Sunday, January 28, 2007

Gut Level

It's a bit off topic, but we had an excellent dinner at Cafe Amarcord this evening. Angelika had the tuna and I had the pork chop with walnut-fennel sausage. It was a real treat after our apartment was transformed into a dairy product spectacular complete with animals, children, and special effects.

Also, word is that Tonique - the new venture in the Beacon Project Space-cum-OII-space - will be opening this coming Thursday. Alexis Elton is installing a piece in the restaurant. Alexis herself is sure to be installed at the bar Thursday night, so if you're free, stop in and share a drink.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Dia:Beacon Gallery Talk, Jan 27 @ 1pm

Norton Batkin, Dean of Graduate Studies at Bard College will be giving a talk on Bruce Nauman as part of Dia:Beacon's monthly series of gallery talks.

Joel Holub, William Crow @ Go North, Opening February 3

So Lone Sunshine

William Crow
Joel Holub
February 3rd – February 25th, 2007

GO NORTH – A Space for Contemporary Art is please to announce the opening of
“So Lone Sunshine“ painting, sculpture, and drawings, by New York City based
artists Joel Holub and William Crow. The exhibition runs from February 9th
through February 25th. There will be a reception for the artists on February
3rd, from 6 – 9pm.

Joel Holub makes small scaled sculptural work and watercolor paintings made
from memory. His watercolor paintings are based on roadside landscapes. They
are mind shots caught by slow absorption over time (multiple views) or
fleeting glimpses from a car window. No notes or drawings are made on site;
a minimum of 3 hours is allowed to pass before any writing or sketches are
made. The medium of watercolor lends itself perfectly to the hazy and
unfocused aspects of recollection and the imagined. His sculptural pieces
are portraits of strangers that he sees on the street or in the subway. Also
from memory, they consist of heads made out of Sculpey clay and added to
supports of discarded/used containers and found materials.

William Crow makes paintings of common camping tents that he captures while
on his many camping trips around New York State. Small and intimate, the
paintings are done in a loose expressionistic style maintaining a straight
forward composition. The paintings are derived from drawings made on site
that he later translates into oil paintings.

Hours: Friday through Saturday 12 to 6pm and by appointment.

“So Lone Sunshine” will be on view at Go North – A Space for Contemporary
Art 469 Main Street, Beacon, NY from February 3rd through February 25th,
2007. Please contact Karlos Carcamo or Gregory Slick at for further information.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Beacon High School Public Forum Notes

Around 100 people gathered tonight for the public forum on the future of the old Beacon High School building. Attendees of the forum included current tenants of the building, residents of Beacon, members of the press and members of the Beacon Board of Education as well as concerned individuals from around the area.

The Forum was moderated by Dr. Jean Parr, superintendent of the Beacon School District. Dr. Parr started the forum by giving a report on the state of affairs since the school district regained possession of the building on December 7, 2006. The floor was then opened up for questions from the audience before a workshop session began where groups of six to eight people created lists of positive and negative aspects pertaining to the building and its current status and a list of suggestions for the future, all of which will be reviewed by the Board of Education. The resulting lists were posted around the cafeteria for attendees to view, after which, the forum was concluded.

A major item that emerged from the forum pertained to the actual amount of money the Beacon City School District received from the Beacon Cultural Foundation when the building was sold in 2003 for the price of $4.25M. In response to a question on the details of the sale, Dr. Parr stated that the BCSD received a down payment of $250,000 from BCF in 2003, but received no further payments on the principle or interest.

Dr Parr stated that since taking possession of the building on Dec. 7, the BCSD has been in the process of assessing the needs of the building, doing necessary repairs and maintenance, identifying tenants, verifying that tenants have the required insurance as stipulated in their leases and overall, assuming the role of landlord. Currently, there are 35 tenants in the building representing an occupancy of around one third of the building's square footage. The current leases ranging in length from one to three years will be honored by the BCSD for as long as it owns the building.

An appraisal of the building is currently being performed by a company from Newburgh to determine the value of the property as a whole as well as the fair market rental value on a basis of square footage to determine if current rents are set appropriately. The results of the appraisal will be presented at the BOE Finance committee meeting on Feb 12.

Dr. Parr broke down the income and expenses of the building for the period between 12/7/06 and 1/24/07 and projected the monthly estimates going forward.

For the period between 12-7-06 - 1/24/07:
Rental Income : $32,190 (monthly estimate: $20,000)

Heat: $21,603 (monthly estimate: $17,000)
Electric: $3,050 (monthly estimate: $2,200)
Maintenance: $754
Custodial: $1,161
Repairs: $11,100
Appraisal: $5000
Total Expenses for period: $46,493

During this first six week period, BCSD's expenses outstripped the rental income by over $14,000. Dr. Parr stated that upon entering the building, the BCSD found it in serious need of maintenance. Of the three boilers, one is "dead" and the other two were in need of repair. Dr. Parr described much of the work done thus far as "band aid maintenance" just to keep the building functional but that much more would need to be done. A portion of the roof needs repairs estimated at $50,000 to $70,000, and that existing leaks render nearly one third of the building unable to be occupied.

In response to some questions regarding mixing educational programs for children with existing artist studios, Dr Parr replied that if the building were to be used by the BCSD for school purposes in addition to other uses, the building would have to meet certain safety and fire standards to earn certification, (which would be very costly to achieve in this case) and at least 50% of the building must be used for the benefit of children. (While the Beacon Academy was in existence in the building, an area of six classrooms was certified according to State Board of Ed. safety regulations and cordoned off from the rest of the building.) The Montessori school that is currently a tenant of the building is not bound by such requirements.

When questioned about the possibility of receiving grants to underwrite programs in the building, Dr. Parr replied that any grant sought by the BOE is limited to the scope of its own educational programs. I imagine that this does not eliminate the possibility of another party applying for grants to support some activity within the building. Dr. Parr referenced the securing of funds by Dia:Beacon to allow for field trips Beacon Public School children to visit the museum at a time when, due to budget cuts, the school district has eliminated all of its self funded field trips.

Dr. Parr said that the BOE has not made any decisions on the future fate of the building, and any decision will be made according to its financial feasibility. When asked, she said the decision to sell will be made solely by the BOE and it will not be open to public discussion. The BOE has not been approached by parties interested in buying the property.

I was not able to make it around to view the various lists created by the workshop session, but if someone would like to share some of the ideas they found most interesting, please post a comment. Also, if you attended the meeting and would like to share your thoughts, feel free to do so.

Updated 1.25.07:
Some conversation between a few of the attendees from last night's meeting has been going on today at the Beacon Discussion Board.

Updated 2.14.07:
The announcement of the building's appraisal has been postponed, perhaps until the next BOE meeting, or the next meeting of the finance committee.
Updated 2.22.07:
BCF President Sam Yanes offers and explanation of financial arrangement made between BCF and BCSD on the Beacon Discussion Board (message #9920.)

Bulldog Studios in the news

Today's POJO has an article by Kathleen Murray highlighting Bulldog Studio tenants and the public forum going on tonight. I understand that the Beacon Free Press is also carrying an article on the subject this week.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Catching up.

The process of moving both home and studio along with computer issues have prevented me from posting much recently.

Here's just a little round up of activity:

On January 23,
The Daily Texan reported that Beacon sculptor David Frech is one of four finalists competing to produce a sculpture of U.S. Senator Barbara Jordan.

From the Central Texas Digest:

Four finalists for Jordan statue

Four sculptors have been selected to compete for a commission to create a statue of Barbara Jordan for the University of Texas campus.

Jordan was the first black woman elected to the Texas Senate and the first black woman from the South elected to Congress. She taught at UT's LBJ School of Public Affairs. Her statue will be the first on the university campus to honor the life and legacy of a woman.

The four sculptors are David Frech of Beacon, N.Y.; Thomas Marsh of Orange, Va.; Bruce Wolfe of Piedmont, Calif.; and David Newton of Dallas.

Each will be awarded $5,000 to develop a maquette, or small model, depicting an artistic conceptualization of Jordan. The maquettes will be displayed on campus in April so students, faculty members, staff members and the public can provide feedback.

Frech's sculpted bust of Martin Luther King Jr. was unveiled in the City of Newburgh on January 20. From

Artist and Art Therapist, Mia Barkan Clarke's has relocated her art studio to 10 Leonard St. in Beacon.

Tony Moore, Laura Moriarty and Chatham based artist Peter Acheson are among the artists included in the War is Over 2 exhibit at Sideshow Gallery, 319 Bedford Ave in Williamsburg through March 4.

Dont forget the public forum on the future of Bulldog Studios to be held tomorrow at 7 pm in the cafeteria at the Beacon High School at 101 Matteawan Rd. The public forum will be a roundtable discussion presented by the Beacon Board of Education to receive public input on future use of the former high school building. The artist tenants of Bulldog are asking that anyone that supports the continued presence of artist studios in the building to come voice their support at the forum --- for that matter, anyone with an opinion on the future use of the building should attend.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Community Forum on future of Bulldog Studios, Jan 24, 7pm

A community forum will be held regarding the future use of the former high school
building, and whether or not that future will include the presence of Bulldog Studios.
The forum is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, January 24,
2007, at 7:00p.m. in the Dining Hall at Beacon High School (The new Beacon High School) at 101 Matteawan Rd.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

wrapping up

As a bit of an addendum to my beacon art scene is dead post, I'm quoting the paragraph relating to Beacon in Paul Smart's year in review article on art in the region from Ulster County's the Almanac Weekly Publication:

Beacon, once the darling of the region, seemed to coalesce around two lasting Main Street sites beyond Dia: Carl Van Brunt's adventurous gallery and the Beacon artist Union's (BAU) ever-energetic championing of truly serious artists seeking to expand their scopes.

Any laudatory content of the above paragraph was, I feel, a bit overstated in recent dispatches by bau by email and in a posting on its website.

Smart did have a one line rave on an exhibit of Jake Berthot drawings at the Kleinart/ James Art Center in Woodstock curated by Woodstock/Beacon artist Carol March.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

einLab to perform @ Queens Museum of Art, Jan 13, 4pm

einLab will perform (4PM) at Departure Lounge v.2 - closing reception for Queens International 06: Everything All at Once.

Event from 4-7PM.
Visit: for details.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

beacon art scene is dead

...that's the google search by which a visitor in made his or her way to maykr recently. When posed as a search query, it's difficult to decide whether the phrase is inquiring lamentation or wishful expectation.
It is a question that has been asked of me periodically. If indeed Beacon's art scene is now dead, then it was only ever alive in the flurry of press accounts surrounding the opening of Dia:Beacon touting this city's creative promise and in the lofty pronouncements made by Bill Erlich setting a level of expectation for the Beacon Art Society and the Beacon Cultural Foundation.
This is the headquarters of the Beacon Cultural Project [see "Artworld," June '02], founded in April 2002 by William S. Ehrlich, a collector, trained architect and principal in the real estate development firm of Milton L. Ehrlich, Inc., established in 1935 by his father. Ehrlich was one of the earliest Manhattanites to buy in Beacon after he learned of Dia's plans. At the time of the Project's announcement, he raved to the New York Times [Apr. 26, '02], "Once I knew Dia was a done deal, I ran around Beacon and bought everything I could. I'm now Beacon's largest taxpayer. David will be the impresario for culture." That is David A. Ross, director of the Beacon Cultural Project and president of its nonprofit sibling, the Beacon Cultural Foundation. Formerly the director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and, before that, of New York's Whitney Museum of American Art, Ross is now engaged in collaborations between private, public and institutional sectors in a move to foster growth in Beacon. The Cultural Project's aim is to spur Beacon's revitalization through innovative cultural initiatives.

(Art in America, June 2003. by Suzaan Boettger)

The impending cultural shift implied in press releases and assorted travel articles of 2003 creating the notion of artdom's next bastion as a bucolic billyburg in Beacon belie the reality that the true march of progress is slow, and uneven. In addition, the development of a thriving and sustainable creative community must come more from a place of self fulfillment and less from a desire to put on a show that will draw the tourists.

I've been an advocate of working to increase the visibility of the artistic activity in this city, within and without, both for the sense of vibrancy I believe it provides the community, and for the enhanced experience it offers for those living and creating work as artists in Beacon. That said, there's a satisfaction in seeing that certain things take their natural course, defying attempts to engineer a "scene" that will result in an process of gentrification, genetically altered to achieve desired results in an abbreviated time frame while selectively omitting the unpleasant parts. This era of change in Beacon's creative life has thus far been short and uneven; many places have opened and closed since 2003; certain major initiatives have fizzled, and some promising creative endeavors have receded into convention. But such aspects of the very recent history do not erase the glimmers of expectation in new artistic enterprises that are still emerging, or the new energies of folks still moving into the city.

Over the past three years, there have been periods of both stimulating and flaccid activity, but what has existed here, consistantly, is a broad community of artists creating work which finds purchase both near and far. In spite of the promise of a euphoric art frenzy, what has existed is a steady growth of a population of capable, creative people - many from Williamsburg, but many other places as well, and the scene they've created is one that is much smaller than those in terms of public art spaces, but the true nature of the creative environment here is one that is diligent and intimate, with much interaction between artists occuring within their homes and studios.

Second Saturday, Jan 13 2007

Group shows and group efforts reign over this month's Second Saturday.

Van Brunt Gallery will be opening a group show entitled "New Hudson 3".
The show at bau will be a group show called "bau Now" of the new member line up for 2007. Harald Plochberger, Tony Moore and Egon Zippel have left the group, and Poughkeepsie artist, Joanne Klein has been added.
Bannerman Island Gallery will be hosting an exhibit of photography by Irvington High School Students.
Beacon High School Students will be represented at River Winds Gallery.
The Beacon Art Supply will be hosting a party from 6-9pm to celebrate their "I have a dream" window installation created by children at the Martin Luther King Center's after school program. There will be a sing along from 6-7pm with Pete Seeger and friends. The Beacon Art Supply is located at 506 Main St.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Call for photographers: "Portraits of Beacon"

A release from John Fasulo:

The last photo event that was organized for
Beacon, Spirit of Beacon, One Week of Photography was so successful, the
organizers are looking at another event for 2007.
This time, ‘Portraits of
Beacon: Images of Community’ will feature portraits of Beacon residents. A meeting will be held at Chthonic Clash on Main Street in Beacon
on January 7, 2007 at 4pm
; interested photographers that would like to be
included in this event should attend. “Our last event featured about 20
photographers from the region, ‘said organizer John Fasulo. This event will have
no time constraints on the photographers and work from 2006 will be allowed to
be shown. “We are looking to portray Beacon through portraits of residents and
people who work in the city,” said Fasulo.
The group is looking for a
gallery or perhaps two galleries to show the work sometime in the spring or
early summer. Fasulo, who grew up in Beacon, is a retired network TV cameraman,
having worked in broadcasting for 25 years for CBS, NBC, and CNN as well as on
major TV productions. His photography in and around Beacon has been exhibited at
a one man show last year at the Muddy Cup Café on Main Street. A series of
German Steam railroad images are part of the permanent collection of the German
Railway Museum in Nuremberg, Germany. As the Vice President of the Beacon
Historical Society, he ahs photographed many local residents and business owners
over the years.
Photographers interested in participating in this photo
event should come to the January meeting.

Contact John Fasulo 845 401