April Letter From the Board

By April 19, 2018 Uncategorized

Excitement Abounds for ArtsAltoona and two sets of Penn State Students!

The college year is nearing an end. For a group of Architecture students at University Park that means they are putting the finishing touches on their class projects.  The nine teams of two or three students each are coming to Altoona next week to reveal their conceptual designs for the former Kress building to become our ArtsAltoona Studio Arts Center.  The presentations will be made at a by-invitation-only Community Stakeholder Gathering on Thursday, April 26.  Each team will have up to seven minutes to show their drawings, physical models and digital presentations in a “science fair” style environment. Our Leadership Team is very excited to see what they have in store for us, their earlier work was very impressive, so we have high expectations for the final results! We are sure that they took the feedback at the last session from George Sackandy, Ken Decker and Pam Snyder-Etters to heart and the concepts will be amazing!

stART HereMeanwhile, the Sophomore class of Penn State Altoona Sheetz Fellows has been hard at work on their project – helping ArtsAltoona plan and execute our first ever stART here event.  The neighborhood revitalization day will feature musical entertainment, demonstration and participatory arts, food vendors, hand made craft vendors of a great variety and community organizations. Many businesses in the area have welcomed our presence and we are grateful for their support. Please make plans to bring your friends and family and join us for a great day on Saturday, April 28th from noon to 6pm.  We’ll be blocking off North Fourth Avenue in Juniata from North Sixth Street to North Eighth Street. Lots more details are available on the specially created event website www.starthereblaircounty.com.  It’s not too late to sign up to volunteer your time for an hour or two. Thanks so much to Rue Moyer, Events Director, Gwen Fisher, Program Director and Shasta Langenbacher, volunteer Marketing and Communications Coordinator for heading up our ArtsAltoona Project Team. Very special thanks also to Donna Bon, Program Director for the Sheetz Fellows who has been wonderful at guiding us along with the students to where we will have a great success with stART here rain or shine in Juniata!

ASAP, our After School Arts Program, continues thanks to the efforts of our Education Director, Stephenie Schroth and the volunteer artists who come to share their talents with the youth at Evergreen Manors. We appreciate Kimberly Albright for her art using recycled materials, Paula Ford (a long time friend of mine) for her beautiful jewelry creations, Julie Berliner for working on coil basketry and most recently, Bill Dann, song writer! Thanks also to Shannon Moyer, Service Coordinator for Improved Dwellings for Altoona at Evergreen Manors, who truly cares about the youth we both serve and their families. She does a wonderful job of supporting Stephenie and our program.

So many exciting things happening in the arts community!  Congrats to the Altoona Symphony Orchestra for their fabulous Carmina Burana concert highlighting four chorus groups from State College and dancers from Allegheny Ballet Company along with several extraordinary guest artists!  We’re looking forward to the final concert of their season, Big Band Blast on May 12 at the Historic Mishler Theatre. They have some unique things in the works, too. Follow them on Facebook for the latest happenings.

Congratulations also to Blair Concert Chorale for their recent fascinating concert featuring Alzheimer’s Stories and #twitterlieder. The works were very difficult to learn and perform but very worth the effort.

Things Unseen Theatre is back after a brief hiatus and had a successful run with Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, a very thought provoking piece directed by Rich McGarvey. Co-Artistic Directors Valerie Stratton and Tom Liszka have several more interesting shows in the works, so stay tuned.

Dana Snyer and JT Garber, founders of Round the Mountain had another great concert, Volume 2 in their From Nashville: Songs and Stories series. Make plans to see this unique talent showcase for Volume 3 on June 23.

A new organization, Altoona Brass Collective, had their Debut Concert on March 25 at Zion Lutheran Church in Hollidaysburg. Altoona Area School District Superintendant, Charles Prijatelj was a featured trumpet soloist and was amazing!  Congrats to Scott Pappal, who arranged all of the music on a great success. Be sure you get to see them at the Blair County Arts Festival or in Hollidaysburg or Tyrone summer concerts – you’ll be glad you did!

Thanks as always to Tony DeGol for his wonderfully written articles which this month feature two additional new entries into the arts scene locally, the Greater Altoona Area Book Festival with Eric Shields and Sapphire Sky Entertainment with Rolayne and Gary Fickes.

See you at stART here, (and everywhere else that art is happening!)