Press Releases

Spencertown Academy Arts Center Presents Paul Green and Klezmer East

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2016

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Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Presents Paul Green and Klezmer East Saturday May 7

Paul Green and Klezmer East Poster
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Spencertown, New York— Spencertown Academy Arts Center presents Paul Green and Klezmer East on Saturday, May 7 at 8:00pm. The concert will spotlight traditional and contemporary klezmer favorites, including Freilachs, Horas, and hits from the Yiddish Theater. Directed by clarinetist Green, Klezmer East features Pete Sweeney (drums), Bruce Krasin (saxophone), and Alan Gold (piano/keyboards). General admission tickets ($20/$10 for students) may be purchased in advance via www.spencertownacademy.org and will be available at the door.

“Klezmer music pulsates with an irrepressible energy that makes for a delightful way to celebrate spring,” said Spencertown Academy volunteer Craig Bender. The music inspires audiences to sing (and sometimes even dance) along. For those unfamiliar with the genre, Green and his band members offer informal, but enlightening details about the forms, rhythms, and origins of the tunes they play. They also share humorous stories about the music and the old klezmer players—anecdotes that have been passed down through the ages.

Clarinetist Paul Green’s career spans jazz, classical music, and klezmer. In addition to his work with Klezmer East, Green co-directs A Summer Celebration of Jewish Music, which presents a wide variety of Jewish music throughout the Berkshires and he is first clarinetist of the Atlantic Classical Orchestra in South Florida. He performs jazz widely throughout the Berkshires and South Florida, appearing at Barrington Stage, Colonial Theatre, Gateways Inn, Red Lion Inn, Florida International University, and Lynn University, among other venues. He is an active teacher as well, having taught courses at Williams College and Bard College at Simon’s Rock. He is a member of the faculties of the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, and the Berkshire Music School in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Pete Sweeney is a drummer, author, and educator who performs in every genre of music. He has performed, recorded, and toured with many outstanding artists, such as Pat Metheny, Lee Ritenour, Robben Ford, Frank Gambale, Duke Robillard, Ronnie Earl, “Dangerous” Dan Toler, Ed Mann (Frank Zappa), Andy Summers (The Police), Mick Goodrick, Malcolm Cecil, Laurel Masse, Steve Bailey, John Abercrombie, Jay and the Americans, Larry Coryell, Murali Coryell, Johnny “Clyde” Copeland, Lorne Lofsky, and Ray Vega. He is also a member of the Latin group Sensemaya. In addition to his performing, Sweeney has written 18 drum instructional books for the Alfred publishing company, as well as produced three DVDs. He has numerous instructional lessons online with Workshoplive. He is also a faculty member of the Berkshire Music School and Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

Saxophonist Bruce Krasin has performed extensively throughout the world as a soloist, orchestral and jazz musician. Educated at the University of Massachusetts and the Berklee School of Music, Krasin has toured New England with Tony Bennett, toured Belgium with “The Young at Heart Chorus,” and toured Russia with the Jeff Holmes Big Band. He has appeared on the NBC “Today Show” with Katie Couric, and has performed with a wide variety of ensembles, including the Amherst Jazz Orchestra, the Keene State College Jazz Orchestra, Phil Wilson’s Thursday Night Band, the Roy Pomeroy Studio Orchestra, and the Commonwealth Opera Orchestra, among others. He is currently a faculty member of Smith College and Greenfield Community College.

Alan Gold is one of the most prominent klezmer musicians in the Berkshires. He has played piano/keyboards for numerous musical endeavors, playing with various klezmer ensembles (Berkshire Klezmer Society, Two Cents Plain, The Knaydels), professional and amateur/community theater companies (Berkshire Public Theater, The Theatre Barn, Town Players of Pittsfield, Romance, Soul and Rock and Roll), and has accompanied numerous vocal ensembles and solo artists. Gold is currently the music director at Temple Anshe Amunim and the organist/pianist at the First Baptist Church in Pittsfield. He is also a member of Kesher Shir (Boston Cohort), a group of singers/ songwriters collaborating on writing new Jewish music.

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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Intentional Jazz Concert at Spencertown Academy Arts Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2016

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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Presents Jazz Concert Saturday, February 13

Spencertown, New York— Spencertown Academy Arts Center presents the Intentional Jazz ensemble on Saturday, February 13 at 7:30pm. This talented sextet brings a fresh return to the rich tradition of jazz from the Blue Note era exemplified by the likes of Art Blakey, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, and many others. Led by Rob Fisch, Intentional Jazz brings together some of the finest jazz musicians from northeastern New York, western Massachusetts, and southern Vermont, including Rob Fisch (trumpet), Aaron Dean, (sax), Dave Pickard (trombone), David Bartley (piano), Dave Christopolis (bass), and Steve Collins (drums). General admission tickets ($20/$10 for students) may be purchased in advance via www.spencertownacademy.org and will be available at the door.

The concert is the first of a series of four concerts that will be produced this year by Spencertown Academy volunteers. Longtime Columbia County residents Rob Fisch and Craig Bender are spearheading the effort. “For the first program, we’re pulling out all the stops to help everybody shake off cabin fever and warm up this winter,” said Fisch. “Intentional Jazz is a strong six-piece jazz group known for its rich sound and synchronized harmonies from a formidable three-part horn section and a stellar rhythm section of piano, bass, and drums.”

This ensemble of veteran musicians excels with selections such as “All Blues,” “Nardis,” and “Blue in Green” by Miles Davis, “My Favorite Things” by Richard Rogers but brought into the jazz idiom by John Coltrane, “Doxy” by Sonny Rollins, and “Sister Sadie” by Horace Silver.

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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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Handmade Holiday Shop 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 20, 2015

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Handmade Holiday Pop-up Shop 
Opens November 27

Spencertown, New York— Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s Handmade Holiday Pop-up Shop will run Friday through Sunday, November 27, 28, and 29 and Saturday and Sunday, December 5 and 6, from 10:00am to 4:00pm each day. Holiday gift shoppers and art lovers “go local” at this curated sale that features cards, ceramics, jewelry, quilts, cutting boards, knitwear, felted puppets, fired glass, baskets, paper crafts, and edible delicacies made by dozens of Columbia, Ulster, and Berkshire area residents. Admission is free.

“After a two-year hiatus, we are excited to bring the Handmade Holiday tradition back to the Academy,” said Vivian Wachsberger, chair of the Handmade Holiday Committee. “We heard from many community members who missed the event. Shoppers will once again find hundreds of unique and gorgeous gift items at the market, with prices to suit every budget.”

This year’s Handmade Holiday participants include Amanda Bagnato, Beth’s Farm Kitchen, Michael Boyer, Gretchen Brown, Terry Buck, Kay Castelle, Pamela Dalton, Mary Ann Davis, Bina Evans, Joyce Flower, Ulrike Grannis, Liz Hamann, Nikki Hayes, Ali Herrmann, Betsy Howard, Sharon Koomler, Josette Lee, Jan Moseman, Melody Lea Lamb, Doris Nieves, Clarke Olsen, Melissa Pollack, Gunnel Reznikoff, Pat Rotondo, Gloria Scannell, Prudence Theriault, Sally Veillette, Vivian Wachsberger, and Susannah White, along with others to be announced.

Housed in a restored 1840s Greek Revival schoolhouse, Spencertown Academy Arts Center 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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“Fin. Fur. Feathers.” Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2015

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Presents 

“Fur. Fin. Feathers.” Juried Regional Art Exhibition

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center presents its 2nd annual juried regional art exhibition titled “Fur. Fin. Feathers.” Carrie Haddad of Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson served as judge, selecting 56 oil paintings, watercolors, engravings, monoprints, mixed media assemblages, and photographs created by 27 local artists. On Saturday, October 31, there will be a festive opening reception from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. with the artists and the show will remain on display through November 22. Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free and the artworks are for sale, with prices ranging from $50 to $2,500.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Barbara Willner and the Spencertown Academy for asking me to jury this group exhibit. I don’t think I have ever seen a collection of artwork so filled with a love of nature,” said Haddad. “With subjects from the comical to the divine, and artists ranging from amateur to expert, this multimedia assortment of artwork was a delight to view.”

“I don’t envy the difficult job Carrie had in winnowing down the finalists,” said Barbara Willner, co-chair of the Academy Gallery Committee. “Over 250 works by 87 regional artists were submitted for consideration to be included this show. As the size of Academy galleries limits the number of works that can be exhibited, her job was very difficult with such a large offering of fine works. Our region is truly rich with artistic talent!”

The artists to be featured in “Fur. Fin. Feathers.” include Scott Balfe (Earlton, NY), Marty Bannan (Albany, NY), Stephanie Blumenthal (Sheffield, MA), Jim Brearton (Troy, NY), Jennifer Clark (Great Barrington, MA), Phyllis Considine (Hollowville, NY), Margot Curran (Valatie, NY), Thomas Curran (Chatham, NY), Page Curry Ginns (Valatie, NY), B. Docktor (Ancram, NY), Jerry Freedner (Valatie, NY), Michelle Gillett (Stockbridge, MA), Denise Hackert-Stoner (Albany, NY), Tina Johnston (Altamont, NY), Cat Jones (Albany, NY), Ellen Lynch (Stuyvesant, NY), Claudia McNulty (Climax, NY), Jane McWhorter (Great Barrington, MA), Dez Ryan Odegaard (Southfield, MA), Rick Patterson (Old Chatham, NY), Elaine Radiss (Great Barrington, MA), Valerie Richmond (Hillsdale, NY), Susan Sabino (Richmond, MA), Sarah Sterling (Hudson, NY), Scott Stoner (Albany, NY), Rose Tannenbaum (Great Barrington, MA), and Steve Wildermuth (Ghent, NY).

In keeping with the exhibition’s animal theme, the Academy will donate 10% of its 35% commission received from any art sales to Out of the Pits, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that focuses on the plight of the American pit bull terrier. Raffle tickets will also be for sale for a chance to win an original photograph by legendary rock and roller, Lou Reed, of his beloved dog, Lolabelle. He donated the print to Out of the Pits prior to his death in 2013. Reed and his wife, Laurie Anderson, shared a great love for dogs—especially rescue dogs. As a special treat at the “Fur. Fin. Feathers.” opening reception, Out of the Pits will present a housebroken, affectionate, and very well mannered registered therapy dog named Aurora, who is available for adoption.

Housed in a restored 1840s Greek Revival schoolhouse, Spencertown Academy Arts Center 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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“Spaces and Moments” Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 20, 2015

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Presents “Spaces and Moments: Images by Marcia Powdermaker and B. Docktor” Regional Art Show Winners Photography Exhibition

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center presents 
“Spaces and Moments: Images by Marcia Powdermaker and B. Docktor,” a photography exhibition by the winners of last year’s Spencertown Academy juried regional art exhibition, which was judged by Peter Jung of Hudson’s Peter Jung Fine Arts Gallery and Bill Thompson and Marie-Claude Giroux of Chatham’s Thompson Giroux Gallery. On Saturday, September 26, there will be a festive opening reception from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and the show will remain on display through October 18. Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m, or by appointment. Admission is free and the artworks are for sale.

“B. Docktor has a great eye for capturing the classic and unusual visual moments in nature. She has a special affinity with the animals she conveys with her camera. Her work is dynamic and beautiful,” says Leslie Gabosh, co-chair of the Academy’s gallery programming. “Marcia Powdermaker’s photographs capture the tranquility and peace in natural settings. Quiet, contemplative, her images have a poetic stillness.”

Marcia Powdermaker lives in Tyringham, MA.  Her work has been exhibited at Spencertown Academy and at Lenox’s Sohn Gallery. “I like to capture the solitude and peacefulness of nature with my camera, then spend time working with it digitally before printing it,” says Powdermaker. “It is all intuitive—no planning, no agenda, no social comment. In this exhibition, I am showing quiet images that focus on nature, minimalism, horizons, and abstracts.”

B. Docktor lives in Ancram, NY. She began her photography career by helping her father, illustrator/artist Irv Docktor, develop film when she was about five years old. “Photography has always been a part of my life. I loved Life Magazine and always cared about making pictures that were not only beautiful, but mattered in some way,” says Docktor. “I’ve long been fascinated with the connection between my photographs and what we end up remembering. I try to capture the kernel of magnificence of whatever I’m photographing, hoping that the final image will make the viewer say: ‘WOW, I feel like I was there.’”

Carrie Haddad of Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson will judge the Academy’s 2015 fall regional art show, titled “Fur. Fin. Feathers.” Animal-themed submissions will be accepted from residents of Columbia County, NY and the following surrounding counties: Rensselaer, Albany, Ulster, Dutchess and Greene in NY, Litchfield in CT, and Berkshire in MA. First and Second Place winners will be awarded one-person shows in 2016 in the Academy’s large and small galleries, respectively. The deadline to submit work for consideration is September 12, 2015. Guidelines for submission are on the website.

Housed in a restored 1840s Greek Revival schoolhouse, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information about the “Spaces and Moments” exhibition and about submitting work for the fall show, please see www.spencertownacademy.org or call 518-392-3693.

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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Announces Teens’ Short Story Contest Winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2015

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Announces Teens’ Short Story Contest Winners

Spencertown, New York—Spencertown Academy Arts Center is pleased to announce the winners of its first-ever Teens’ Short Story Contest, selected by judge Lauren Oliver, a New York Times bestselling young adult novelist. The contest was open to Berkshire and Columbia County teenaged writers in grades 9 through 12. The top three winners received cash prizes ($100, $75, and $50 respectively) and were invited to read their stories at the 10th annual Festival of Books over Labor Day weekend.

Carrie Babigian of Sheffield, MA, won first place for “Day One.” She is a senior at Berkshire School. Oliver said the piece was “a perfect example of how a ‘small’ specific story can feel rich with detail and specific character observations.”

Ruby Lamond of Philmont, NY, won second place for “Solitude and Solace.” She is a sophomore at Berkshire Waldorf School. Oliver noted, “The pain of this story felt so real. I loved the very specific details peppered in throughout the whole piece.”

Samantha Reagan of Medway, MA, won third place for “Peter Pans Are Rare.” She is a senior at Berkshire School. Oliver said, “The author did a wonderful job building tension throughout the story. [The character] Mark totally creeped me out!”

Honorable mentions went to Pearl Elsbach of Sheffield, MA, for “Short Story”; Lauren Stone of East Nassau, NY, for “And She Was Loved”; and Rebecca van der Meulen of New Lebanon, NY, for “Unknown Care.”

“We were absolutely delighted by the great variety and high quality of the story submissions,” said Jill Kalotay, co-chair of the Festival of Books. “The contest added another dimension to the Festival and to the Academy’s mission of supporting the arts. It’s so satisfying to be able to encourage and reward young creative writers this way.”

All of the winning stories are posted in full on the Academy’s website at https://spencertownacademy.org/events/teen-writing-contest.

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Hidden Gardens Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2015

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Celebrates Hidden Gardens

Highlights: Columbia County private gardens tour and cocktail party; Garden Market on The Green with new Black Forest Flammkuchen Food Truck; Ellen Ecker Ogden lecture on edible gardens; “Concrete & Clay: Works Inspired by the Garden” art exhibition

Spencertown, New York– Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s 11th annual Hidden Gardens Tour, an annual gateway to summer in Columbia County, is scheduled for Saturday, June 20. It includes an array of events designed to inform, inspire, and intrigue garden enthusiasts. The theme of this year’s Hidden Gardens Tour is “Artful Landscapes: Ornamental and Edible Gardens.” Author Ellen Ecker Ogden will give a morning lecture about edible gardens. Shoppers can pick up items at the Garden Market on The Green and snack on food provided by the Black Forest Flammkuchen Food Truck. The “Concrete & Clay: Works Inspired by the Garden” art exhibition will be on display at the Academy and the Twilight in the Garden Cocktail Party will take place at an historic private home. Vivian Wachsberger and Academy Board member Madaline Sparks are co-chairs of Hidden Gardens; proceeds benefit the Academy and its arts-in-education programs in local schools.

The festivities kick off with the Academy’s annual Twilight in the Garden Cocktail Party on Friday, June 19 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm in Chatham, New York, at the home of Drs. Maureen Killackey and Bruce Pinkernell. Their house was designed in 1912 by noted architect Wilson Eyre, an innovator in Shingle Style. Originally called “Oak Hearth,” there are nine fireplaces located in the arts and crafts interior. Eyre was a founder and editor of House and Garden Magazine and wrote extensively about the interaction between the interior and the outdoors, hence many French doors and windows abound. Views of the Catskills are a notable feature of the landscape. A special cocktail “Solstice Spritzer” concocted by mixologist Jeremy Kenny of Rouge Restaurant in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, will be served along with sparkling wines and a light buffet supper. Party tickets are $80. Advance reservations are required, and directions sent once tickets are purchased.

The Garden Market on The Green will take place on Saturday, June 20 from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the Spencertown Village Green across the street from the Academy. This year’s market will showcase more than 20 vendors, including both new dealers and popular returnees from last season. Shoppers will find herbs, annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees from four nurseries and farms, as well as hand-crafted garden trellises, garden-related vintage treasures, handmade pillows and cushions for outdoor furniture, birdhouses, tableware, note cards, soap, and a “white elephant” sale of garden paraphernalia and new and used garden books. Master gardeners from Cornell University Cooperative Extension will be on hand to offer advice on tough garden issues. Admission is free.

For the first time, food will be available for sale at the market by Black Forest Flammkuchen Co. Food Truck, a mobile restaurant with a wood­fired brick oven, offering a fresh and international interpretation of the traditional Alsatian and Black Forest regional flat-bread snack, flammkuchen.

On Saturday, June 20 at 8:30am, Vermont-based food and garden writer and landscape designer Ellen Ecker Ogden will give an illustrated talk about the art of growing food. Blending classic design with artful touches, the kitchen gardens Ogden has designed for clients, communities, and businesses are both practical and beautiful. Her books include The Complete Kitchen Garden, From the Cook’s Garden, and The Vermont Cheese Book. Her newest book, The Vermont Country Store Cookbook, is due out this September and features recipes, Vermont stories, and anecdotes about Vermont food. In addition, her designs and writing have appeared in a wide range of food, garden and general interest publications, from Martha Stewart Living to The New York Times. Lecture tickets are $20 and include a light continental breakfast. Copies of The Complete Kitchen Garden will be for sale and there will be a book signing session after the talk.

“Concrete & Clay: Works Inspired by the Garden,” a group exhibition featuring seven regional ceramicists and one concrete fabricator, will be on display in the Spencertown Academy Arts Center Gallery on Saturday, June 20 from 8:30am to 4:00pm and on Sunday, June 21 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. The artists include Corinne Alexander, Sue Browdy, Kay Castelle, Mary Anne Davis, Marybeth Ketz, Justin Madsen, Lauren Mundy, and Jacqueline Wilder. Admission is free and the artworks are for sale.

The centerpiece of the Hidden Gardens weekend is the self-guided tour celebrating the art of the garden. It will take place on Saturday, June 20 from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Included are the grounds of five private residences located in Chatham Center and Kinderhook Village. Gardens range from intimate to ambitious. They include a romantic country garden anchored by a fenced potager covered in roses, a minimalist deer-resistant landscape with views of the Catskills, and a museum curator’s cozy English Style garden. Also on the tour, Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, a NOFA-certified organic farm and home to the non-profit organization Sylvia Center, whose mission is to inspire children to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm.

The tour will take place rain or shine and optional lunches will be available by advance purchase. Lunch from the food truck can be enjoyed at tables under the trees on The Green while shopping at the Garden Market or at Flammerie farm-to-table bistro in Kinderhook Village for a break while visiting the gardens on the tour. Tickets are $30; various package rates involving multiple events are also available. To purchase tickets for Hidden Garden events, go to www.spencertownacademy.org. Day-of garden tour tickets and maps will be available at the Academy and at the Market on The Green beginning at 9:00am on June 20.

There will also be a Hidden Gardens Raffle ($5 per ticket or five for $20, available online or at the Academy on the day of the tour). Donated prizes range from a truckload of organic mulch (delivered) and a pair of elegant steel wire tower trellises to gift certificates to local nurseries, collections of premium garden tools, and more.Housed in a restored 1840s Greek Revival schoolhouse, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information about Hidden Gardens events, see www.spencertownacademy.org or call 518-392-3693.

Concrete and Clay press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
April 23, 2015

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Presents “Concrete & Clay: Works Inspired by the Garden” Art Exhibition

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center will present
 “Concrete & Clay: Works Inspired by the Garden,” a group exhibition featuring seven regional ceramicists and one concrete fabricator. The artists include Corinne Alexander, Sue Browdy, Kay Castelle, Mary Anne Davis, Marybeth Ketz, Justin Madsen, Lauren Mundy, and Jacqueline Wilder. On Saturday, May 30, there will be a festive opening reception from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and the show will remain on display through June 21. Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free and the artworks are for sale for prices ranging from $10 to $3,500.

“Gardens and clay and stone go together. This year’s garden gallery show will feature exciting objects by talented artists that will inspire combinations for the home and landscape,” said Barbara Willner, co-chair of the Academy’s gallery programming.

Corinne Alexander is a Ghent-based multimedia artist, most often found elbow deep in her garden, her clay, cooking at the local co-op, or working to bring relief to her massage therapy clients. “I’m using stoneware and porcelain clay as a medium to capture a moment in time, a promise of that potential, a picture of the breath before nature’s next exhale,” she said of her work.

Sue Browdy of Hillsdale began her ceramics career in 1958 with a scholarship from Jane Hartsook to work and study at Greenwich House Pottery in New York City. In recent years, she has concentrated on sculptural work, including abstract flat platters and rows of cylindrical forms. Of her longstanding passion for clay, she said, “One of the great joys of ceramics is the potential for change and growth which it offers. Clay provides an almost infinite variety of forms of expression.”

Great Barrington-based Kay Castelle received a BA in Linguistics and Art from Brown University and did graduate studies in Environmental Design at Pratt Institute. “My relationship with nature is fundamental to my practice, inspiring both forms and surfaces,” she said. “What springs from the clay (earth) in my hands are abstractions of nature’s designs and the effects of its forces, formed into vessels that can hold and be enhanced by the beauty of the garden’s flora.”

Mary Anne Davis of Spencertown is a nationally recognized ceramic artist, whose pieces can be seen across the country in galleries, stores, and museums. “The work I am showing this summer is a departure from my ceramic dinnerware and represents an investigation into the natural environment I live in, as well as the artistic vocabulary I have been developing over the long duration of my career as an artist. Materials include porcelain, paper, acrylic paint, photography, and textiles,” she said.

Marybeth Ketz is making porcelain and stoneware flower pots for the exhibition. “I’m inspired by Japanese art, all of nature, and especially the flowers and shrubs in my Craryville garden,” she said. “I like surface decoration and try for the spontaneous mark of sgraffito [an Italian ceramics technique] scratched into the clay or the freedom of expression in a brush stroke.“

Justin Madsen is the owner of Marveled Designs in Chatham, which has manufactured custom concrete for eight years. He will be exhibiting planters, a fountain, garden tables, pedestals, a bench, and a sink. “Each concrete project is hand crafted and delivered with finest quality ingredients. Attention to crucial details ensures a product longevity and ability to hold up to daily use,” he said.

Lauren Mundy of Ghent began making slip decorated redware cermics about 25 years ago, when she was bowled over by the sight of some antique slip decorated redware plates sparkling in the sun at an outdoor antique show. “Sometimes inspiration comes directly from a specific visual source, but when thinking about this show, I decided to make vases in hopes that people will be motivated to extend the enjoyment of their gardens into their interior spaces,” she said. “While working on the vases, I realized that some of them (in a raw stage) remind me of sections of tree trunks, and recognized that indirect inspiration has a life of its own. In this case, it seems to have activated my store of mental images from innumerable hours spent in the woods.”

For Jacqueline Wilder of Ancram, ceramics is her second act, after a 25-year career as the owner of a talent agency representing actors in New York City. Her work tends to be contemporary in design and is mainly functional. “For the show, I am making porcelain high-fired, wheel-thrown vases. I like them because when you put them on a dining table with a few flowers, everyone can look over the top and they don’t have to be removed,” she said. “I’m also including some larger vases that have been wood fired in a Japanese Anagama kiln.”

“Concrete & Clay: Works Inspired by the Garden”” is the kick-off event for the Academy’s 11th annual Hidden Gardens, which includes the Twilight in the Garden Cocktail Party on Friday, June 19
and an array of events designed to inform, inspire, and intrigue garden enthusiasts on Saturday, June 20, including the Garden Market on the Green, Hidden Gardens Tour with the theme “Artful Landscapes: Ornamental and Edible Gardens,” and a lecture on the art of growing food by Ellen Ecker Ogden, garden designer, chef and author of “The Complete Kitchen Garden.”

Housed in a restored 1840s Greek Revival schoolhouse, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information about Hidden Gardens events, see www.spencertownacademy.org or call 518-392-3693.

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Teen Writers’ Workshop Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2015

Media Contact: Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-464-2851
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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Announces Free Writers’ Workshop for High School Students

Spencertown, New York – Spencertown Academy Arts Center will present a free writers’ workshop for high school students on Saturday, May 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The theme of the three-hour workshop will be “Crafting the Short Story.”

Guest author Wesley Brown will share insights into the writer’s craft and lead participants in a writing exercise. Mr. Brown is Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University, and teaches literature at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. His works include “Tragic Magic,” “Darktown Strutters,” and “Push Comes to Shove.”

The workshop will be hosted by Tom Lee, director of artsVOYAGE, the innovative arts-in-education program created by Spencertown Academy Arts Center and presented in area public schools. A professional storyteller and educator with the Yale Center for British Art, Mr. Lee will discuss the dynamics of short narratives and lead a writing exercise.

The workshop is open to all Berkshire and Columbia County teenaged writers in grades 9 through 12. Participants will explore aspects of writing short fiction in a variety of fun and challenging ways. The class will spark imagination and invite reflection. Students should come prepared to write and to share their work in a creative, supportive environment.

Workshop participants are eligible to submit stories to the Spencertown Academy Arts Center Teen Short Story Contest (the deadline for entries is June 30). The top three winners will receive cash prizes ($100, $75, and $50 respectively) and be invited to read their stories at the Academy’s annual Festival of Books over Labor Day weekend. Because all submissions are judged “blind,” no preference in prizes will be afforded to workshop attendees.

The workshop is limited to twelve participants. Advance registration is required. To register for the workshop, please email your name, school, grade level, and phone number to gro.y1560900630medac1560900630anwot1560900630recne1560900630ps@yr1560900630ots1560900630.

Housed in a beautifully restored 1840s Greek-Revival schoolhouse at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. It offers a variety of free and low-cost community arts events, including concerts, readings, theater pieces, art exhibitions, and arts-related workshops and classes. For more information, see www.spencertownacademy.org.

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Teen Short Story Writing Contest Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2015

Media Contact: 
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-464-2851
moc.l1560900630iamg@1560900630smayh1560900630anig1560900630

Spencertown Academy Arts Center Announces 
Teen Short Story Contest 
Deadline for Submissions: June 30, 2015

Spencertown, New York – Spencertown Academy Arts Center announces its first-ever Teen Short Story Contest. The contest is open to Berkshire and Columbia County teenaged writers in grades 9 through 12. Contest judges include book editors, authors, and other publishing professionals. The top three winners will receive cash prizes ($100, $75, and $50 respectively) and be invited to read their stories at the Academy’s annual Festival of Books over Labor Day weekend.

Jill Kalotay and Academy Board member David Highfill co-chair the Festival of Books, during which the Academy welcomes numerous acclaimed and well-known writers and nearly 2,000 readers. “Our mission at Spencertown Academy is to build a community through the arts,” said Highfill, vice president and executive editor at William Morrow & Co., an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. “With the Festival of Books in particular, we’re interested in engaging and entertaining all the area book lovers—and we know from past experience that there are lots of them. I think Jill Kalotay’s brilliant idea for this contest is a perfect way to do just that and to nurture the region’s next generation of literary talent.”

The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2015. Stories can be on any subject matter, with a maximum length of 4,000 words. Stories must be formatted in 12-point type, be double spaced, and have 1″ margins on standard 8 ½” by 11″ paper. Entries must not have previously been accepted for publication nor have won a prize. Send submissions, as well as any enquires regarding the story contest, to the Academy at gro.y1560900630medac1560900630anwot1560900630recne1560900630ps@yr1560900630ots1560900630.

Housed in a beautifully restored 1840s Greek-Revival schoolhouse at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. It offers a variety of free and low-cost community arts events, including concerts, readings, theater pieces, art exhibitions, and arts-related workshops and classes. For more information about the Festival of Books, visit the website.
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Download the press release in pdf form.

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