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.  

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.

ArtsErie’s Art in Action Program to Host Summer Institute

posted on: Friday, May 13, 2011

Teachers and Professional Artists Encouraged to Attend

ERIE, PA — ArtsErie’s Art in Action Program will host an Art in Action Summer Institute on Sunday, June 12 and Monday, June 13 for teachers and professional artists at The Riverside Inn in Cambridge Springs, Pa. Although professional artists may register for either of the one-day programs, the sessions on June 12 will be geared toward artists. Teachers are asked to register only for the June 13 program. Both day-long sessions will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“Participants in the Art in Action Summer Institute will learn about the Art in Education programs with ArtsErie, including the Art in Action program, artist residencies and infusing the arts into classroom lessons,” said M. Holly Nowak, Arts in Education Director at ArtsErie.

The cost of the Art in Action Summer Institute is $50 per person. The fee includes a keynote speaker (to be announced), workshops, group meals and snacks, a basic, one-year membership in ArtsErie and an embroidered canvas tote with a school calendar, Art in Action handbook and other items. Teachers may also receive seven hours of Act 48 Credits. Guests interested in overnight accommodations at The Riverside Inn should mention ArtsErie when making reservations.

To receive a registration form, please click here for a registration form for teachers or click here for a registration form for professional artists. Those interested may also contact ArtsErie at (814) 452-3427 or The registration deadline is Monday, June 6, 2011.

This Art in Action Summer Institute is supported by the U.S. Department of Education Arts in Education Model Development & Dissemination Grant, an Art in Education Project of ArtsErie.

About ArtsErie
ArtsErie strives to nurture the arts and enrich the lives of the people of northwestern Pennsylvania through leadership, financial support, education and advocacy. Additional information about ArtsErie is available online at

ArtsErie to Host Cultural Excursion for Elementary Students

posted on: Monday, April 18, 2011

Students, teachers and families from three area schools invited to attend “Hua Hua’s Visual Expressions” on Tuesday, April 19 at Edinboro University

ArtsErie’s Art in Action project will provide a family cultural experience for students and teachers from Cambridge Springs Elementary School, Cambridge Springs, Pa.; Second District Elementary School, Meadville, Pa.; and Union City Elementary School, Union City, Pa. Teachers, students and their families are invited to attend the performance “Hua Hua Zhang’s Visual Expressions,” part of the Performing Arts Series, at Edinboro University on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. The event showcases a blend of Chinese and Western puppet art with dance, music, masks and lighting.

“Hua Hua Zhang is absolutely amazing,” said M. Holly Nowak, Art in Action's Project Director and ArtsErie's Arts in Education Director. “She taught students in the Clarion area as part of an ArtsErie artist residency several years ago. Everyone remembers how wonderful it was to have her there in residence. We’re so excited to be able to have a new group of students experience her performance.”

The three elementary schools are partners in Art in Action, a four-year program funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination grant program (AEMDD). ArtsErie’s Art in Action project will provide the opportunity free-of-charge, including event tickets and transportation to and from their schools, to the attendees.


About Art in Action

The Art in Action project is a partnership between ArtsErie, Union City Elementary School, Second District Elementary School, Cambridge Springs Elementary School and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Through Art in Action, ArtsErie and its partner agencies propose to develop, document and evaluate a model that will enhance both the quality of teaching in the classroom as well as student academic achievement and engagement in the learning process by 1.) integrating the arts into existing curriculum, and strengthening in-school art experiences for approximately 900 elementary students living in rural northwestern Pennsylvania, and 2.) strengthening quality relationships between teaching artists and classroom teachers.

About ArtsErie

ArtsErie strives to nurture the arts and enrich the lives of the people of northwestern Pennsylvania through leadership, financial support, education and advocacy. Additional information about ArtsErie is available online at

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Two Book Signings Scheduled with Cartoonist George Broderick, Jr.

posted on: Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pittsburgh-based cartoonist visits Erie as part of Meet the Artist Day,
sponsored by ArtsErie and the PA Council on the Arts

ERIE, PA — ArtsErie invites the public to meet cartoonist George Broderick, Jr., who has written stories for DC Comics, Marvel Comics and more. The Pittsburgh-based comic book artist and writer, previously scheduled for a series of workshops and a public book signing at Harding Elementary School on Tuesday, May 4, has extended his stay to include a book signing open to the public on Monday, May 3 at Erie Book Store, 137 East 13th Street, Erie.

Broderick’s public schedule includes the following two book signings:

Monday, May 3, 4–6 pm
Erie Book Store
137 East 13th Street
Erie, PA 16503

Tuesday, May 4, 2–3 pm

Harding Elementary School Lobby*
820 Lincoln Avenue
Erie, PA 16505
•   The Harding School Lobby will be open to the public during this hour only.
Copies of his books will be available for purchase and signing at both events.

Broderick has worked as a professional in comics since 1982. Since then, he has written stories for DC Comics, Marvel Comics and handled both scripting and editing on the “LOST IN SPACE” and “QUANTUM LEAP” comic books for InnovationPublishing and editing on “LOST IN SPACE: Voyage To The Bottom Of The Soul” for Bubblehead Publishing.

While in Erie, Broderick also will be offering workshops to students at Harding Elementary School. Since September 2009, Harding Elementary School teacher Jeanne Kraus and her fourth grade students have been enjoying the cartooning talents of Mike Bocianowski, a local graphic artist and animation instructor. Bocianowski is in 'Residence' at Harding Elementary through a Grant from the PA Council on the Arts known as a Teacher Artist Partnership or TAP. He arranged Broderick’s visit as part of Meet the Artist Day, sponsored by ArtsErie and the PA Council on the Arts.

For more information about George Broderick, Jr., visit or

About ArtsErie
ArtsErie strives to nurture the arts and enrich the lives of the people of northwestern Pennsylvania through leadership, financial support, education and advocacy. Additional information about ArtsErie is available online at

About the PA Council on the Arts
The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts is a state agency under the Governor’s Office that works to foster the excellence, diversity and vitality of the arts in Pennsylvania and to broaden the availability and appreciation of those arts throughout the state. For more information on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, visit