Thursday, March 31, 2011

The ESU Student Art Show

The East Stroudsburg University (ESU) of PA Art Department held an Artists’ Reception for their students participating in “The ESU Art Association All University Student Juried Art Exhibit” on Wednesday March 30th in The Madelon Powers located within The campus’ Fine and Performing Arts Building. A wide variety of styles and topics were encountered by each member of the well attended event as they peered within realm of the students’ imaginations and considerable talent. The work was indeed impressive as some were very seemingly simplistic pieces while others were much more sophisticated in their appearance. However, upon creating a closer relation with each work, one found intricate aspects to the “simple” pieces which gave them a deeper presence while one can move toward the more sophisticated work to discover a detail in the object which allows its meaningful communication to the viewer to simply exist.

Awards were given throughout the event to those students who proved themselves to be event more exceptional artists among their peers. James Gloria of The Totts Gap Arts Institute (TGAI) in Bangor, PA served as Juror for the exhibition and his work in selecting which pieces were to receive awards must have been a daunting one. The awards were provided by The ESU Society of the Arts.

These awards were presented to Malinda Peters who received the first place award and $300 for her work titled, “Reflection on Sunglasses,” Drew Dvorsky who received the second place award and $200 for his work titled, “Deep Snow,” and Benjamin Koch who received the third place award and $100 for his work titled, “Decay.” Those who received Honorable Mentioned were Bethany Wert for her work titled, “Forest” and Dominick Frabizio for his work titled, “No Wake” along with Evan Sells and Mel Rivera for their work titled, “A Smuggler‘s Advice from a Caterpillar at a Mad Tea Party in Seville (aka The Wedding Ring).”

The remainder of artist who shared their work included Elisabeth Brennan, Karen Raptakis, Amanda Hoffman. Christopher P. Schatzle, Agnette Krechner, Angelina Fregoni (who serves as The ESU Art Association Treasurer), Mirtha L. Estevez, Kevin Galligan, Erin Raught, Lauriel Gingrich, Jamie Kramer, Bridget Arrow, Courtney Sherba, Sam Peterson, Nicole Thomas, Alma Barrantes, Kayla Littrell, Winnie Geyer, Abby Oxford (who serves as The ESU Art Association Vice President), Abby Braman, Elizabeth Dugan, Nicole Warn, Anthony Negron, Alyssa Kopf, Amanda Boye, Brian Hannessy, Patrick Burns, Alisa Stengel, Samantha Garcia, Caitlyne Steininger, and Laura Suits. Each of the pieces presented by these artists had their own individual outstanding qualities. The love and enthusiasm these students have for the arts shown throughout their work and their conversations. You’ll find more Photographs taken during the reception in The Visual Arts 2011 Gallery at

The ESU Art association is a student run organization whose goal is to inspire opportunities to live a better life in relation to art among those residing on campus and the surrounding community. Meetings are held weekly and all art lovers are invited to attend. In addition to those already mentioned in this article, the group’s officers include Steve Simorka who serves as its President. Professor David Mazure serves as the groups Faculty Advisor. The ESU Art Association All University Student Juried Art Exhibition Continues until April 12th. Their next exhibition will be for their Senior Seminar and Portfolio exhibition beginning with an Artists’ Reception to be held Wednesday April 27th and will conclude on May 4th. You can learn more about The ESU Art association and how to become a part of their future endeavors by visiting or by contacting The ESU Art Department at 570-422-3216.

The ESU Society for the Arts consists of a group of local arts enthusiasts and patrons who make annual scholarships and awards possible for arts majors at ESU. For more information about The ESU Society for the Arts and how to become a part of it, please contact Dr. Peter Hawkes at 570-422-3474.

The Totts Gap Arts Institute (TGAI) in Bangor, PA is designed to nurture artists of all ages and to awaken the excitement, passion, and possibility of both the fine and performing arts by offering classes, showcasing talent, and hosting events that will infuse our community and the region with a love and respect for the creative process. You can learn more about The Totts Gap Arts Institute (TGAI) and all it has to offer the community by exploring their website at or by calling 610-588-5817.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A House Filled with the Richness of Ragtime

The ArtMusic Coffeehouse in East Stroudsburg, PA presented the duo known as “Rags to Riches” on Saturday March 26th. An evening of Ragtime melodies delighted the numerous music lovers who attended the concert while Don Slepian and Jan Julia provided an hospitable atmosphere enhancing the musical performance.

Those who frequent the concerts were welcomed back by the culinary treats and the delectable conversations they have shared with friends they’ve established throughout the years. However, many of those who have only recently discovered The ArtMusic Coffeehouse Series mentioned a certain feeling of familiarity as they entered the dwelling as if they have been there for quite a long time. They soon realized this familiarity was due to the fact the home of Don Slepian and Jan Julia reflects the home we all have deep inside our hearts.

As with all concerts given at The ArtMusic Coffeehouse, Rags to Riches was preceded by a performance given by host Don Slepian whose original, impromptu compositions laid a relaxing groundwork enhancing the musical journey that was soon to follow. Rags to Riches’ pianist Don Kawash and bass-baritone Randy Shupp faithfully captures the spirit of the Ragtime Genre as their overwhelming love for the music shown through in their performance. The joyous expression they transmitted were clearly received by all who came to hear them as evident in the glittering smiles seen in each pair of eyes. You’ll find more information about Rags to Riches and the musical history of Ragtime at You’ll find more Photographs taken during the concert in The ArtMusic Coffeehouse 2011 Gallery at

The ArtMusic Coffeehouse holds its concert series in the home of Don Slepian and Jan Julia who reside in the borough of East Stroudsburg, PA. A variety of musical forms are presented including folk, jazz, classical, and electronic music. Although the concerts welcomes all who wish to attend, seating is limited as it they take place in a private home. The Next The ArtMusic Coffeehouse Concert will feature Ben Carol on Tuesday April 5th and Sundad on Saturday April 16th. Both concerts will begin at 8pm. Please Explore The ArtMusic Coffeehouse Website at or Call 570-476-6307 for more information and to reserve your seat.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Ka-son del la Cheeky

The Cheeky Monkey Coffeehouse in Stroudsburg, PA held an Artist’s Reception which featured the work of Ka-son Reeves on Friday March 4th. While most of the wall containing his work were of the stylized depictions of the human condition which many who come to love his work are familiar with, there were a few pieces that were quite different demonstrating his proficiency as an artist. These ranged from realism to symbolic depictions of life’s inner struggles and triumphs.

One of Ka-Son’s works is titled, “Rif” which depicts a young man looking out upon a city landscape. During a conversation with the artist while experiencing this very realistic depiction, he shared his admiration of the great artists such as Rembrandt who utilized shadows and dark textures in his backgrounds until they gained a uncommon equality with the subject without detracting from it’s significance. This masterful feat can be easily seen echoed in this work as each skillful stroke of colors enhances both the fore and background bringing the viewer deeper into not only the scene and the young man’s ponderings but into the viewer as well.

Another one of Ka-Son’s works is a symbolic depiction consisting of two arms burdened with chains. As with all symbolic images, the viewer is free to create their own interpretation. I won’t endeavor to offer my reflections upon this image as it would be erroneous to deprive those who visit the gallery after reading this article of the enjoyment of embracing an interpretation of their own. However, there is something which derived from my continued conversation with Ka-Son which bears repeating.

Ka-Son told me he has many such works in his home which are presently unfinished. He said this was due to his hesitancy in completing them until he had enough talent to do justice to the work. This reminded me of the excavations of Pompeii. When the Roman city of Pompeii was discovered under the ashes of the ancient eruption of Mount Vesuvius, a truer depiction of life in the 70AD era came into being surpassing all previous speculations and understandings. The importance of the Archeological Information it divulged was and continues to be beyond measure.

However, in spite of the excitement these revelations inspired, it was decided much of the area would remain untouched. It was realized the tools they had may be inadequate to explore and comprehend the historical treasures they recently encountered. An agreements was reached to leave much of what was there to a future time when equipment and skills of a more enlightened scientific community matched the task of unwrapping all that is yet to be discovered without detracting from it’s significant offerings. The decision of Ka-Son not to complete his more symbolic pieces until he feels it’s time to do so reflects this disciplined restraint and creates a deeper appreciation for what his considerable skills are presently able to manifest.

The music accompanying the reception was provided by singer/songwriter Jeni Hacket who has become a favorite among those who frequent The Cheeky Monkey Coffeehouse. The soulful combination of original songs and those established by others enhanced the delightful atmosphere permeating the thoughts and conversations of the many who attended the event. Jeni has an uncanny ability of touching an undiscovered quality of each song and present it in a new way. It was often a challenge to determine where her rendition of a song (her own or others) began and those instilled in the listeners’ spirit ended.

The next Artist’s Reception The Cheeky Monkey Coffeehouse* in Stroudsburg, PA will feature the work of David Ohkerling and be held on Friday May 6th beginning at 6pm. This Exhibition will continue until June 30th. The current Exhibition featuring the Art of Ka-Son Reeves continues until May 1st. You’ll find more photographs taken during the reception in The Cheeky Monkey 2011 Gallery at

The Cheeky Monkey Coffeehouse offers a variety of coffee, drinks, and culinary treats along with events such as the one described in this article. Future events include their Open Mic Night with takes place every Tuesday evening, The “Just Say It: A Spoken Word Symposium” events which takes place every Thursday evening, their monthly comedy night featuring the Off Track Players on Friday March 11th, The Urban Mountain Voices’ monthly Youth Open Mic Night on Saturday March 26th, and The Forwardian Arts Society monthly Film Lovers’ Gathering on Friday April 15th. Please Explore The Cheeky Monkey Coffeehouse Website at or Call 570-420-8222 for more information.