On a beautiful Spring Day that was more Summer like than one could have hoped for, The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA held an Artists’ Reception on Saturday April 18th for the Pocono Arts Council's juried exhibition on the climate crisis titled, “The Earth Speaks” in its main Artspace Gallery and its adjacent Studio Gallery. The exhibit featured the work of local artists along with a number of artists from across the United States and was juried by Patricia Watts who is the founder of ecoartspace www.facebook.com/ecoartspacefanpage?pnref=about.overview. The event was prefaced by a poetry reading and the afternoon included music performed by Woodrow along with thoughts on the changes the climate has undergone in recent years which were shared by a number of speakers that included artists. In addition to the reception, I also walked down the street to visit The Main Street Jukebox www.facebook.com/mainstjukebox who were celebrating Record Store Day www.facebook.com/RecordStoreDay.
The Center began the festivities with a poetry reading in its Studio Gallery in honor of National Poetry Month. The reading was the second of a three part reading series. The first part of the series was The Poconos Performance Poetry Contest which took place at The SOHO in the Burg Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA www.facebook.com/pages/Soho-In-The-Burg-Gallery/871129779587964?fref=ts on Thursday April 9th. The final poetry event in the series will be an open reading held at The Northampton Community College (NCC) - Monroe Campus in Tannersville, PA www.facebook.com/ncc.monroe?fref=ts on Thursday April 23rd beginning at 6pm. Jody Singer of Origins Gallery www.facebook.com/OriginsGalleryStroudsburg?fref=ts welcomed the numerous gathering to the reading and proceeded to share news of what will be happening in the arts throughout the area in the near future.
Mr. Singer also pointed out that the exhibition's program that contained the names of the artists, the titled of the pieces they created, and their purchase prices also contained poetry written as part of a contest judged by Dr. Hazel Fisher who is the Associate dean of Academic Affairs at The NCC - Monroe Campus. The winners of the competition were Herb J. Weber who received First Place for his poem, “Fallen Leaves” and Alan M. Spivak for his poem, “The Steward” along with honorable mentions going to Tom Johnson-Medland for his poem “Beauty In An Ark Of Love” and to Pat Mulroy for the poem, “Will The Water Flow.” As Mr. Singer concluded his remarks, Carlton Farnbaugh (aka The Carlton) who shared his welcoming sentiments before introducing the first of the several poets scheduled to read.
Tom Johnson-Medland was the first to read his words that nurtured the listeners' dreams while entreating them to grow toward their fullness. He was followed by his wife Linda who moved the audience along the adventurous pathways of nature with her words. She was followed by Brian Fanelli of unbound CONTENT www.facebook.com/UnboundContent?fref=ts whose words flowed like the waters of a gentle stream that concentrates into a pool of imagery. He was followed by Dale Wilsey Jr. of The Swandive Publishing Company www.facebook.com/swandivepublishingcompany?fref=ts who shared the works of other poets along with his own that sewn themselves together into a series of threads that formed a thoughtful tapestry. He was followed by The Carlton who read a poem inspired by the observations he had when he first moved into the area and spoke with a truth seldom shared.
The Carlton was followed by Cee Rock www.facebook.com/crock113officialmusic?pnref=story who was the winner of The Poconos Performance Poetry Contest. His poem, “Serpentine Scrimage,” created an avalanche of words that engulfed the imagination of the audience through its imagery and depth. His words were followed by those given by the Earth Speaks Committee Chair, Mark Lichty, who read a poem filled with powerful words and inspired purpose. Other members of the committee who served with Mr. Lichty were Trish Attardo, Ryan Brancato, Darlene Faris-Labar, Laura Goss, Clair Marcus, Nancy Moreu, Jody Singer, and Dr. Paul Wilson. Mr. Lichty's reading was followed by some concluding sentiments shared by The Carlton along with those given by Jody Singer who invited the company of poetry lovers to stay for the music and art that remained to be enjoyed. It was at this time a table was prepared with a variety of foods that enhanced the conversation shared between the poets and those who were touched by their words. Yet, as delightful the conversation and victuals were, a sound was beginning to accumulate outside the center that was pleasant to the ear and bade the company to come and partake of its qualities.
The warm breeze and the bright sunshine of the day accompanied the duet known as Woodrow www.facebook.com/wearewoodrow which consists of Theresa Ratcliff and Brian Brancamp. Those who were inside The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center gleefully ran outside like children entering a playground to enjoy of a long awaited recess so they could partake of the music. The sway of the notes and the voices of the singers wooed the streets of Stroudsburg, PA as even the post winter debris that laid upon the roads seemed to move as in a dance. They were followed by a series of speakers who spoke on the environment.
The first of these speakers were Mark Lichty who began his remarks by emphasizing the world is experiencing a Climate Crisis and it was a folly to keep repeating the term “Climate Change” as people, in his opinion, needed to wake up to the severity of the situation. He then invited artists who have participated in the exhibit to speak about their work and how their feelings relating to the environment shaped their endeavors. Jill Swersie accepted the invitation and spoke from her place in the audience with words that echoed throughout the gathering with their resonance and touched the heart with their meaning. It was after these inspiring word was the next speaker invited to share his thoughts.
Dr. Paul Wilson of East Stroudsburg University of PA spoke at length on the challenges the scientific community faces when there is perception that weather conditions are the same as climatic conditions. The speaker utilized a number of charts and diagrams to illustrate his points with great effect. His words educated the audience further on the issue and their conclusion brought a thoughtful countenance upon the audience. He was followed by PoconoArts Coordinator, Laura Goss, who spoke on how the expressive nature of the arts brought a deeper perspective to the issue and presented an award to Darlene Farris-LaBar of Stroudsburg, PA for her Three Dimensional work. Other Awards and recipients were John Collier Sabraw of Athens, OH for his Two Dimensional work, Ethan Hambry of Watertown MA who received the ARTSPACE Student Award, Jave Yoshimoto of Alva, OK who received the Otto Grever Printmaking Award, Minoosh Zomorodinia of Albany, CA who received the Pocono Mountain Arts Council Photography Award, and Nikki Moser of Factoryville, PA who received The Kay and Girard Lichty Climate Crisis Award for Best in Show. Award sponsors were the Pocono Mountain Arts Council www.facebook.com/pages/Pocono-Mountain-Arts-Council/152978551380883?fref=ts and Mark Lichty.
After receiving her award, Ms. Farris-LaBar spoke about the many factors that inspired her work and her dedicated connection to environmental issues. She was followed by Nikki Moser who also spoke on the inspirational factors of her work and on the environment in general. The conclusion of Ms. Moser's words were followed by some closing remarks given by Ms. Goss which included an invitation to come inside the center to partake of the art with all the wonders and insights it has to offer along with the food that still remained. It was a joy to re enter the gallery to partake of the work presented. There were a sense of uniqueness among the pieces as each sought to communicate the artist's understanding and concern of the issues the exhibit pertained to. The conversations shared were enlivened by the display as the viewers' own perceptions of the issues shown an inner light upon the social intercourse.
It was about this time did I decide to venture from the center to explore the offerings the town of Stroudsburg had in other locations. It was during my wanderings did I come across The Main St. Jukebox who were celebrating The 8th Annual Record Store Day which began when a group of Record Store owners in Baltimore, MD founded it in 2007 to boost sales. The day at The Main St. Jukebox was filled with special discounts on their Vinyl Record Albums and music from bands that played for the store's patrons. One of the bands were playing when I visited was known as “Lorg” www.facebook.com/lorgreggae who consists of Sean Costello on Guitar and Vocals, Destin Muller on Bass and Backup Vocals, Henry Heisenbuttel on Keyboard, and Brett Ross on Drums and Throat Drums. Unfortunately, I was unable to stay for their entire set or for the remainder of the celebration as it was time for me to go home.
It was an enjoyable day filled with poetry, art, music, insightful speeches, and good conversation with wonderful friends. The PoconoArts Council's exhibition titled, “The Earth Speaks” will continue to be on display at The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA until April 26th. Their next exhibition will be their 2015 PoconoArts Members’ Show which will hold an Artists' Reception and Awards Ceremony on Saturday May 16th during the town's Annual Art on Main event. This exhibition will continue to be on display until May 30th. You’ll find more photographs taken during The PoconoArts Council's The Earth Speaks Artists' Reception and the Record Store Day Celebration at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153777730353761.1073741840.91146283760&type=1. You'll also find our archive of photographs taken at various galleries in The Pocono Art District throughout 2015 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153087858925421.1073741965.636000420&type=3 as well as events featuring the Creative Arts throughout Monroe County, PA and beyond at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.819876711417115.1073741834.250942068310585&type=1. In addition to this, you'll find archival photographs of events featuring the Performing Arts throughout Monroe County, PA and beyond at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.789279141163124.1073741841.207838092640568&type=1.
The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center is part of The PoconoArts Council which is an organization designed to build the communities in which it serves artistically and culturally by providing leadership, service, and education. It does so by offering avenues for artists to display their work through the center and other galleries, educational opportunities for those who would like to explore and/or enhance their creative natures, and encouragement to those who seek to express and/or support the arts. You’ll be able to learn more about The PoconoArts Council, The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center, and all they offer the creative community at www.facebook.com/poconoartscouncil.
Photography by Paparazzi Paul.