Mindful Mural Project

posted on: Friday, March 20, 2015

Date: March 28 & April 18

Take one class or all
One is all you need to be part of mural

Time: 9:30 - 1:00 ( bring or buy your lunch)

Fee: $20.00 (scholarships available)

Location: North East ArtsCouncil 25 Vine St.

Contact:Christine French 814-725-1857

Yoga and Zentangle are health-enhancing practices to help you focus, relax, and recharge. Come learn tools for self renewal with Deb Phillips and Christine French in these Yoga- Zentangle Flow Classes while you create Zentangles that will result in public art.

Zentangle drawing and yoga stretching.

Deb Phillips is a certified yoga instructor with 10 years of teaching experience, and Christine French is a certified Zentangle CZT teacher. They will instruct you with some simple but powerful ways to develop your calm potential.

In these workshops Deb will help you engage in the restoring and renewing practice of Yoga. She will move you through a gentle sequence of postures with a breath guided focus to encourage feelings of calm, ease, and peace. A perfect compliment to flow with Zentangle creativity.

Chris will instruct the Zentangle method, which is easy to learn, and a relaxing and fun way to create beautiful images of structured patterns. It increases focus, creativity and provides artistic satisfaction with an increased sense of well being. It is an empowering and uplifting experience to deliberately relax and intentionally direct your attention while creating beautiful works of art. Zentangle has no predetermined solution. It is an abstract, portable, and inspirational non verbal language of patterns and proportions.


In this class we use the finest tools and materials available to ensure your Zentangle creations will be respected and treasured works of art. In addition to the benefit of mindfulness you get a side effect of feeling good and creating beautiful art to be appreciated, collected, chronicled and reflected upon for years to come.

Afterwards participants will be invited to submit their finished Zentangles for consideration for the Mural selection process. The chosen designs will be refined so Ehren Knapp can transfer them on to the outside structure of the North East Arts Council Building at 25 Vine Street in North East. The classes and the mural installation have been funded by Erie Arts & Culture.

Artists and Instructors Christine French and Ehren Knapp

So please join us. Everyone is welcome. (A limited amount of scholarships are available. Please contact Christine

Christine French 814-725-1857 or if interested.)You don’t have to be an artist, just be willing to be present and create.

10th Annual Poetry Out Loud

posted on: Monday, February 02, 2015

Poetry is powerful and Poetry Out Loud is a free program for that gives high school students a deep and meaningful experience with the written and spoken word.

Erie Arts & Culture is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Poetry Out Loud. With that celebration will be the

regional Poetry Out Loud (POL) competition at Allegheny College in Ford Chapel on February 7th from 11am - 1pm. Six high school students from Northwest Pennsylvania will join us to compete for the honor of traveling to Harrisburg in March to represent Northwest Pennsylvania at the state competition. One talented and hardworking student out of the 11 at states will go on to the National Competition in Washington DC.

A recent article in the ASCD Journal, "Tapping the Power of Poetry" by Timothy Rasinski, discusses the importance of poetry recitation by students of all ages. According to Rasinski, “When students read and recite poems and songs, they build foundational literacy skills that support comprehension.” Rasinski’s article goes on to explain the links to the State Core Standards and the foundation that poetry creates in reading skills. 

More importantly he describes the engagement, when reading poetry that recitation inspires in students. When students are engaged in their learning, they are alert, actively participating and retain the material. Reciting poetry gives students the opportunity to connect deeply with literature, embody the emotions and meaning of the work and develop self awareness and a voice through public performance.

Poetry Out Loud is a great opportunity, both socially and culturally, for students to bring their recitation to a wider audience and more formal setting. Kira Burkhauser, Erie Arts & Culture’s 2014 POL winner was excited to be at the regional level of the competition because she met others who had a similar love of poetry.

Hear from last year's competitors about their experience here:

Join us for the regional competition and experience this great event! For more information, click here or contact Stephanie at Erie Arts & Culture; or 814-452-3427.

Representative Pat Harkins, former Erie County Poet Laureate Thomas Forsthoefel, and PA Council on the Arts Member Lee Steadman will be joining us to help officiate the celebration.

Grant Recipients Awarded National Recognition

posted on: Monday, January 26, 2015

The Elizabeth Lee Black School Awarded for Leadership and Innovation in Special Education

The Elizabeth Lee Black School at the Barber National Institute has received the Award for Leadership and Innovation in Special Education from the National Association for Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC.) 

This prestigious award recognizes the school’s consistent efforts to ensure that children with disabilities receive the many benefits that digital technology offers for state-of-the-art education. In particular, the school is being recognized for an artist-in-residence project that brings a professional artist together with students and faculty to create multimedia publications such as digital books, movies and animations that reinforce or expand upon concepts taught in the classroom. Many of the students create “social stories” that help them achieve their individual communication or behavior goals. The artist in residence program is funded in part by the PA Council on the Arts.

“Digital technology continues to change society, self-expression and education, but too often children with disabilities are left behind,” said Dr. Maureen Barber-Carey, executive vice president of the Barber National Institute. “We are intent on bridging the digital divide for our students, and use technology to broaden their opportunities for learning.” Read more here.

Music at Noon: The Logan Series Awarded for Adventurous Programming

Music at Noon: The Logan Series, a chamber music and performing arts series at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, has been named a recipient of the 2015 Chamber Music America and American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Award for Adventurous Programming.

The national award recognizes ensembles and presenters for outstanding and innovative approaches to the programming of contemporary, classical, jazz and world chamber music.

“It’s exciting to be honored nationally by these organizations,” said Gary Viebranz, director of The Logan Series. “This award reflects the contributions of the staff and administration of the college, along with the support of our audience, local and state arts organizations, Diehl Elementary School, and the City of Erie School District. Of course, none of it would be possible without the vision and support of Mrs. Kay Logan.”

Music at Noon: The Logan Series was founded by Kay Logan in 1989 and receives major support from Mrs. Logan. Additional funding is provided by the Penn State Behrend Student Activity Fee, and the program also receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support for this program is provided in part by an Erie Arts & Culture Project Grant, made possible by community contributions to the Combined Arts & Cultural Campaign and the Erie Arts Endowment. Read more here.

Thank you to the PA Council on the Arts, Erie Arts Endowment, donors to the Arts & Culture Campaign, and EITC donors for making nationally recognized programs like these available in our region

Bollinger Enterprises, Inc., Partners with the Erie Arts & Culture and the Warren YMCA for Expanding Art Project

posted on: Monday, January 19, 2015

Bollinger Enterprises, Inc., (BEi) the North Warren based agency that provides employment and community based services for individuals with disabilities, is expanding and enhancing its “Art as a Vocation“ Project. The Art Project had its start-up in 2014 at the BEi facility in North Warren and was funded by the Pittsburgh based Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust and BEI’s WarrenGives Campaign. In the first year of the Project, Creative Citizen Studios of Pittsburgh coordinated the effort with BEi in assessing potential artists, providing three artist lead workshops and developing an Art Advisory Council, made up of local artists and interested supporters. Participants in the project learned marbling and other fabric arts techniques and sold their creations at local holiday arts and craft shows.  

The second year of the project will feature an Artist Residency, which began in early January, through Erie Arts & Culture’s Arts in Education Partnership. The residency is co-funded by BEi and Erie Arts & Culture will be take place in the community at the YMCA in Warren. Two artists will instruct budding BEi artists in the making and production of saleable art. The art will be sold at various events with proceeds benefiting the artists. The Artist Residency will be 21 weeks in length, after which project activities will be continued by BEi.  

In addition to the funding provided by Erie Arts & Culture, Warren Gives, and the United Fund of Warren County, the Project’s second year primary funding partner will be the Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust. Creative Citizen Studios will also assist BEi with project coordination and development. 

The Arts in Education Partnership is a program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency. State government funding for the arts depends upon an annual appropriation by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The Arts in Education Program is administered in this region by Erie Arts & Culture. 

Darren McIntyre announced new artistic director of Lake Erie Ballet

posted on: Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Originally published by Lake Erie Ballet, Vol. 67, Issue 3, Battu E Newsletter, photos via Lake Erie Ballet

Lake Erie Ballet is proud to announce the new appointment of Mr. Darren McIntyre to the position of Artistic Director and Ballet Master.

"I strive to improve each day and my emotions explore and cascade to movement. Dance is my way to communicate to a diversity of cultures with no boundaries - it is a language interpreted and understood by all."
~ Darren McIntyre

Knowing Mr. McIntyre's history of training, performance and production - it's not hard to believe this statement to be his guiding principal. Mr. McIntyre began his career as a graduate of the Australian Ballet School, receiving his Advanced Diploma of Dance in 1999. He very quickly began touring as guest artist with several national and international dance companies, throughout the US and abroad - his repertory gradually expanding from the classics to include such great contemporary ballet choreographers as George Balanchine, Anthony Tudor, Nacho Duato, David Dawson, Stanton Welch, Val Caniparoli, Salvatore Aiello, James Sutherland, Christopher Fleming, Stephen Mills, Edwaard Liang, Mark Godden, Michael Pink, Jessica Lang, Wan Chin Choong and Gregor Thieler, to name a few.  Soon he began to produce his own work, winning awards including The Dame Peggy Van Praagh Award for Choreography, The Sir Robert Helpmann Bursary and The Young Australian of The Year Arts Award. 

In January of 2012, having recently finished his fourth season with the prestigious Milwaukee Ballet, Mr. McIntyre was appointed Artistic Director of the Montgomery Ballet where he continued to produce such classics as "Swan Lake", "Giselle", "The Sleeping Beauty", "Don Quixote" & "Le Corsaire" - also re-staging pieces such as "Diana et Acteon", "The Fairy Doll", "Spring Waters", "Talisman", "Munecos", "Macbeth" and "Spartcus". 

Mr. McIntyre has also had the distinct pleasure of working with over 3,000 young dancers world-wide. His ability to nurture and inspire young dancers has brought him to the best dance academies, companies, and scholarship programs in the world. In addition, Mr. McIntyre's summer dance program "Performing in America" has attracted over 400 dancers, world-wide, each summer. His students have placed in the top 12 at the most prestigious ballet competitions, including The Youth America Grand Prix New York City Finals. He is delighted to continue to interact with the worlds best and brightest dancers - creating the powerful classics and innovating the face of ballet and dance in America, right here in Erie, PA.  Join us this season as we welcome Darren McIntyre, Artistic Director and Ballet Master.

Grants Invest in Arts and Cultural Economy

posted on: Thursday, October 30, 2014

Over fifty-five organizations and state legislatures joined Erie Arts and Culture at the experience Children’s Museum on October 21st for the 2014-15 Erie Arts & Culture Grant Reception. All Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts and Erie Arts and Culture Grantees received checks for their upcoming projects. “This is a very exciting day for the organizations and the community. Today, we invested $ 241,761 into the arts and cultural economy through these two grant programs,” exclaimed Amanda Brown Sissem, Executive Director of Erie Arts and Culture. 

Some of the funded programs include a Clay Club for Refugee Elders at the Erie Art Museum and funded by the Virginia Vieser Fund for Arts in Education programs. Eight organizations received funding from the Clarence C. Beyers Endowment Fund including the Erie Chamber Orchestra at Gannon University. The Friends of the Erie County Public Library will be unveiling a new public art sculpture in the children’s library. The sculpture is being funded by public art money raised on Erie Gives Day through donations to Erie Arts & Culture. Snoops Neighborhood Watch Association’s mural project at the Ash Street Railroad overpass also received public art funding.  “The Millcreek Flood: 100 years later”, a project of Box of Light Studios is one of thirty-four projects supported by unrestricted funds from the annual Arts & Culture Campaign.

Click here for or a complete list of Erie Arts & Culture funded projects or call Melinda Meyer, Grants Manager at Erie Arts & Culture at 452-3427.  

Cee Williams is the 4th Erie County Poet Laureate

posted on: Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Erie County Poetry Committee announced the 2014-2015 Erie County Poet Laureate on Friday, September 5, 2014, at 10:30 a.m., at the Blasco Memorial Library in the entrance lobby area. This year’s winner is Cee Williams.  Mr. Williams has worked extensively in Erie’s poetry community for many years. He operates Poet’s Hall on East 6th Street; a place where poets from around the region perform their work.  

Mr. Williams stated, “On behalf of Erie County's Poetry Community, I with great modesty and humility do gratefully accept the position of 2014-2015 Erie County Poet Laureate. I hope to achieve during my tenure, what I have always hoped to achieve over the years through my involvement in Erie's artistic community, via weekly readings, poetry festivals, and publications I hope to make the art of poetry accessible and integral our collective community cultural consciousness.”.

Four finalists were selected to participate in a final reading of works on Monday, August 25, 2014. The finalists had already been scored on the written poetry submitted with their application, as well as their community project. The scores from Monday’s performances were combined with those previously achieved by the finalists.  

Current Laureate Ron Hayes concludes his second term this summer. “My time as Poet Laureate of Erie County will always be two of the most special years of my life. I serve students every day in a job I love teaching subjects I love, but poetry is my passion, and I am grateful for the chance to serve not just my students but my entire community. I am particularly proud of having visited every public high school in the county during my tenure, and I will always remember the joy and pride I felt at sharing my second reading with over a dozen aspiring young poets. I’d like to thank the ECPLI committee for choosing me, Doug Smith for his kindness, Greg Brown for his guidance, Chuck Joy and Joe Giles for starting this initiative, and my family for their unwavering support.

As we transition to our fourth laureate, it’s gratifying for me to know that my successor will continue to work tirelessly at bringing poetry to every citizen of Erie County. Cee will be a tremendous asset to the lower east side, to the city of Erie, and Erie County and beyond. What a privilege it is to live in a community that chooses to invest in poetry! I am forever grateful.”

Previous Laureates include Dr. Tom Forsthoefel and Berwyn Moore. The Erie County Poet Laureate is an emissary for poetry who will promote an awareness of poetry and inspire an appreciation of the art form in our community.

The Poet Laureate initiative has been honored by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania and the National Association of Counties for excellence and for the promotion of the arts by County government.  

Large Scale Mural Project Announced

posted on: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First it was fish. Then we had frogs. Now several organizations are coming together to announce Erie’s newest large-scale public art project, The Big Picture.

The new project is a collaborative effort between the Erie Art Museum, Erie Arts & Culture, and the YMCA with support from Tungsten Creative Group. The goal is to provide resources and support to artists and property owners interested in the creation of murals. It’s an idea that was first considered in 2012 when Erie was chosen as the host city for the Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

“We made a commitment to provide seed money to a large community project that extended the theme of the Governor’s Awards for the Arts, “art in everyday life” says Tammy Roche, 2012 Governor’s Awards for the Arts co-chair, “the creation of public art is a direct way to make art more accessible in the environments where we live, work and play.”

The Big Picture will leverage the power of visual storytelling to inspire and beautify neighborhoods by placing large-scale murals in public places. “Noticeably, there is an organic effort in many of our neighborhoods to use murals to beautify, brand a space, inspire community conversation and build pride,” says John Vanco, director of the Erie Art Museum. “The Big Picture will provide the organizational framework to leverage human capital, financial resources and expand impact.”

The Governor’s Awards for the Arts organizers have designated $35,000 for The Big Picture. The seed money will fund project management, training and technical assistance for artists and property owners and support the creation of up to six new murals. “We’ll kick-off activities with training for artists by the award-winning, Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. The training will cover muraling techniques, strategies for community engagement and practical considerations like mural maintenance,” Erie Arts & Culture director, Amanda Brown Sissem states. The free workshop will held on Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. at the Erie Art Museum and is open to all interested artists – both those engaged in their own mural projects and those who want to participate in the opportunities available through The Big Picture.

Contact Ally Thomas at the Erie Art Museum for more information at (814) 459-5477.

Veterans Make Artistic Legacy

posted on: Tuesday, July 08, 2014

By Matt Knoedler
Originally posted here.

Military veterans at Erie’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center have found a creative way to show off their legacy in the armed forces. It’s called the Bald Eagle Mosaic, a project that 20 VA patients spent five-and-a-half months completing. It symbolizes and expresses their lasting legacy in the armed forces.

"This is a nice opportunity for veterans who come to the VA and to the Behavioral Health to show off their artwork,” said Jamie Zewe, assistant chief of Behavioral Health at the Erie VA Hospital. “We have a lot of veterans who are very talented, and so this is a great opportunity to show the community and other veterans their craft.”

The veterans partnered with artists from Erie Arts & Culture for what is an alternative therapeutic method, allowing patients the chance to highlight their military service through a creative medium.

"I saw a hesitancy in the beginning and it sort of burst out toward the end with all of this creativity and they didn't want to stop and it was hard to pull back the reigns at one point,” said Kathe Umlauf, resident artist.

The Erie Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Clinic serves nearly double the amount of patients it did just six years ago, and that makes events like these even more necessary than in the past.

"Veterans that are involved in behavioral health programs that we have, a lot of them are dealing with mental health issues like PTSD, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, all of that,” said Sarah Gudgeon, public relations specialist for the Erie VA. “Art gives them a way to escape for a little bit and to focus their energy on something else.”

Veterans also produced photographs and paintings during the mixed media project. Some even showed their skills off of the canvas. The opportunity for veterans to remember the freedom they fought for allowed them to be free while creating their masterpiece.

"They were happy about it and they took initiative in areas they hadn't done before. And they were talking and I thought it was a really healthy environment, and my impression is that there was some healing going on,” Umlauf added.

2012/13 Annual Report

posted on: Monday, June 09, 2014

The 2013/13 Erie Arts & Culture and Erie Downtown Arts and Culture Coalition combined Annual Report is now out! Have a look at the details of an eventful year for the organizations here.