The second meeting of Amsterdam residents and representatives of established creative and support groups from surrounding communities met Tuesday evening at 305 East Main Street in Amsterdam, New York, to further develop Mayor Ann Thane’s vision establishing a Community Art Center for the recently vacated building.
The group members represent a variety of ages, ethnicities, talent and experience with the common goal of utilizing the former church building as a vehicle for creative expression and education. Attendance at last night’s meeting indicated a 30% increase from the first meeting on March 15, 2012.
The City of Amsterdam has been very supportive of sports and recreation, investing money in the continued improvement of Shuttleworth Park, the home of the Amsterdam Mohawks, and Riverlink Park for boaters and the Summer Concert Series. What is lacking is a Center for the Arts, an outlet for creative expression for all age groups.
With the decline in government support of our school system, it is unfortunate that art and music programs are the first to be eliminated. It is not just students who suffer from this educational blight, it is also the communities who lose out on the next Kirk Douglas, Steven Spielberg, Ansel Adams, Frida Kahlo or Steven King.
The Center for the Arts can fill that gap with little or no cost, providing a physical place for use as a meeting space for established groups, a learning center to nurture creative talents, a performance place for music & theater and as a gallery space for displaying the work of local artists. The Center will be self-sustaining through fund-raising efforts, grant writing and rental fees for use of the space to community groups. A formal organizational plan was written and a business study completed by Jessica Murray, President of the Mohawk Valley Creative Alliance, indicating the need as there is no Center for the Arts within a 45 minute drive of the City of Amsterdam.
The misconception that may people have when they hear the word Art is that it is just the physical act of drawing or painting. The creative arts are so much more than that, encompassing a range of activities. A small list would include writing, creating music, dance, acting, singing, cooking, photography, cinematography, illustration, animation, graphic design, sculpture, pottery and the list goes on.
The proposed Center for the Arts will be able to introduce both young an old to a world of possibilities they never imagined for themselves. In 1974 Actress Tatum O’Neil won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe at age 10 for her 1973 performance in Paper Moon. Ann Mary Robertson Moses better known as Grandma Moses, started her art career at age 70 after being introduced to painting as therapy for her advancing arthritis. Her 1943 painting Sugaring Off sold at auction in 2006 for $1.2 million. These achievements were possible because their talent was nurtured by an introduction to the creative arts.
A Center for the Arts in Amsterdam will be that vehicle to drive creative talent in our own community to places they never thought possible. The Creative Arts bring a community together, crossing political, socio-economic and cultural barriers.
You can help this effort by calling or emailing your Aldermen and let them know that you support an Amsterdam Center for the Arts.