Press Releases

Concrete and Clay press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
April 23, 2015

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
413-464-2851

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

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 .

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

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 .

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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