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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beacon Bits -- Are You a Friend?

During the recent ' Women of Beacon' celebration of outstanding women honored by the Board of Directors at the Howland Cultural Center on March 28  during Women's History Month, I was reminded about the importance of volunteerism and vision for community life.  Honorees, Kelly Ellenwood, Clara Lou Gould, Gwen Nerrie, Sara Pasti and Dot Paulin, were lauded for their contributions, and efforts on behalf of children, teens, the environment, and the arts -- essential factors for Beacon's vibrant community to thrive in the Hudson Valley.
New York State Senator Terry Gipson giving certificates to the honorees
So when I ask, 'are you a friend', I'm not thinking about Facebook friends or BFFs. I'm thinking about all the worthwhile projects, nonprofits, and grassroots happenings that you can support by becoming a member or a "Friend" in modest ways that show your commitment  with the investment of time and money in concrete ways.
So here is my short list of well-deserving groups, among many others, that should have as many friends as possible in Beacon.
The Beacon 3D Project, presented by BeaconArts, a 501c3, is designed to support, promote and feature active sculptors in a long-term outdoor exhibition. The sculptures will be placed in 3 or more locations from May 15 to October 15 and feature the work of Emil Alzamora, Ed Benavente, John BonSignore, Geoff Feder, Sarah Haviland, Tom Holmes, Insunn Kim, Lori Merhige, Peter Schlemorortz, Judy Sigunick, Jenifer Smith and Naomi Teppel. This is the second year for this event, which has been awarded a grant from Arts Mid-Hudson. For further information contact Eleni Smolen, Project Manager/Curator at or 917-318-2239 or check out the Beacon 3D Facebook page. No contribution is too small.
Put yourself in the midst of the Beacon 3D Project
Beacon Sloop Club, the keepers of the sloop Woody Guthrie, stewards of the Strawberry, Corn and Pumpkin festivals and host to a monthly community potluck and sing-along on the first Friday. The $50 annual membership donation is an outright steal for all the music, camaraderie and opportunities for collaboration you will experience.

Howland Cultural Center -- the heart and soul of Beacon in an historical Norwegian Gothic building -- home to the Howland Chamber Music Circle and the sundry and never-ending poetry, music, dance, political action and artistic events -- allows you to become a part of its mission within a wide range of donations to show your support. The Howland Cultural Center is also home to the Beacon Historical Society, which holds the memories of Beacon's humble past as they are kept alive by those who preserve and re-tell the stories about the people, the places and the times that came before the revival of this manufacturing town.

Fovea, a photojournalist's gem in the Hudson Valley with its internationally known photographers and acclaimed exhibits that give back a thousand fold to Beacon during Second Saturday openings and featured panel disussions. Becoming a benefactor or donor is as easy as writing a check and dropping it into the donations box as you enter or exit.
Recent April 12th Fovea opening of The Homecoming Project with photojournalist Erin Trieb, co-directors Sabine Meyer, Stephanie Heiman Roland and veteran/artist Britten Walker
 The Beacon Theatre, the apparent turtle in the race with all the hares in town -- but the vision and early endeavor of those involved with 4th Wall Productions were drum majorettes in leading others into believing that Beacon's cultural district would have a strong comeback. Support the small theatrical productions held in the renovated lobby now; the rest and best is yet to come.

Food for thought:  Being a friend takes time, energy, and commitment. But true friendship is about reciprocity. If you think about the number of coffees at Bank Square, bagels at Beacon Bagels, craft beers at The Hop, dumplings at Korean Seoul, dinners at Towne Crier, lunches at Homespun, breads at Beacon Bread or All You Knead and ice pops at Zora Dora, then surely a $25, $50 or $100 annual membership fee or occasional gift or donation is equitable for all the wonderful nonprofits that are serving us in our midst.

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