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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Beacon Bits -- Not Just Second Saturday

If it seems like there is a flurry of activity for my posts, there is! The more involved I get in Beacon and the more things I am doing over time, the less writing seems to get done. This inverse correlation is paradoxical, but I try to remember that my blog is not about real time events - for that I would recommend Beacon Citizen - but the purpose of Beacon Bits is to reflect on community life and the opportunities for immersion in the social and cultural happenings that bring neighbors together.
I have blogged for two years as of this month and I always have many tidbits that I want to write about, but one posting that has been on my mind for a long time is the Beacon Post Office.  The wonderful murals stand as a testimony to a period of time when politicians really cared about people and afforded them the means to earn a living in the trades and arts of building an infrastructure and adorning them for generations to come.

The Beacon Post Office was built in 1937-1938 during the depression by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The murals that adorn the upper quadrant of the walls that wrap around inside the building, can be seen Monday through Saturday (except for evening hours when Second Saturday galleries have openings--a pity for our visitors.) They were created by WPA artists. The mural aptly depicts the river towns along the Hudson in an ambling manner that is characteristic of "Muhheakantuck" (the Lenape Indian name for 'the river that flows both ways.') The simple elegance and warm colors seem to be an understatement, but seem to be appropriate for the natural beauty of the region. The exterior stone used in the building was from the Cold Spring Foundry. As a testimony to its significance, the post office was placed on the Registry of National Historic Landmarks  twenty-five years ago, in 1988.

Food for thought:  Can you begin to imagine what would be created in Beacon now with all of the local talented artists if only there was a current WPA in effect???
Well, we might just be in luck with the advent of the Beacon 3D (2013) project on the corner of Main and Cross Streets. Three sculptures have been installed at 164 Main Street and will be on view through October 15th. The public sculpture project is sponsored by BeaconArts and has been organized by Eleni Smolen of Theo Ganz Studio.  The artists are all from Beacon. Ed Benavente's Sea Change, Tadashi Hashimoto's Gaia and Insun Kim's Couples (photos, top to bottom below) stand as a testimony to the flourishing arts community of Beacon.  It is hoped that this will become an annual community event with the ongoing dedication of talented artists, local entrepreneurs, volunteers and committed citizens who want to bring art into the mundane, day-to-day existence, much in the same way that the WPA had. This art in the ordinary open space is truly a gateway to Beacon's Main Street.
Fundraising is ongoing for this project; donations can be made to BeaconArts, an IRS 501(c)(3) charitable organization with Beacon 3D in the memo and mailed to BeaconArts, PO Box 727, Beacon NY 12508. Any amount of money is appreciated. since it takes a village to keep art in the public eye; perhaps 'WPA' can stand for 'With Pride & Action'.

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