Schoharie tips hat to arts grants winners


By Patsy Nicosia

Schoharie County recognized 18 artists and their projects last Tuesday in a reception held at the Old Stone Fort.
The artists are among those receiving grants for everything from giant puppets to poetry workshops as part of the Community Arts Program, funded by the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program and administered locally by the Greene County Council on the Arts.
Across the Schoharie, Greene, and Columbia County region, 55 grants totaling $126,000 were awarded for 2019.
And not to be greedy, but that’s still not enough, said John Townsend, vice president of the Klinkhart Hall Arts Center in Sharon Springs, one of this year’s grant recipients.
“This is our money,” Mr. Townsend said, echoing the words of Dennis Shaw, Schoharie County’s grant coordinator, at the start of the reception.
“I would ask everyone here to make some noise. Talk to your elected officials about more money for the arts.”
2019 marks the 130th anniversary of the Old Stone Fort, which is planning a variety of programs and events to mark the event.
Welcoming Tuesday’s crowd, Dan Beams, acting director at the Old Stone Fort, talked about the natural partnership between history and the arts.
“I know all of our goals are pretty much the same,” he said, with one of the partnership events a June 15 “Music for the President: 230th Anniversary of Washington’s First Inaugural” concert at the Schoharie Presbyterian Church.
While the Fort marked its 125th anniversary highlighting its past, the 130th will focus on “where we’ve come from and where we’re going,” Mr. Beams added.
Mr. Shaw also spoke to the importance of arts and artists locally; everyone applying for a 2019 grant got some funding.
“There’s an awful lot going on here,” he said.
Many of the artists receiving grants were on hand to talk about their projects.
Dianna Cook of Richmondville was awarded the only local Individual Artist grant which she said she’ll use to create at least six narrative pieces of local color that will be exhibited at a show later this year.
The Gilboa Historical Society received two grants, in the Arts Education category for a “Igniting Youth Leadership at the Gilboa Museum” program planned for later this year.
As one of the Community Project Support grant winners, the Klinkhart Hall Arts Center is planning its 3rd annual Poetry Festival, set for October 18-19 and this year featuring Erica Jong among others.
“If you missed the other two, you won’t want to miss this one,” Mr. Townsend said.
Landis Arboretum, represented Tuesday by Anne Donnelly and Gail Browning, will again stage its Full Moon Music Series and also host the Mettawee River Theater Company.
“We couldn’t do this without this grant,” Ms. Donnelly said.
Panther Creeks Arts, West Fulton, received funding for “Tiny Arts Day in a Tiny Town,” the Esperance Historical Society for “Go Slowly Averil,” a new, original play, and Catskill Tri-County Historical Views, in support of its publication.
The Jefferson Historical Society received a grant for “Maple Museum Free Music & More 2019;” Music at the Mill, Richmondville, for “Music at the Mill,” and the Upper Catskill String Quartet, Cobleskill, for concerts.
Decentralization grants will also help fund the Middleburgh Historical Society’s arts project featuring signal flags, Children’s Summer Programs at Depot Lane, Schoharie; and the Schoharie County Historical Society for its “Washington” concert, and Sonny Ochs, Middleburgh, for the “Not So Quiet Concert Series,” at the Middleburgh Library.
Finally, grants went to the Schoharie Free Library for an art, music, and dance series; the Schoharie Valley Singers, in support of their 2019 season; the Theater Project of Schoharie County and the Timothy Murphy Playhouse.