Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Origins of Earthly Voices

In conjunction with the Pocono Arts Council's upcoming juried art exhibition titled, “The Earth Speaks,” the recently established Origins Gallery held an Artists' Reception on Saturday March 28th for their exhibition titled, “A Voice For The Earth.” The gallery is located on the Main Street of Stroudsburg, PA and the work featured was those created by local artists. The reception also featured a simple yet delightful cuisine of extraordinary delights that were prepared and served by Fran O'Hagan, soul touching music performed by Michael G. Williams and Baba Keino Anderson Gavinpiper along with Derrick (Decatur ST.) Jenkins, and an excitement filled Art Raffle which offered those who attended the event an opportunity win a piece donated by a local artist. In addition to all this, the photographic work of David Plank was on display in a space adjacent to the main gallery for all who were fortunate enough to venture to it and experience his incredible non digital images.

I arrived to the event early and was treated to the excitement the gallery's director, Jody Singer, and Assistant Director, Ashley C. Fontones, shared as they lovingly prepared the gallery in anticipation of a wonderful evening filled with meaningful art and conversation. Many friends of the gallery came to help in the preparations. These individuals included Jeffrey Solt of Puff's Magic Shoppe www.facebook.com/puffsmagicshoppe?fref=ts, Bradley Bartholomew, Kevin Cormier of Flowing Energy Tai-Chi www.facebook.com/pages/Flowing-Energy-Tai-Chi/216868115041521, and Carlton Farnbaugh. I also helped by placing some fliers on the gallery's bulletin board and stapling exhibition's two price lists together. The later task I performed was completed with erroneous results. This took talent. I then had re stable them all over again to correct the mistake.

As the hour to begin the reception approached, the musicians and several of the artists who were part of the exhibit began trickling in. They were soon followed by more artists and art lovers until the gallery was eventually filled to near capacity. Conversations flowed throughout the room as the joy of experiencing the wide variety of interpretations of the ecological theme of the exhibit flavored the enchanting tone of the words and thoughts that were shared. It was during this time did Jody Singer and Ashley C. Fontones stand before the gathering to share their welcoming remarks which were filled with an appreciative love for those who were present as they then shared news of upcoming events and offerings of the gallery. It was after these sharings concluded did the conversations members of the gathering were engaged in resumed in a more energized manner due to the revelations given by Mr. Singer and Ms. Fontones.

This energized flow in the conversation was enhanced as Michael G. Williams on Flute and Saxophone, Baba Keino Anderson Gavinpiper on Percussion and Vocals, and Derrick (Decatur ST.) Jenkins on Bass took the modestly sized stage and began to gently play a number of jazz pieces that simultaneously brought relaxation and excitement to the souls and bodily forms of those whose minds were touched by the deftly performed syncopated stylings of the trio. The musicians were joined by members of the gathering throughout the evening to share in the delights of music making. They included Tom and Carolyn Burbage along with Vid Ryan of The Juggernaut String Band www.facebook.com/JuggernautStringBand?fref=ts whose manipulation of the tambourines and maracas they were given added to the song they accompanied a delightful texture. The musicians were also joined by Ms. Joy Taney (also of The Juggernaut String Band) who shared a duet with Baba Keino Anderson Gavinpiper whose soulful depths brought the house down.

The tasty morsels created by Fran O'Hagan along with the wine that was served helped to nourish the gathering as they sought to devour the incredible work that hung upon the walls before them. Each of the pieces on display were as unique as the artist who rendered it. Yet, an overall quality permeated the exhibit as its environmental theme was met and transcended by much of the work that was presented. Viewing the work proved to be a delightfully mesmerizing experience as it inspired all who were touched by the images and colors to contemplate the natural world and their part in it more deeply.

It was while those who attended the reception were being enhanced by the work upon the gallery's wall did the much awaited and anticipated Art Raffle begin. Each purchaser of the raffle tickets that were available for acquisition throughout the evening held them tightly between their fingers as they eagerly waited for the digits to be called in hopes the numbers that would be announced matched those they possessed. The tension grew to a fevered pitch as the name of each number were verbalized until the climatic release of the final digit was called. This was followed an arousing scream of satisfaction as the winning ticket holder leaped across the room to claim his or her prize. This continued until the final number of the final ticket was read leading to numerous congratulatory sentiments being shared without an inappropriate amount of envy.

It was some time after this did the evening conclude and those who were enlivened by all they encountered bade their established and newly made friends fare well. It was an awarding and wonderful evening spent in conversation, music, and the arts. The exhibition continues to be on display until April 26th and I encourage anyone who has not seen it, to come to the gallery to do so. Those who have seen it during the reception need no encouragement from me to come back and rediscover the wonders of each piece. I plan to do so as I also feel there will be something new to experience during a second viewing of a number of the pieces.

The “A Voice For The Earth” exhibit is being presented at The Origins Gallery in conjunction with The Pocono Arts Council's www.facebook.com/poconoartscouncil?fref=ts upcoming juried art exhibition titled, “The Earth Speaks” which is a part of a National exhibit for the environment and will feature the work of local artists. The exhibit will hold an Artists' Reception on at Saturday April 18th in The ArtSpace Gallery of The Pocono Arts Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA. You can view photographs taken during the Origins Gallery's event at The “A Voice For The Earth” Artists' Reception at Origins 03-28-15 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153719517063761.1073741834.91146283760&type=1. You can also view images of the art work and other exhibitions taking place throughout the area in Our Creative Arts 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.819876711417115.1073741834.250942068310585&type=1 as well as photos taken of the event's musicians and other performances given in various locations at our Performing Arts 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.789279141163124.1073741841.207838092640568&type=1. In addition to this, you'll be able to view photographs taken at other venues throughout the area in Our Pocono Arts District 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153087858925421.1073741965.636000420&type=3.

The Origins Gallery is located on the lower level of The Gamers Edge Comics and Games Store www.facebook.com/TheGamersEdgeStroudsburg?fref=ts which can be found at 580 Main St. in Stroudsburg, PA. The Origins Gallery is a contemporary arts gallery within the newly formed Pocono Art District having one of the highest and fastest sales records in the Stroudsburg area, provides a space to those who teach the arts to those who would like to learn from them, and continues to do everything with the local community in mind. You can learn more about The Origins Gallery by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OriginsGalleryStroudsburg or their website at www.originsgallery.tk.

The next event to be presented at The Origins Gallery will be an evening with Comedians Dan Hoppel, Zack Hammond, and Matt Serniak on Wednesday April 1st beginning at 7pm to commemorate April Fools' Day. Their next exhibition will be the “Cover to Cover” competition/exhibition presented by The Forwardian Arts Society to determine what images will appear on the front and back cover of the upcoming 10th issue of their literary and arts magazine titled, “Forwardian.” The Artists' Reception is scheduled for Friday May 1st beginning at 6pm. More information about The Forwardian Arts Society, its literary and arts magazine, and the competition can be gained by exploring their website at www.forwardianarts.org. I hope to see you then.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Boundless Art of Youth

The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA held an Artists’ Reception on Friday February 27th for their 22nd Annual Juried Student Art Show in its main Artspace Gallery as part of the Pocono Arts Council's Youth in Art month long celebration. The exhibit showcases the works of students who are enrolled in the school systems scattered around the Monroe County, PA area. These schools include The East Stroudsburg High School (Southern Campus), The Pleasant Valley High School, The Pocono Mountain High School (East and West Campus'), and The Stroudsburg High School. The exhibition also included a space for Art Educators Nancy Bohm, George Boudman, Denise Thomas, Julia Thomas, Mark Ciocca, and Kris Miele-Beatty to display their considerable talents while the work of the late Hank Aldrich was shown throughout the center's Studio Gallery.

The imaginative beauty created by artists who have not yet been touched by the experiences that defines “matured” artists through their discernment of what works technically was found throughout the gallery. This refreshing approach not only epitomized the exuberance of youthful explorations but revived the memories of many who were able to recall how they lived their lives when they knew things before they learned about them. While this learning experience often enhances our perceptions of the essence of what we know, it also has a tendency create boundaries which limits our imaginative explorations because we become too familiar and complacent with our creative landscapes to entertain the notion that new vistas are waiting to be discovered. The work created by the students of local school systems circumvented these boundaries by simply not knowing where they are and therefore was able to manifest the fullness of their imagination through the images and sculpture they create to great effect.

The quality and the inspired effect the work shown in the exhibit had on the many who attended the reception was evident not only in each piece but in the countenance and conversation of the artists' family members and friends along with the impartial art lovers who were present. Yet, as astonishing the overall work was, there were certain pieces that stood out and embodied exceptional characteristics that often redefined the medium the artist endeavored to share their talents through. The jurors, whose daunting task it was to determine whom among the the incredibly gifted artists should be awarded prizes in each designated category, were Associate Professor Join Oye-Benintende who serves as Chairperson of The East Stroudsburg University of PA Art and Design Department as well as the Director of the campus' Madelon Powers Gallery and Suzanne Wefelman who has taught art in numerous public and private schools systems for over 30 years and currently instructs art affection-ados on how to release their creative nature though the arts. The award ceremonies began as PoconoArts Coordinator, Laura Goss, and PoconoArts President Jeff Kash stood before the gathering with Ms. Goss sharing her welcoming remarks prior to presenting the winners with their gifts.

In the category featuring Two Dimensional work, the award for third place went to Jordan Allen, the second place award went to Mohan Shen, and the first place went award to Seth Todora while Angel Topito and Jordan Kloiber received the Honorable Mentioned Accolades. In the category featuring Fine Crafts (Functional), the award for third place went to Jenise McDonald, the second place award went to Narissa Hajratalli, and the first place award went to Brianna Kish. In the category featuring Third Dimension Works (Sculpture/Non-Functional), the award for third place went to Ryan Cotte, the second place award went to Amber Smahaj, and the first place award went to Shannon Simpson. In the category featuring Photographic works, the award for third place went to Emilie Seda, the second place award went to Michael Martinetti, and the first place went to Reannon Zangakis. The Best of Show Award was presented to Kristan Lai for her work titled, “The New Highrise.” The Award Sponsors were The Monroe County Bar Association, The Pocono Chapter, PA Guild of Craftsmen, and The Pocono Arts Council.

Along with the work of the students whose display of talent are preeminent throughout the main gallery, The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center also shares the work of the members of the participating schools' faculty upon the wall bordering the back of the gallery. The creative expertize and profound proficiency of each artists is demonstrated in his/her astounding work along with the intrinsic beauty that struck a chord in each viewer's soul. In addition to the work presented in The Pocono Arts Council’s 22nd Annual Juried Student Art Show throughout the center's main gallery, a number of pieces were on display honoring the memory of an artist who brought a great deal of meaning to the life of the community through his work and endeavors to help others realize the creativity within themselves. The work created by Aldof “Hank” Aldrich were placed throughout the center's Studio Gallery allowing memories to flow from the piece to piece as those who knew him fondly reflected upon their encounters with his loving presence.

The Artists’ Reception for The Pocono Arts Council’s 22
nd Annual Juried Student Art Show at The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA inspired a thoughtful joy among the attendees. This consisted of the joy among the students who shared their first experience of seeing their work hung in a gallery setting with their contemporaries along with the joy experienced by those who explored their memories as well as the boundless exuberant nature of the work. The exhibit will continue to be on display in the center's Artspace Gallery until March 7th. The next event in The Pocono Arts Council's Youth in Art Celebration will be their 28th Annual Youth in Music Excellence Awards which will take place at The St. John’s Lutheran Church in Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday March 7th. The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center's next exhibition will be their Monroe County Bar Association Quilt Exhibition. The Artists' Reception is scheduled for Friday March 13th with the exhibit continuing to be on display until March 27th. You’ll find more photographs taken during The PoconoArts Council's 22nd Annual Student Exhibition Artists' Reception in www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153638920568761.1073741833.91146283760&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.

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

Photography by Paparazzi Paul