Silence that phone!

By now, everyone knows about the “I-Phone Marimba” moment that temporarily stopped the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony.  For the record and as continuing reminder to concert and theater goers everywhere, here’s the whole cringe-inducing story.

Why support non-profit arts and the United Cultural Fund

Broome County Arts Council’s United Cultural Fund opened its 2012 Campaign on November 3rd with “An Artful Evening with NPR’s Susan Stamberg, a fundraising event at the Binghamton Riverwalk Hotel, featuring National Public Radio’s premier arts correspondent. UCF 2012 is the only combined campaign for the arts in the region and seeks to raise $308,325 for competitive grants to non-profit arts and cultural organizations, community non-profits and individual artists in Broome County. In a speech to Binghamton Rotary #64 yesterday (December 13th), BCAC’s Executive Director Sharon Ball explained how the UCF helps sustain arts non-profits for the benefit of the entire community.

Thank you very much. I’m grateful for the invitation to speak to you this afternoon. I know the good work that Rotary does all over the world and I commend you for the good work that Rotary does here in this community.

What a year it’s been for our community! First the economy, then the economy, then the economy, and then the second 100 year flood in 5 years. Another hit, another blow to the body of this already challenged region and the people who are determined to stay here, to do business here, care for their families and friends here, and maintain their neighborhoods – right here in the once renowned “valley of opportunity”. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorial, UCF in action. Tags: , , , , , . Comments Off on Why support non-profit arts and the United Cultural Fund

In Memorium: Genevieve Cerwonka

The community has lost a great talent and a huge spirit with the passing of artist Genevieve Cerwonka.   Please take a moment to share your remembrances of her life and her work.

An appeal to parents and patrons

I’m wearing many hats as I write this editorial: Editor of BAMirror, arts patron and parent. On Tuesday, you will be voting on the budget for your local school district. This has been a rough year for school boards, trying to cut budgets yet maintain programs. Doubtless, some of you will be looking strictly at the bottom line and casting your vote to reflect your opinion of your tax rate. I understand that; I’m a taxpayer, too. Others of you may be casting protest votes against a budget that reduced or eliminated your favorite program. Again, I understand your frustration. I only ask you to consider a more reasoned approach as outlined by the Union-Endicott PTSA president in Friday’s Press & Sun-Bulletin (May 13) — — and keep in mind that any subsequent versions of a budget won’t restore any cuts.
For that reason, I appeal now to parents, artists and arts organizations to start thinking about ways to compensate for losses such as field trips and enrichment programs. When BAMirror began, Sharon Ball and I expressed our hope that the blog would serve as an online salon, a place where artists and those who love the arts could exchange ideas. Here’s the perfect opportunity. Let’s start a dialogue on how we can continue to bring arts to students (the next generation of arts patrons) and bring students to the arts.

Barb Van Atta

Posted in Editorial. Tags: , . Comments Off on An appeal to parents and patrons

When you miss the arts

Another day, another lingering cough from “the thing that’s going around,” another missed opportunity to enjoy the arts. Sniffles and snowfalls seem to be getting in my way when I want to embrace the arts in Binghamton. Soooo … who would like to join the BAMirror conversation and tell me what I missed last weekend at the first First Friday of 2011? 

And speaking of missing out on something: How many of you felt a little less complete on Dec. 31, 2010, when you didn’t have a First Night celebration to attend? How about sharing your First Night memories and what you missed most now that Binghamton’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration has been disbanded?

Posted in Arts Talk, Editorial. Tags: , . Comments Off on When you miss the arts

The passing of artist Armondo Dellasanta

A. Dellasanta 1998

Dellasanta at his easel in 1998

 It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved artist, Armondo Dellasanta, who died on Dec. 21, 2010 at the age of 94. He was a great friend who will be missed by family, his many friends and admirers. In his oil paintings, etchings and drawings, he captured the special places and history of Binghamton, New York City and Susquehanna, Pa., where he stood guard duty in 1941. He was deeply honored by the recognition he received during his lifetime, which included a star on Binghamton’s Walk of Fame and his Lifetime Achievement Award from our Broome County Arts Council. A very humble man, he nevertheless enjoyed watching his profile which aired frequently on public TV station WSKG in a program called “Expressions- – the Art and Soul of the Southern Tier.” He started to paint in the late 1950s and carried a sketch book with him in France during World War II.  As an infantryman, he fought in both France and Austria and received the Bronze Star. As an artist, he was influenced by the “Ashcan School” whose artists painted scenes of everyday life.  He developed his own unique Impressionistic style over the years and was referred to by admirers as “Binghamton’s Van Gogh” and an “urban Monet.” Read the rest of this entry »

Public art with a timely message

A statue to The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. now stands on Binghamton’s River Walk at the Court Street Bridge at the head of the Peacemakers Trail. Unveiled Wednesday (Nov. 17), the life-sized sculpture captures the civil rights martyr in dynamic action. Sculptor Stan Watts of Atlas Bronze Casting of Kearns, Utah, said he wanted to portray the civil rights martyr in full exhortation, arm raised in a call to action, mouth open to utter the words “I have a dream today …”   Watts said he wanted the art work to speak for itself.  He was commissioned to create the bronze statue  by the Broome County Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission headed by Reverend Arthur Jones and his wife, Camille Jones, who raised some  $30,000 for the project.  Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Arts Talk, Editorial, public art. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on Public art with a timely message

UCF Grant seeds community art project

Clinton Street Mural Project by Artist Mik Tulumello

Artist Mik Tulumello and her UCF-funded Clinton Street Mural Project

The Clinton Street Mural Project, funded by a 2009 United Cultural Fund Project Grant to artist Mik Tulumello, was dedicated Monday, Nov. 8, during a chilly outdoor news conference.  The Broome County Arts Council awarded $2,000 to Tulumello to get the project started. She expected to complete it by June this year, with the help of another grant from the City of Binghamton, as well as the support and sweat equity of the Northside Neighborhood Assembly and a team of young helpers from BOCES. However, the project was delayed for awhile by the birth of Tulumello’s daughter Robin, who watched Monday’s dedication from a stroller.  Also in attendance were Robin’s dad and big sister, Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan, BC Arts Council Director Sharon Ball, Neighborhood Assembly representives, people from the community, the media, and a freight train that rumble-bumped across the railroad trestle as the dedication began.  Read the rest of this entry »

Vandalism damages more than dinos

What’s wrong with this picture? In Binghamton, 22 fiberglass hART of BC dinosaur sculptures spent barely two months on downtown streets before being removed to “protective custody” in Johnson City’s Oakdale Mall, due to theft and vandalism.  These are not  innocent pranks like the abduction of high school and college mascots.   This is criminal theft and wanton destruction,  just as  the Discovery Center’s Story Garden destruction was last year.

What kind of character does such behavior reveal? Disrespect for property, particularly the property of others. Disrespect for art and artists. Disrespect for iconic local pop culture with national recognition. Disrespect for the arts and educational organizations that are to benefit from the donations resulting from the eventual sale of these sculptures. Disrespect for a city trying very hard to redefine itself.

It would have been fun to walk through downtown, hART of BC map in hand, on a treasure hunt to find each of the dinos near its sponsor’s business. The dinos will be safer at the Mall, and that’s a very sad commentary indeed.

I wonder if the perpetrators realize the amount of damage to the hArt of BC dinosaurs makes their crime a felony- level offense. May they be caught and prosecuted appropriately.

Arts Council collectors walk the walk

With its second gallery show since moving downtown to 81 State St., Binghamton, last February, the Broome County Arts Council is advancing the idea that promoting the local arts is good, but BUYING art locally is both better and best. The exhibition “Collector’s Items — Making the Commitment” opened June 4 during the First Friday Art Walk and will run until July 2. Read the rest of this entry »

Contemplating opera in the ‘Age of Surtitles’

EDITOR’S NOTE: One of BAMirror’s goals is to be an online salon, a place where you can join in a conversation about the arts. I’m going to share some of my recent reflections and hope that you will chime in (like that musical allusion?) with some thoughts of your own.

Ever since the final curtain call of Tri-Cities Opera’s recent production of “The Elixir of Love,” I’ve been thinking about surtitles (those subtitles “over” the stage that translate the lyrics) and how they have affected my opera-going experience. I saw my first opera, “Tosca,” at TCO at age 10. I read the synopsis in the program, which gave the plot and a general gist of the famous arias. After that, I had to rely on the staging, the singers’ body language and the emotion of the music to follow the story, because I didn’t speak Italian. But that was fine. I was swept up, transported and completely hooked into a lifetime of loving opera.

As an adult, I joined the TCO chorus and found myself learning some of the scores twice, because shows were offered in both the original language and in English.  (There were six performances over two weekends in those days.) Comedies were always in English so that you could catch the verbal humor, a programming decision I heartily supported despite the sometimes awkward phrasing. But the dramas, the tragedies? Couldn’t they just let things be? Read the rest of this entry »

How to get the best out of your blog

Because BAMirror has been up and running for a couple of months, Sharon Ball and I thought it was time to look at how it started, how it’s doing and, most importantly, what it can do for you. Last fall, when Sharon and I were planning the arts council’s entrance into the “blogosphere,” we envisioned your blog as an online salon, a place where people who know the arts could express their viewpoints and other people who know and/or care about the arts would be able to respond, to elaborate, even to disagree – politely, of course. The official stated mission: “provide a lively forum for informed, respectful conversation about and commentary on the arts experience in Broome County and Greater Binghamton.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Arts Talk, Editorial. Tags: , . Comments Off on How to get the best out of your blog

Spirit of Christmas

The following is re-printed from the BCAC Weekly Newsletter: Friday, December 24, 2009 —
There was a moment a couple weeks ago when I felt the “Christmas Spirit” stir inside me. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorial. Tags: , , , , , . Comments Off on Spirit of Christmas

More than just the facts, ma’am

Remember Sgt. Joe Friday from “Dragnet,” always asking for “Just the facts, ma’am”? Well, we like the facts — who, what, where, when — for the Arts Council’s website News & Events Calendar sections at  But, here in the blogosphere, the important questions are “Why?” and “How?”. If you’re planning an event, please send those “Joe Friday” basics, press releases and such, to   But if you want to share  your thoughts about the event, do it here, with the BAMirror. We want to hear about your hopes for what the event will accomplish. Tell us about the audience you hope to reach, and help us understand the trials, tribulations and triumphs of bringing a play, concert, literary event or gallery show to the public.

Posted in Arts Talk, Editorial. Comments Off on More than just the facts, ma’am

Welcome to the Broome Arts Mirror!

Welcome to the “Broome Arts Mirror,” the Broome County Arts Council’s brand new blog! BAMirror has a mission to “provide a lively forum for informed, respectful conversation about and commentary on the arts experience in Broome County” and Greater Binghamton, New York.   Through interviews, previews, reviews, features and commentary, BAMirror intends to reflect (like a “mirror” – get it?)  the real depth, breadth, diversity and vibrancy of the arts here in the Southern Tier. BAMirror’s target audience iswell — everyone who is involved with, interested in, curious about, longing to really talk about the arts in some way, shape or form. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorial. Comments Off on Welcome to the Broome Arts Mirror!