Friday, March 07, 2008

Grant me the strength

A Beacon contingent was on hand to receive a number of grants from the Dutchess County Arts Council at a potluck ceremony on Thursday night, March 6 in Kingston. The DCAC administers the funds in Dutchess and Ulster Counties for the NY State Council on the Arts Decentralized Program. The program funds community arts projects sponsored by non profit organizations.
Almost fifty programs and projects from the two counties received funding from this grant program. The ceremony was sort an informal Oscar ceremony set before a backdrop of savory and sweet dishes arrayed in casseroles and tin foil. The only thing really lacking was the orchestra keeping the acceptance speeches to the utmost brevity. That said, It was interesting to hear of all the efforts and energy being put forth by many people to enhance the cultural life in our slice of the Hudson Valley.
Jennifer Mackewiecz and I accepted the grant given to BACA as the sponsoring organization for this year's Windows on Main St which will be held in August.
Donald Kimmel of Flying Swine was on the scene Thursday night. Flying Swine received funding for an upcoming autumn performance of "Savage in Limbo" by John Patrick Shanley. The play is set in the bar and the performance will take place this fall in the long anticipated wine and beer bar that should open in the coming months by Jim Svetz, owner of the Muddy Cup.
Beacon artist Rick Price and Gigi Fris of the Beacon Sloop Club were on hand to accept funding for a mural that Rick will be creating that for the Sloop Club. The mural will depict scenes of the of the environmental legacy of Pete Seeger, the sloop Woody Guthrie and the activities of the Sloop Club. Rick is in the process of planning the composition. Upon completion of the mural in the coming months, it will temporarily be installed on the side of the building that houses the River Winds Gallery. The Sloop Club is hopes to find a future permanent home for the mural closer to the waterfront, possibly somewhere at the Long Dock development.

Stephanie Heimann and Ronnie Farley of Fovea Exhibitions Beacon Gallery received funding for an upcoming exhibit called Women on the Front Lines scheduled to open on May 10 and run through July 6.
Given the amount of territory the DCAC covers, and the number of artists living and working in the county, very few of those artists are actually members of the council. I can attest to the eager efforts and intentions of the Council's board and staff to effectively serve as an advocate for artists' interests and exist as a relevant resource for the area's artists. As artists, we represent a substantial portion of the stakeholders within the constituency that the Arts Council serves, and through membership artists can help shape how culture and the arts in our area are developed.
I encourage all artists living and working in the area to consider joining the DCAC, particularly "contemporary artists" whose work exists outside of traditional contexts of art and who feel that their interests are not necessarily served by the activities of the Council. It is through the feedback support from such artists that the Council's benefits artists can be further developed.

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