New Kids on the Block pARTy – a Great Event!

Well, the first official public event at the ArtsAltoona Center is in the books! Thanks to the creative vision of Claudia Montero, one of our AmeriCorps members, and a LOT of work by our board, staff and leadership team members, it was a success. The weather was a concern – after seemingly an entire dry month – the forecast for Wednesday indicated a high possibility of rain. The board decided to go for it and the gamble paid off, the rain hit in the afternoon, but it was all clear during the evening.

We had many families with children and adolescents come to enjoy the festivities. They joined Leah Klevan, our other AmeriCorps member, with painting and “pin the covid” on the mural from the My Corona class. They enjoyed talking with the firefighters from the Altoona Fire Department. They won prizes (including some very unique t-shirts from ArtsAltoona that I will tell you about next week) on the prize wheel from MIX 94.7 during their remote broadcast. They interacted with representatives of Things Unseen Theatre Company, the Altoona Area Public Library and Family Services, Inc. They also learned about good dental health from our neighbors, Betar Dental.

Some of them also painted on the three part (tryptic) mural originally created by board member and mural artist, Pam Snyder-Etters, for our Art Jive One event a couple of years ago. Many also enjoyed the food trucks – Doug’s DAWGS, That Pierogie Guy, Original Recipes (Gobs and Cookies) and TACO INC Food Truck.

The most significant highlight of the evening was the “dress rehearsal” by the Altoona Brass Collective! They will be officially performing this concert at Reservoir Park in Tyrone on Sunday, August 2nd. If you have an opportunity to attend, I highly recommend it! It’s an amazing mix of music!

Thanks to the PA Rural Arts Alliance and Renewal by Andersen of Central PA for their sponsorships that made it all possible. Thanks also to the ArtsAltoona team for their hard work! George Sackandy, Ken Decker, and Dutch Brennan did an enormous job of set up and tear down, hauling tables and chairs and tents! They also took turns, along with Andrea Cohen and Peter Frantz at the ArtsAltoona information table. Korin Coppeta did some great hand lettering on chalkboard signs and worked with Angie Yasulitis and Dutch at the paint the mural tables. Leah Klevan and Candy Holliday did a wonderful job with helping with the planning and publicity for the event and so much more. Doug Rhodes (aka DAWGS) was a great help with securing other food trucks to participate. It was truly a team effort – thanks to all who played a role in its success.

That brings me back to Claudia…not only was this her concept from the beginning, but she did an unbelievable amount of work to make it happen! Planning, securing vendors, shopping, setting up all of the tables by herself, decorating, procuring and setting up trash cans and recycling bins (and emptying them, too), sanitizing the tables, prodding us all to do our parts, designing the set up of all of the elements, and many, many more things I don’t even know about! Thank you SO MUCH Claudia – you are an inspiration!

Mark your calendars now for the follow up events – Street Eats with a Side of Art – on Wednesdays, August 26, September 23 and possibly October 28. All from 5 to 8pm in the parking lot at the ArtsAltoona Center. I hope to see you there. If you would like to help with these events, or any of the other things we do, please let me know.

Yours in the Arts,
Donna Gority
President ArtsAltoona Board