(845) 246-6944 · info@ArtTimesJournal.com

Art Times HomePage

Read previously published columns

By Cornelia Seckel
Art Times October 2005

Here it is, the time for harvesting, for changing seasons, and for getting ready to enjoy the fruits of summer’s labor. The season has begun with new exhibition schedules for galleries and theaters and concert halls beginning their 2005-2006 programming.  Each month it seems as if there are more and more creative people presenting their work, and it is harder and harder to even see the tip of the iceberg.

The awards presentation at the Pastel Society of America's
33rd Annual Exhibit at the National Arts Club, NYC

First, I want to report on the Pastel Society of America’s 33rd Annual Open Juried Exhibition: For Pastels Only held at their permanent home, The National Arts Club, NYC. The PSA was founded by Flora B. Giffuni in 1972, and she has recently donated monies to the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio for the Giffuni Gallery, a permanent space dedicated to the display of pastels. This show at the NAC is the best I have seen so far. Each year I seem to say that, each year I hear others say the same. What I particularly liked was the comment I overheard a woman make to her husband: “ I thought all pastels looked like what Joan does, these are all so very different” One of the missions of the society is to promote the medium and stretch the artists and their technical skill in their use of pastels. One invited guest shared this thought with me: “When an effect is achieved in a medium that is not conducive to that effect (like reflecting light with pastels) that artist has excelled in technique.” Certainly an idea to ponder.  This organization continues to excel thanks to the work of president Barbara Fishman and her hard-working Board.


Alyson Milbourn is excited about all the new art venues in Catskill, New York. With Gallery M she has joined the long established gallery at the Greene County Council on Arts and two new venues including Brik and Open Studio — all on Main Street. Patrick Milbourn’s landscapes and portraits were featured in their opening celebration and will be part of future exhibits. Call them at 518-943-2189  Salem Art Works opened last June and was founded by sculptor Anthony Cafritz. This new art center, located in Washington County, NY, offers residencies for artists in most disciplines. The idea is to encourage cross-pollination between the arts and to foster a spirit of collaboration. They also offer classes in drawing and printing for adults and children. North Bennington Art Park is their outdoor space for exhibitions of sculpture, installation art, and performances. Currently installed are 2 new sculptures by Mark di Suvero. An Afternoon of Art & Foliage on Saturday, Oct 15 from 11am-5, is a fundraiser for Salem Art Works and will include a luncheon, guided tours of sculpture park, iron pour and live music. For more information: www.salemartworks.com or 518-854-7674  • I just got a book called Artists Estates: Reputations in Trust edited by Magda Salvesen and Diane Cousineau and published by Rutgers University Press. The book is a collection of interviews with family members who are left with their loved one’s artwork. What to do with the work and how to honor the deceased? Additional interviews with lawyers, gallery dealers and foundation directors will give families of not-so-famous artists ideas and possible solutions.


My exploration was focused fairly close to where I live which allowed me to spend some time in the garden gathering and putting up vegetables for the winter.

Wanda L. Houston in the Woodstock Fringe's production
of “For Sentimental Reasons”


Woodstock Fringe: Festival of Theatre & Song is about offering World Premiers. Wallace Norman, producing artistic director, said at the performance I went to: “We serve as a creative home to emerging and established playwrights, composers, writers, poets, performers, directors, and designers. We are thrilled to see the audience support in attending our productions; thank you.” This is their 3rd season and to date they have presented 14 world premieres, some of which have gone on to prestigious venues. I saw 2 one-act plays called “Two by Three by Three: an evening in two acts.” Both were excellent, both about memory and relating the events, one on the surface and the other below the surface as narrative about what the actors were feeling and doing. Wanda L Houston was fabulous as she related a time in her life  (I was transported into her kitchen and sat mesmerized by the retelling) of going to Harlem Square Club with her friend to see and meet Sam Cook. She painted a vivid picture of the night and sang some of Cook’s songs during this one act play, “For Sentimental Reasons”, written and directed by Judith Moore. The 2nd play, “Tuesdays & Sundays” by Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn was performed by David Nugent and Christianna Nelson. This play was the retelling by the couple of their meeting, and subsequent events which led up to a grand and disturbing finale. They speak dialogue and narration to one another, together and in opposition, as well as vocalizing their thoughts and feelings. What an excellent evening. The Festival takes place each year at the Byrdcliffe Theatre, Woodstock, NY from Mid-August thru Labor Day. For more information: www.woodstockfringe.org.


Fall for Art: Show and Sale is a fundraising event for the Jewish Federation of Ulster County and one that is always a success. It is successful because it is well organized, artists are deeply appreciated, food and drink are plentiful, and the community gives support in attending and purchasing the work on view. 30 artists were juried into the show. They sell their work and the Federation gets a percentage of the sale. It was particularly fun for me this year (and different) as our editor/artwriter, Raymond Steiner, was accepted into the show, and I was involved in preparing some of his materials and setting up his display area. For more information about the Federation call 845-338-8131 or www.ucjf.org.

Raymond J. Steiner & Cornelia Seckel outside the Woodstock Artists Association enroute to the Beaux Arts Western BBQ, Woodstock, NY

This year the Woodstock Artists Association held a Beaux Arts BBQ. It was a lot of fun putting together a cowgirl outfit to wear, learning some new step dances, and of course supporting the association. The auction, always held the next day was a big fundraiser with many great finds and fine bargains.


It has become quite popular to choose an afternoon or evening and for the galleries in a given town to have their exhibition openings, hosting a Gallery Stroll, Art Hop, or Art on Main. Whatever it is called, it is an excellent time to visit a town and explore their art scene. It had been a while since I did the 2nd Saturday in Woodstock, NY and by the end of the day I had gone from one end of town to the other. talked with it seemed hundreds of people, and saw paintings, photographs, sculpture and on this day, heard poetry read as it was also the weekend for the Woodstock Poetry Festival’s 2nd Saturdays Literary Events.








(L to R Ann Leonard, Michael Tischler (exhibiting artist) and Naty Mandel at the Northern Exposures Gallery, Woodstock, NY)

I began at the Woodstock School of Art’s regional exhibition that was juried by HongNian Zhang who had to choose from 180 submissions of slides (about 120 artists). There would have been many more, but work had to be hand-delivered. HongNian said that the best were always easy to identify, and that the difficult part comes in choosing among the next level. The bad ones are also easy to eliminate. When I spoke with former Director Paula Nelson about the event, which was very well attended, she said that she was quite pleased at the publicity it gave the school, adding, “New teachers, students, and patrons emerge when you reach out into the larger arts community with a call for entries, and that’s great!” From there I stopped at the Fletcher Gallery (Joseph Presser), The Woodstock Framing Gallery (Robert Segalman’s work as well as that of Ellen Nieves who painted figures on canvases that were cut in the shape of a dress— most were quite successful) and on to the Woodstock Artists Association to “The Beat Goes On” a show with a musical theme curated by Garry and Diane KvistadWoodstock Chimes founders and manufacturers. The show was well attended and a fun show with one of the pieces able to be played (a wall sculpture using different sized brass domes by Lenny Kislin). Downstairs were excellent drawings (from the 1980’s) by Sarah Greer Mecklem. On to the Woodstock Guild where Roslyn Clark and Jerome Talb were reading their poetry (throughout the day, several other venues in town hosted poetry readings), and then to galeriebmg: contemporary photography where Lori Nix was exhibiting her photographs of constructions, Jeri Eisenberg’s encaustics, and other work by gallery artists. The next exhibit, Coastal Pinholes by Marth Casanave will also celebrate the gallerie’s one-year anniversary. Congratulations to owners Judi & Bernard Gerson. The Center for Photography at

Woodstock, just around the corner and my next stop, had an opening for: The

Inaugural Regional Triennial of Photographic Arts and Ambiguous Icons by Jim Campbell. Nine artists were chosen by nine different curators and included artists from the extended Hudson Valley.The Center, nearly 30 years in operation, has salons, workshops, lectures, an annual auction (coming up this month), as well as year-round exhibits.

Two Visitors (and artists) at the Varga Gallery, Woodstock, NY

Where the Ann Leonard Gallery was (a landmark in Woodstock for well over 35 years), is now the Northern Exposures Photography Gallery. Michael Tischler’s “Images of the Catskills” are on view and they are gorgeous photographs that give us an intimate view of each season in great detail (moss covered rocks) as well as more general views (snow in forest). Jill Gasso’s (owner) wonderful photographs of Venice are also hanging. Next and last stop was the Varga Gallery & Studio where a group exhibit, an eclectic collection with all sorts of constructions, sculpture, paintings, as well as Christina Varga’s work, is on view. What a day! No wonder I’m only good for one of these strolls every few months.


See you all out and about, don’t forget to say hello.