an extremely hot summer day, I traveled to the town of Milford, PA on
An Artful Bears Community Picnic was being held at the Milford
Community House and the monthly Art After Dark event presented the
work of local artists in several galleries throughout the town. The
oppressive heat was enough to sap the energy of any ordinary mortals.
However, the overwhelming desire to kindle the passion of the day's
offerings provided each participant with super human abilities to
transform the thermodynamic
challenges into experiences that were very cool.
day in Milford began at the town's Community House whose front lawn
was the site of the Artful Bears Community Picnic. The event offered
free food and music while serving to initiate the 17th
Annual Black Bear Film Festival. The afternoon also provided
opportunities to chat with those who are intimately involved in the
endeavor. My arrival was met with the sight of the festival's
Executive Director, Will Voelkel, being interviewed by Wendy Stuart
for an on line broadcast to appear on the Festival's Facebook Page.
Laughter filled the conversation which would prove to be contagious
among the huge number of attendees as the day progressed.
grounds were strewed with objects under black sheets of which many
eyed with anticipation. This anticipation was instilled by the
knowledge that artists throughout the community have created special
sculptures of Bears to be revealed later that day. The local media
was present and eagerly sought out the artists who created the
three-dimensional figures along with those who served the festival in
administrative capacities in order to share their comments and
insights with their audience. These individuals were also sought out
by the many attendees as well as their desire to learn more about the
festival and the art that was to be revealed ignited their curiosity.
addition to the wonderful foods and the delightful conversations that
populated the day, music was performed by guitarist Ernie Kara
(570-269-4422). The soothing sounds emanating from his instrument and
voice added a flavor to the afternoon which made it even more
enjoyable. A wide variety of songs were played that incited the ear
to listen while recalling the day it was first embraced as a life
memory by the heart. It was after a time when the festival's
Executive Director, Will Voelkel, took the stage in order to welcome
the gathering and to share news of what was to come throughout the
year leading up to the festival's screening and exploring of
independent films in October. He then introduced the co Presidents of
the festival, Amy Eisenberg and Amy Bridge. Ms. Eisenberg proceeded
to extend a great deal of appreciation to all who made the day
possible. These included the Artful Bear Artist Coordinator, Timothy
Moreland, the Artful Bear Logistics Coordinator, Valerie Brairton,
and Festival's social media
specialist, Richard D’Ambrosia.
It was at the conclusion of her heartfelt sentiments did she begin
the process of unveiling the bears.
Ms. Eisenberg called out the artist's name and the name of the piece,
the artist pulled away the concealing sheet in order to reveal the
creation. The pieces would then be moved to various locations
throughout the town after the picnic concluded. Each revelation was
met with a great deal of applause and the clicking of many cameras.
The first of these sculptures was created by Lynn Rideout and is
titled, “Go! Bearriett Go!” The piece was sponsored by The
Litzenberger Foundation and is now placed at The Pike County Public
Library. The next sculpture was created by Craig Smedley and is
titled, “Bearings” and is now placed at Jorgenson's at the
Dimmick. The next sculpture was created by Jesse Clemente and is
titled, “Keith Bearing” The piece was sponsored by Milford
Chrysler and is now placed at The JIVE Bar and Lounge. The next
sculpture was created by Beau Gostomsky and is titled, “There....
Bearly” The piece was sponsored by The Hotel Fauchere and is now
placed at The Pastisserie Fauchere. The next sculpture was created by
Cera Alber and the UDGLBT P3 and is titled, “Finding Bearself”
The piece is now placed at The Key Food Marketplace. The next
sculpture was created by Laurie Benjamin and students of the
Dingman-Delaware Middle School and is titled, “Go! Bearriett Go!”
The piece is now placed at Citizen's Bank. The next sculpture was
created by Nat Yingling and is titled, “Bar Bear-Ian!” The piece
was sponsored by Kahr Arms and is now placed at Luhr's True Value
Hardware. The next sculpture was created by Joe Petrosi and is
titled, “Mirra Beara Bella” The piece is now placed at Davie R.
Chant Real Estate. The next sculpture was created by Robin Lennon
and is titled, “Lady Galactica” The piece is now placed at
WAL-MART. The next sculpture was created by Richard D' Ambrosia and
is titled, “Superbear” The piece is now placed at Progressive
Health of PA. The final sculpture was created by Amy Row and is
titled, “Bearve Heart” The piece is now placed at The Milford
the final statue was revealed, the company of art lovers lingered
with the bears to capture more images at variant perspectives and to
commune with the piece's spirit. The afternoon progressed to the
announcement of a raffle in which a bear created during the previous
year was being offered as the prize. The tickets were selected and
the numbers were called. Each ticket holder eyed the sequence of
their numeric hopes until the corresponding digits were revealed. A
thundering exclamation echoed from the crowd as the winner came forth
to claim his prize. He was soon met with a chorus of congratulatory
sentiments by the gathering as he verified his ticket to be the
winning one. This included those given by Smokey the Bear who visited
the event. It was soon after this did members of the gathering begin
to leave the picnic. Farewells were shared as was the excitement of
upcoming events associated with The Black Bear Film Festival
throughout the Summer and Fall months. It was a great time filled
with a lot of fun and wonderful conversations. It was good to make
Black Bear Film Festival (BBFF) is a non-profit organization
dedicated to spreading joy and building community through the art of
film. They do this by presenting exceptional independent films to the
public, hold various events to celebrate the art and craft of film
making, and partner with schools to inspire students to become
filmmakers and aficionados of film. BBFF is run by volunteers and is
sustained by members, sponsors, advertisers, and donors. The climax
Annual Black Bear Film Festival will be held October 14th
to the 16th
with screenings, workshops, and salons in various locations. You can
learn more about The 17th
Annual Black Bear Film Festival by exploring their Facebook Page at
or their Website atwww.blackbearfilm.com.
my farewells came to their conclusion, the quaint streets of the town
summoned me as the monthly Art After Dark event began. The phenomenon
provides visitors an opportunity to explore the creative aspects of
the borough and it's citizenry. It has been several years since I've
partook of the aesthetic adventure and I was glad to embark upon it
again. The first venue I visited was The Golden Fish Gallery.
my arrival to the venue, I was immediately greeted by it's owner,
John Longendorfer, who opened the establishment in 1997 with his son
Edwin. We chatted about many things including the Milford art scene
which I was eager to learn more about. The gallery hosted a number of
works created by a multitude of artists ranging from fantastical
sculpted pieces to pen and ink drawings. The quality of the creative
endeavors provided a source of pleasure to the eye while allowing a
meaningfulness to touch the heart of the viewer. You can learn more
about The Golden Fish Gallery by exploring their Facebook Page at
or their Website at www.goldenfishgallery.com.
an enjoyable visit, I ventured outside the gallery where some
individuals from a group known as Pride and Purpose
had several items on display for sale. These included African wild
animals sculpted from Soda Cans. I then continued to travel the
sidewalks of Milford until I came across The Artisan Exchange
who housed a variety of sculpted and two dimensional items. Their
huge inventory was impressive and it took quite some time to partake
of the enjoyment these pieces embodied both individually and
collectively. However, I did eventually exit the establishment and
continued across the street to my next destination.
The ARTery Gallery
held an Artists' Reception for their August Exhibition featuring the
work of June Ponte and Rosealind Hodgkins.
The work of these two extraordinary artists proved to be a stark
contrast to one another while being simultaneously complimentary. The
darkened shadows found in Ms. Ponte's portraits, which included those
of Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde, and John Lennon, created a mood
within the frame that moved the viewer toward a deeper fascination of
the subject. Ms. Hodgkins' work revealed the bright hues inherent in
the subjects she uniquely capture on her canvas allowing them to move
beyond the frame to become reflections of the eternal joys that dwell
within the heart and soul. Together, their approaches to the art of
making art exhibited the vastness of the human experience.
work of other artists populated the gallery alongside those created
by Ms. Ponte and Hodgkins. They included Liza J. Smith-Simpson
Debbie Gioello www.debbiegioello.com,
and the gallery's curator, Marie Liu www.mliuart.com.
Their work (and those of others) further enhanced the flow of the
gallery as each individual of the large number of attendees explored
the groupings of images that were placed within the maze like
interiors upon which each turn down the corridors became an intrigue
as the wonders of entire exhibition were discovered. You'll
find more photographs of my adventures in the arts in The Black Bears
and Dark Arts in Milford Gallery at
Hodgkins received her BFA Degree from The Pratt Institute in
Brooklyn, NY in 1965. She also studied at the Art Students League in
New York, NY and at The Hull College of Art in England. Ms. Hodgkins
also studied philosophy at the New School in New York, NY. After
living and developing an art career in New York City for over 40
years, she currently lives and paints in Port Jervis, NY. Ms.
Hodgkins utilizes unusual scale, invented perspective, shadows, and
reflections as well as symbols and metaphors to construct a narrative
picture of images of nature seen from an imagined vantage point
originating from common frames of reference such as the cycle of
seasons and other phenomena of nature. You can learn more about
Rosealind Hodgkins and her work by exploring her Website atwww.rozhodgkins.com.
Ponte is a self-taught artist who lives in Stillwater, NJ and creates
portraits of creative historic figures along with paintings laced
with mystic symbolism which evolves from her work as a spiritual
medium. Ms. Ponte
is also the author and crafts designer of “Fun and Simple State
Crafts” which is a series of nine children’s
crafts books published by Enslow Publishers.
Ms. Ponte's abilities as a mediumistic empath enables her to connect
sitters with their loved ones on the other side while assisting her
clients in realizing that life does go on even after “death.” You
can learn more about June Ponte, her art, and her psychic abilities
by calling 973-864-4480,
or by exploring her Website at www.njpsychicmedium.net.
ARTery Gallery in Milford, PA is located in the town's historic
Forest Hall and began in the summer of 1999. The Artery is a
cooperative owned and operated by over 15 successful and emerging
artists and artisans from the Tri-State (NY, NJ, PA) area who has
shown their work throughout the world. The gallery's exhibitions are
well known for their
eclectic character as each artist in the collective have their own
definitive style and approach toward their medium. The current
exhibition for August featuring the work of June Ponte and Rosealind
Hodgkins will continue to be on display until September 5th.
The next exhibition will be their September show featuring the works
John Capanna, Al Rosser, and Carol Margreither. The Artists'
Reception is scheduled for Saturday September 10th
beginning at 6pm during the town's Art After Dark event and will
continue to be on display until October 3rd.
You can learn more information about The ARTery Gallery, their
upcoming exhibits, their members, and how to become a member by
exploring their Facebook Page at
and their Website at www.arterygallerymilford.com.