A Summer Virtual Art Show
at the Pawling Library
By Donald Partelow
August 16, 2019 / 6:30-8:30 pm
A Summer Virtual Art Show was the third and final program made possible through a grant the Pawling Library was awarded by the American Library Association. This program was designed to encourage community conversations and its inspiration was based on the PBS documentary American Creed.
At this interactive, fast-paced event, artwork was exhibited through a PowerPoint presentation while each artist spoke for ten minutes about their work. Questions and comments followed each talk. Artists Elisabeth Frischauf, Marian Grudko, Lonna Kelly, Kaete Brittin Shaw, and Donald Partelow participated in the show. The theme of community emerged as the audience listened to the artists speak of their work, its genesis and their inspirations.
In addition to the visual arts, there was also the performance of a song, entitled “A Working Village” with lyrics by author/poet Johnny Ray Moore and music by Marian Grudko. The song was especially meaningful to this program as it centered on the importance of family and spoke of how a united people can make a positive impact in their community and beyond. “Together we can change the world,” is a verse from the song. Following the presentation of the audio recording, Mr. Moore, who resides in North Carolina, made a special call in during the program to speak to the audience. “A Working Village” was recorded and performed by singer/pianist Andrew Grainger, who lives in Austin, Texas.
Artist Kaete Brittin Shaw created a sculpture in response to author T.A. Youngs’ poem, “by the river”. With the image of Ms. Shaw’s sculpture, “The Swing”, projected on the screen behind her, Marian Grudko read the poem and then the eloquent letters that Young and Shaw wrote to one another after Mr. Young first saw Ms. Shaw’s sculptural response. The letters are literary works of art in themselves. These two artists have never met – except through their art.
At the end of the program a questionnaire was distributed to the audience. Three questions were asked and this what the people kindly shared with us:
What do you think unites us as a nation?
“Democratic principles, freedom, liberty, hope.” “Our kindness and willingness to help.” “Love of country.” “Our innocence and idealism. We are a young nation full of refugees from older nations.” “Our history and democratic traditions.” “Shared values, shared purpose-almost all have come from somewhere else.” “Our culture, our hope for the future, our humanity.”
What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or country?
“Create opportunities for more dialogue.” “To get along and enjoy one another’s backgrounds.” “Tolerance! Could we be kind, nurturing and accepting?” “Recovering the sense of the common good.” “To work together, to learn, to thrive, to be kind to each other, to grow and prosper.” “That the quality of life will be enriched in every way for every person.” “More diversity and open discussions on how to improve our democratic systems.” “To work together to preserve and enhance our environment locally which is where we live and care the most. Doing clean-up, we can all unite.”
How can we work together to overcome the divisions in our society?
“We have to learn to work together by listening to one another and understanding one another’s point of view so we can make decisions with compromise.” “Conversations and kindness.” “By treating others with respect and acceptance.” “I wish we could listen to the kids. Most of them are more tolerant and accepting of differences.” “Speak to each other, empathize and be kind, and understanding-enjoy every person’s contribution. Encourage creativity.” “Acceptance of diversity and fair treatment for all the population.” “Simple projects. We draw together, clean-up together, eat and taste local goodies together, music, sing together, dance, smile and laugh.”
And two people wrote under additional comments: “The libraries and community centers are great engines of community, getting together and outreach to host events like today.” “Programs such as this help unite people. We need more of them!”
The Pawling Library wishes to thank all the artists and guests who attended our Summer Virtual Art Show, for their talent, support, good hearts, and thoughtful words. Thank you for providing a forum where diverse voices and perspectives could be heard, and manifest through literary and artistic expression. Our library will be sure to have more such enriching artistic community events.