Posts Tagged With: mohawk valley creative alliance

Center for the Arts


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.

















Categories: Amsterdam, Art, Business, Media, Photography, Politics, Technology | Tags: , , ,

R2-D2, it is you, It Is You !


By day they are real estate agents, blueprint makers and highway department employees but when they clock out they become Storm Troopers, Boba Fett and R2-D2.  Chris Simonds, Bob Thayer and Tim Harris are members of Garrison Excelsior, the 501st Legion of Upstate, New York. They pride themselves as being the World’s Definitive Imperial Costuming Organization, specializing in Star Wars characters.

This group paid a visit to a full house of the Mohawk Valley Creative Alliance monday night at the Coffee Beanery in Amsterdam, New York along with a working replica of R-2D-2 operated by remote control with all the authentic sounds, lights and movements you would expect. The handmade costumes sanctioned by George Lucas, are incredibly detailed down to the scratches and wear marks seen in the original movie versions.

Garrison Excelsior participates in Comic-Con conventions and make charitable appearances for Star Wars fans young and old. Chris Simonds R-2D-2 Unit even made an appearance on the Today Show in New York.

After a presentation explaining how their passion is turned into real costumes using ordinary equipment and some made to order parts from specialty shops, the costuming trio held a hands on demonstration followed by a question and answer period.

A big shout out to Jessica Murray and the Mohawk Creative Alliance for arranging this extraordinary presentation!

The Mohawk Valley Creative Alliance is advocating for the use of City owned property at 305 East Main Street  as a Community Art Center. With the large number of members that attended last night’s event, they are going to need a larger meeting space!










Categories: Amsterdam, Art, Entertainment, Photography, Technology | Tags: , , , , ,

Mohawk Valley Creative Alliance


The Mohawk Valley Creative Alliance is a local group of artists, writers, musicians and photographers who have met the second two Mondays of every month for the past two years at the Coffee Beanery in the Town of Amsterdam. The group was formed by Carol Jordan and Jessica Murray who serve as Vice President and President of MVCA, for the sole purpose of creating an Art Center for the Amsterdam community.

I heard about the group last year and had the good intention of becoming a member but never got around to it. That was until Carol Jordan sent me an email insisting that I come to their meeting (she’s the strong-arm of the group).  I complied and found a wonderful group of like-minded people who shared ideas in a thoughtful and meaningful way.  The group is led by Jessica Murray who holds a Fine Arts degree and is educated in Art Therapy. Murray was also primarily responsible for creating a business plan and the bylaws for the groups incorporation.  She is very focused on the art community and presents creative challenges for the group to complete each month which consist of a themed exercise to be completed in each person’s specific media. Whether it be writing, photography, painting, acting or even dance, all the presentations are discussed by the group members.

Last week, members of the MVCA met with Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane to discuss the Mayor’s proposed Community Art Center in the former Church building on East Main Street and Vrooman Ave that now serves as the 5th Ward polling place. It was recently vacated by St Mary’s Hospital staff who were using the building as a mental health outreach center.  The building at 305 East main Street has 3,567 square feet of usable space and a playground behind it that would serve the community well.

MVCA encourages everyone in the Amsterdam community to support Mayor Thane with her vision of a community Art Center in the City’s building at 305 East Main Street.

Categories: Amsterdam, Art, Media, Photography, Politics, Technology | Tags: , , , , ,

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