Update from the Director
Update from the Director
June 19, 2020
Dear Community of the Pelham Art Center,
It has been a difficult past three months. The Pelham Art Center closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. March 13, 2020, and we are now planning to reopen to the public. We hope everyone is staying healthy, safe, and practicing social distancing. At this time, our gallery space is now open by appointment only. Our 50th Anniversary exhibition is currently on view. If you would like to revisit this phenomenal timeline exhibition celebrating the 50 year history of art bringing the community together please contact [email protected] to make an appointment.
Pelham Art Center strongly believes in the power of art as an educational tool to celebrate and communicate the voices of all people. We believe in the strength of diversity and support the Black Lives Matter movement, and are hopeful the current political events will lead to valuable change and an awakening to the institutionalized racism in America.
Today we installed a public art project in our courtyard Pelham’s Laundry. This public art installation sheds light on individuals’ experiences of racism in Pelham that is unfortunately in all too recent history. Pelham’s Laundry will be on view Juneteenth through the 4th of July, two seminal markers of American history. Sunday, July 5th we will have a Community Art Day from 1-3pm. Please join me and exhibition curator, facilitator and producer Sabrina Harrison, Astiney Montiel, and Paula Wood in our courtyard to engage in conversations about art and social justice. Our hope is that this project encourages healing and empathy through the recognition of racism within our local community.
During our Community Art Days we will also be working on our collective community art project “Pelham Art Rocks.” This project will continue growing throughout the summer. Our rock garden is a collaborative expression of the resilience and vibrancy of our community. Summer Community Art Days are July 5th and August 2nd, 1-3pm, with rain dates the following Sunday. Anyone is welcome to take a rock, paint it and bring it back to help this rock garden grow.
Our next public art installation of colorful, playful sculpture by Don Porcaro is coming to the courtyard July 7th. Our annual Student Exhibition starts July 10th on our website. We hope all students who took classes from Summer 2019-Spring 2020 will participate in this year’s virtual show. Students, family and friends can gather and toast together at our Zoom opening reception Friday, July 10th at 6pm.
In reaction to self-isolation and COVID-19, artist and curator Christina Massey has started the USPS Art Project (#USPSArtProject), which encourages artists to co-create via the mail in order to support the struggling USPS. Artists across the country are invited to participate. The Pelham Art Center will be the first to physically exhibit this project, which will then travel around the country. Pieces should be mailed to the Art Center by July 18th. The exhibition will be open to the public in groups of up to 8 people from Saturday, August 1st through Monday, August 31st, and also viewable online.Summer gallery hours are: Tuesday-Friday 11am-4pm, Saturday 12pm-4pm, Closed Sunday and Monday, excluding closing day and Community Art Days.
We miss our students! In July we will be making some needed upgrades to our art studios so that we can welcome students back to a refreshed space. This is part of our 50th Anniversary Celebration as we proceed with needed repairs and improvements to our building and facilities. Every donation helps us to continue operating and contributes to these repair and improvement efforts. Support through membership, monthly donations, participation in virtual fundraising events, or even buying a T-Shirt are all greatly appreciated at this time.
When we enter phase 4 of re-opening, we will be offering semi-private workshops in all art media. These 90-minute private classes are available for all ages, in groups of 5-8 students. This will be a great way to create art in a safe and socially distant way. Some of these will take place in the Pelham Art Center courtyard, but we can also bring the art to you! If you are within a 5 mile radius of the Art Center, we will arrange an artist to come with basic supplies for a 90-minute art lesson. These are appropriate for all ages, fun for adults as well. I will be teaching some of these too, and I look forward to joining you in active art engagement. We will continue offering virtual classes, week-long classes for youth and multi-session classes for teens and adults in July and August. If all continues smoothly with COVID-related procedures, we will be inviting our painting and ceramic (teen & adult) students back to our space in August. We will have classes in the courtyard as much as possible. We hope to host a regular roster of Fall classes, following all CDC guidelines.
Thank you to everyone who has participated in our online virtual programs! Since April we have conducted 65 virtual programs and engaged over 600 participants in our virtual space. We are taking a 2 week break from virtual programs as we close our fiscal year, and will resume in July. We have conducted 25 virtual studio visits, intimate conversations with artists presenting their body of work. We introduced our audience to 30 artists: Michael Mut, Christina Massey, Anki King, Barry Mason, Katharine Dufault, Bob Clyatt, Edgar Jerins, Jackie Meier, Danny Simmons, Charlotte Mouquin, Etty Yaniv, Paul Michael Graves, Kate Fauvell, Christina Nicodema, Domenic Esposito, Anastasia Faiella, Don Porcaro, Rick Midler, Carol Diamond, Coby Kennedy, Arlene Rush, Samson Contompasis, Charles Clary, Gabrield Shuldiner, and the Highbrook Studio Artists: Rebecca Mills, Scott Seabolt, Victoria Rolett, Stacy Miller, Colleen Maria, and Oriana Colo-Reyes. We will continue these in July and August on Thursday evenings with Luiza Cardenuto, Stan Squirewell, Valerie Larko, and Jennifer Mack-Watkins. The $10 registration fees for these studio visits goes directly to support artists and nonprofit arts.
We have offered 12 hours of free virtual open studio time with Create & Connect, enabling people to come together in a virtual space for conversation and artmaking. We held a free, three-part art history break studying Chinese Landscape Painting with Shilpi Chandra. We have offered multiple online virtual workshops with Frank Fanelli, The Nerdy Duo, Dhanashree Gadiyar, Edgar Jerins, Jackie Meier, and Donna Ross. In early June we restarted one of our outreach programs in Mount Vernon, offering free virtual art education and delivering art materials to 30 students. We will continue our programs in Mount Vernon throughout the summer in a virtual space. These programs are currently funded through the Westchester Community Foundation, until June 2021.
After closing in March, instead of hosting our 50th Anniversary Legacy Gala, we distributed over 600 art kits through local businesses and key locations in Pelham, Mount Vernon, and New Rochelle. We believe in the healing power of art, especially in our most difficult times.
This has been an interesting and challenging time for the Pelham Art Center. We look to our mission as an organization to navigate these new waters. The Pelham Art Center is a non-profit educational and cultural institution committed to providing access to study, experience and appreciate the arts. We strive to be a vibrant, engaging arts space that provides unique opportunities to learn and enhance artistic skills and practices. With community at our core we welcome participants of diverse backgrounds, foster connections and encourage the open exchange of ideas. We move forward, in these difficult times, guided by our core values of creativity, innovation, community and respect. If you are interested in becoming more involved with the Pelham Art Center through volunteering or serving on our board of directors, please reach out to me personally.
Thank you to our annual sponsors: McClellan Sotheby’s International Realty, Meridian Risk Management, and Cincinnati Insurance. If you are considering a real estate transaction or insurance review, I encourage you to patronize these businesses, which so generously support the arts and our community.
We are incredibly grateful for support from NYSCA, ArtsWestchester, WCF, Strypemonde Foundation, Robert Goelet Foundation, The Junior League of Pelham, The Town of Pelham, and Golden Paints. We also thank our Board of Directors, members, students, and donors for your continued support.
Pelham Art Center
The arts empower. The arts give a voice to the voiceless. The arts help transform American communities and, as I often say, the result can be a better child, a better town, a better nation and certainly a better world. Let’s champion our arts action heroes, emulate them and make our communities everything we want them to be.”
-Robert L. Lynch, President, Americans for the Arts