open, rain or shine, from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Advance tickets are $35 and day-of tickets are $40. Advance tickets may be purchased via spencertownacademy.org. Day-of tickets will be sold at the Academy and at The Market on The Green from 9:00 to 2:30 pm. Tickets and the program guide, with maps and descriptions, will be available to be picked up on the morning of the tour at the Academy or the Market starting at 9:00am.

The Market on The Green will take place from 9:00am to 2:30pm at the Spencertown Village Green, which is located at the intersection of Rte 203 and Rte 7. It will showcase vendors offering plants, home and garden furnishings, birdhouses, antiques, and garden books, plus shoppers will find bargains on choice garden items and accessories at the Academy’s White Elephant Booth. A percentage of all sales benefit the Academy. Admission is free.

This year’s botanical art show, “Still Life: Flowers, Fruits & Foods in Repose,” features scenes of tabletops and other settings where flowers, fruits, and food items provide glimpses into daily life that can be restful, playful, or downright intriguing. Seven artists with distinct styles will present their visions of peaceful—and sometimes challenging—still-life renderings. The Spencertown Academy Arts Center Gallery will be open from 9:00am to 5:00pm during Hidden Gardens.

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 contact [email protected].

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Download a PDF of the press release.

Spencertown Academy Presents “Preserving the Bounty of the Garden” Live Presentation by Chef Linda Romeo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2021

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-629-3175
[email protected]

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center Hidden Gardens Lecture Series presents “Preserving the Bounty of the Garden” with Chef Linda Romeo on Saturday, July 24 at 10:00am. The basics of canning, pickling, and freezing safely while preserving flavor will be discussed and demonstrated in this live presentation at Spencertown Town Park Pavilion (816 Route 203, Spencertown, NY). Samples and recipes will be provided. Tickets are $10. To register, please see www.spencertownacademy.org.

“This is our first in-person talk this year. Linda is a fabulous chef, a great presenter, and extremely knowledgeable about preserving the garden’s bounty,” says Vivian Wachsberger, Academy board member and co-chair of Hidden Gardens. “She will be able to answer all your questions and provide you with lots of useful information—so bring a notebook. Her husband grows enough crops to last them through the winter with her expert preserving techniques. We will be outdoors and table seating will be available, or if you prefer, please bring your own folding chair.” 

Linda Romeo has been a professional chef for over 35 years. She has successfully navigated kitchens in the worlds of fine dining, specialty foods, catering, and most recently, product development for small-scale food production. Drawing on this background, she is full of tips to help home gardeners and cooks tackle the sometimes overwhelming task of preserving the bounty of the garden.

This presentation is made possible with generous support from the Old Chatham Country Store.

The annual Hidden Garden Tour and Market on the Green will take place on August 28, 2021. In addition to properties with beautiful landscapes and flower gardens, this year’s tour will feature various vegetable gardens.

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 contact [email protected].

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Download a PDF of the press release.

Spencertown Academy Presents Virtual Members’ Art Show

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2021

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-629-3175
[email protected]

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center presents its 6th annual Members’ Art Show featuring works made by Academy community members. The exhibit will be on display on weekends from Saturday, July 10 through Sunday, August 8. Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Admission is free and most of the artworks are for sale; a portion of the proceeds benefits the Academy.

“After a long closure due to the Covid virus the Gallery at Spencertown Academy is opening its doors again with our annual Members’ Show,” says Leslie Gabosh, who serves on the Spencertown Academy Curatorial Committee. “We have a wide range of work from talented regional artists who are members of the Academy—sculpture, painting, photographs, collage, digital art. So far, we have received submissions from artists in Spencertown, Ghent, Valatie, Kinderhook, Chatham, Canaan, Nassau, Malden Bridge, East Chatham, Chatham, and Great Barrington, and we expect even more.”

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 contact [email protected].

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Download a PDF of the press release.

Spencertown Academy Presents Virtual Talk by Beekeeper Sheri Bauer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2021

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-629-3175
[email protected]

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center, in collaboration with the Austerlitz Climate Smart Task Force, presents a talk by Sheri Bauer titled “SymBeeOtic: Embracing a Life with Bees” on Sunday, July 18 at 4:00pm via Zoom. This event is free, but advance registration is required. To register, please see www.spencertownacademy.org.

Sheri Bauer is a fourth generation beekeeper who returned home to the family apiary in Coxsackie, NY, in 2019 after the death of her father, master beekeeper Walter Bauer. Twin Spruce Apiaries was started in 1941 by Bauer’s grandfather, Wolfgang, and plans were in the works to close the farm that encompassed bee yards on the farm and in fields and mountains of Greene County.

While fellow beekeepers were packing up the last of the hives, Bauer requested that they leave three hives for her care in a field close to the house. The three hives grew to be nine hives and currently the apiary embraces 19 hives. Her two years of living with bees have opened worlds and rekindled connections to past family wisdom of beekeeping. She has formed new alliances with beekeeping clubs, studied apiary practices and philosophies, approaches to seeing and remedying the high loss of bees in NYS, and most importantly she says, learning from these ancient and wild “bee-ings.”

Bauer is a musician and some may know her in Columbia County for her performing, community song leading, and children’s chorus. She finds that musical training prepared her for working with bees. She also runs StarCatcher Herb Shop at the Apiary, bringing herbs grown on the farm (which were, of course, pollinated by bees) to her teas and cooking.

The Austerlitz Town Board Climate Committee established the Austerlitz Climate Smart Task Force in April 2020. Climate Smart Communities (CSC) is a NYS program that helps local governments take actions to adapt to a changing climate, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthen local ecosystems. CSC is sponsored by seven NYS agencies and administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

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 contact [email protected].

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Spencertown Academy Announces 2021 Young Writers’ Contest Winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2001

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-629-3175
[email protected]

Spencertown, New York— Spencertown Academy Arts Center announces the winners of its sixth annual Young Writers’ Contest. Held in conjunction with the Academy’s Festival of Books (which will be virtual this year), the contest was open to writers in grades 9 through 12 attending school or homeschooled in Columbia County, NY and Berkshire County, MA.

“Spencertown Academy has proudly offered this competition since 2015. Our goal is to encourage creative writing by high school students. This year’s contest attracted 38 talented young writers,” says Jill Kalotay, Academy board member and co-chair of the Festival of Books. “The judges reported that it was not an easy process of elimination. Many of the stories that did not make the final cut had real merit—especially in their attempt at creativity and originality. Kudos to all the participants!”

The contest was judged by accomplished authors and publishing professionals, including David Cudaback, Liz Diggs, Carol Essert, Alan Gelb, Doris Iarovici, and Elaine Khosrova..

The top three winners in each category received cash prizes ($250, $150, and $100 respectively) and were invited to read their work on a Zoom gathering for friends and family. The winning stories and essays are now published on the Academy’s website: www.spencertownacademy.org.

Fiction/Short Story Winners

Final works in the fiction category were selected by Doris Iarovici. Her recent book, Minus One, is a collection of short stories. Her writings have appeared in The New York Times and The Guardian, among others. She is a psychiatrist at Harvard University Health Services.

First Place: Sasha Truax, New Lebanon High School senior, “Chocolate Chip Cookies”
Second Place: Samantha Saavedra, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School sophomore, “Liam Henderson”
Third Place: Mattie Vandiver, Berkshire Waldorf School senior, “The Science of Friendship”
Honorable Mention: Jin Fernbacher, Berkshire Waldorf School sophomore, “A Single Orange”

Nonfiction/Essay or Memoir Winners

Winners in this section were chosen by Alan Gelb whose work in marketing communications in higher education led to his book, Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Steps. His latest work is Having the Last Say: Capturing Your Legacy in One Small Story.

First Place: Dezjuan K. Smith, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School junior, “Everything Under the Sun, Maybe”
Second Place: Amanda Roberts, Chatham High School junior, “Below the Surface”
Third Place: Phoebe Hebert, Chatham High School senior, “The City”

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 contact [email protected].

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Download a PDF of the press release.

Spencertown Academy Presents “Vegetable Garden Planted: Now What?” Virtual Lecture by Ron and Jennifer Kujawski

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2021

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-464-2851
[email protected]

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center Hidden Gardens Virtual Lecture Series presents a talk by Ron and Jennifer Kujawski titled “Vegetable Garden Planted: Now What?” on Saturday, June 19 at 4:00pm via Zoom. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A with participants. Tickets are $10. To register, please see www.spencertownacademy.org.

Though planning, preparation, and planting a vegetable garden take effort, the work and rewards are just beginning. This presentation will look at post-planting efforts to sustain the garden and reap the rewards through the growing season. Topics to be covered include summer maintenance, pest and disease management strategies, tips on harvesting, planning for a late season harvest, and cover cropping.

“I am so pleased to welcome back Ron and look forward to meeting his daughter,” says Vivian Wachsberger, Academy board member and co-chair of Hidden Gardens. “His lecture several years ago was a big success and his ability to share his knowledge with us in a practical way is invaluable.  Our lecture series this year covers a great many aspects of gardening. We look forward to answering questions from first timers as well as old hands.”

Ron and Jennifer Kujawski are a father-daughter gardening team who tend a 10,000 square-foot garden in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Jennifer is a horticulturist and a writer and editor who works for a variety of organizations. Ron served as an Extension Educator in the Landscape, Nursery, and Urban Forestry Program at the University of Massachusetts. Now retired, he spends time as a horticultural writer and lecturer. His weekly columns appear in the Berkshire Eagle and The Berkshire Edge. The duo co-authored the book, Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardeners Handbook, published by Storey Publishing. Their weekly gardening tips can be found on Instagram at @weekbyweekvegetablegardeners.

This talk is sponsored by TKG Real Estate, serving Berkshire County and the Hudson Valley. The annual Hidden Garden Tour will take place on August 28, 2021. In addition to properties with beautiful landscapes and flower gardens, this year’s tour will feature various vegetable gardens.

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 contact [email protected].

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Download a PDF of this press release.

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