Tag Archives: Bottle Works Arts on Third Avenue

Jamieson, an award-winning author, to headline book festival

Our Town Correspondent

The ninth annual Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown is set to take place at Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue on April 1 and April 2 this year. 
The purpose of the Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown is to provide children with a free, engaging literary experience that promotes the joy of reading. It is also designed to give parents the tools they need to encourage a lifelong love of reading in their children.

The theme for this year’s festival is “Read, Rock and Roll.”

New York Times best-selling author and Newberry Honor Award winner Victoria Jamieson is headlining the festival. Jamieson’s graphic novel, “Roller Girl,” focuses on friendship, survival, determination and girl power.

“Jamieson’s graphic novel is great for young girls because it’s about empowerment and navigating those confusing pre-teen/teen years,” said Ingrid Kloss, The Learning Lamp’s director of development. “Plus, it’s really funny. This year, we knew we had to continue recruiting top caliber authors to headline the festival, and Jamieson does not disappoint.”

In addition to offering presentations and signing books throughout the weekend, Jamieson is to deliver the keynote address during the festival’s “Saturday Night Author Talk.” 

The talk, scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 p.m., is designed to give both published and aspiring authors/illustrators of children’s literature valuable information and tips for finding success within the publishing industry.

“This talk helps to flesh out what people don’t know, and offers the chance to ask questions in a supportive environment,” Kloss said.

Tickets for the “Saturday Night Author Talk” must be purchased in advance through Eventbrite.com; no tickets will be available at the door. Sales through Eventbrite.com will remain open up to two hours before the talk begins.

To complement Jamieson’s book, “Roller Girl,” the Johnstown Roller Derby Club and Pittsburgh Roller Derby Junior League will be offering demos during both days of the festival.

“A lot of people simply don’t know what roller derby is, so it will be helpful to meet actual derby skaters,” Kloss said.

Author Micha Archer and author/illustrator Stacy Innerst are also participating in this year’s festival.

Archer’s book, “Daniel Finds a Poem,” was chosen as this year’s Pennsylvania “One Book, Every Young Child” program’s selection. “One Book, Every Young Child” highlights the importance of early literacy development, the advantages of reading early and often, and the impact of engaging children in conversations and activities as they relate to the books they read. Archer works with oil, watercolors, pen and ink and collage.

Innerst, meanwhile, has illustrated numerous children’s books, including books about Levi Strauss, Abraham Lincoln and the Beatles. His work has received awards and recognition from American Illustration, the New York Society of Illustrators, Society of Illustrators Traveling Exhibition, Print Magazine Design Annual, a Gold Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and an Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Entertainer Mike Zaffruto and storyteller Melinda Falgoust are also participating.

Zaffruto’s “Rock n’ Roll Pet Show” introduces children to an imaginary pet store that comes to life with music, magic, puppets and more. Falgoust’s storytelling skills have been recognized by NY Book Festival Annual Competition, Oshima International Hand-Made Picture Book Competition and Writers Unlimited Annual Literary Competition.

“We’re happy to feature some talented women as part of this year’s festival, as the past two have been male-dominated,” Kloss said. “We got a lot of feedback from young girls wanting female authors.”

During the festival, parents and children can purchase new and used books as part of the book sale. In addition, every child who attends the festival will be invited to select a free, brand-new book of their choice courtesy of First Book.

“First Book is a great organization that enables us to get books for the price of shipping only,” Kloss said. “This means that every kid gets a book, regardless of whether mom or dad or grandma are able to buy one for them. And it’s a new book, so it’s just for that child, which is important.”

Children who are interested in writing and/or illustrating will have the opportunity to participate in workshops once again this year. Due to last year’s positive response, new workshops — including a poetry and a graphic novel workshop — have been added.

“We were overwhelmed to get 30 kids at last year’s writing workshop, and realized the audience for these workshops is here and ready,” Kloss said. “Many showed up with their dedicated personal writing journals and special pens or pencils and were clearly engaged. We heard back that a lot of them wished it had lasted longer.”

Also new this year will be an appearance by Joey Reisberg, this year’s national student poet for the northeast region.

“Through luck of the festival being in April, which is also National Poetry Month, we are able to feature Reisberg,” Kloss said. “He’s a high school student poet who is spending the month of April travelling and sharing his poetry and facilitating workshops for younger students as service to the country. The program is operated through Scholastic in New York.”

Locals selling food are to park their food trucks along Third Avenue. This year’s vendors include HK Hot Dogs, TNT Concessions and Flair of Country Catering. More vendors may be announced.

Children and teens can also plan to participate in a bookmark contest. Winners in each age group receive a basket full of age-appropriate books.

Live entertainment, storytellers, and themed arts and crafts opportunities round out this year’s two-day event.

Kloss and her fellow The Learning Lamp staff members are hoping that this year’s festival is as well-received as last year’s.

“Last year, the festival was a huge hit with the community, spotlighting the importance of reading to over 3,470 children and their families,” Kloss said.

The ninth annual Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown is supported in part by a $10,000 grant from National Endowment for the Arts as part of their “Challenge America” grant program.

“The NEA funding is huge, and I like to talk about it because people read about these crazy, maybe controversial, projects funded by the NEA, which are also important because art is a conversation about the world,” Kloss said. “But also realize that the NEA supports things in our community like the book festival. 

“We also get funding from the state arts agency via (Pennsylvania) Rural Arts Alliance. We’re also grateful to the Grable Foundation in Pittsburgh, and to our many corporate and individual donors of both funding and in-kind contributions.”

Kloss added that the festival’s success is also due in part to the many volunteers who donate their time and talents.

This year’s festival will take place Saturday and Sunday only, with no Friday evening events scheduled this year. Saturday’s hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday’s hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue is located at 411 and 413 Third Ave. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood.

For more information about the 9th Annual Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown, call a Learning Lamp staff member at 814-262-0732 or visit www.thelearninglamp.org and/or facebook.com/CBFJohnstown/ online.

Kloss said she hopes everyone enjoys this year’s festival, as well as the books they take home with them.

“Reading connects you to the world, to new ideas,” she said.

Wieczorek assembles all-star Christmas concert lineup

Submitted photo
Chloe Wieczorek

Our Town Correspondent

Johnstown natives Chloe Wieczorek and John Bagnato will present a holiday concert at Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue on Dec. 23 beginning at 7 p.m. The concert will take place inside the Art Works building.

Wieczorek is a vocalist, pianist and composer who earned a dual bachelor’s in music-jazz studies and communication-rhetoric from University of Pittsburgh. She has trained under artists such as Alton Merrel, Connaitre Miller, Frank Cunimundo and Sandra Dowe, and is being mentored by Grammy nominee Geri Allen.

Wieczorek has performed throughout the East Coast as a solo artist, bandleader, backup vocalist and dueling pianist. She also has sung at Heinz Hall alongside the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Tony Award winner Brian Stokes-Mitchell. She currently teaches voice and piano and directs an a cappella performance program at the renowned Sunburst School of Music.

Bagnato was a student of Don Cherry at the Naropa Institute. The jazz guitarist received his bachelor’s in music from the Manhattan School of Music and his master’s in music from the University of New Orleans. He currently is a doctoral candidate at University of Pittsburgh, where he also teaches. Bagnato previously taught at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation School and at the House of Blues Foundation.

Bagnato has opened for Shirley Horn, Eliades Ochoa, Oliver Mtukudzi and Steel Pulse, and performed with artists such as Esperanza Spalding, Geri Allen, Cassandra Wilson, Busta Rhymes and Wu-Tang Clan. His talents have taken him around the world; he has performed in Cuba, Brazil, South Africa, Italy, Germany and Switzerland, just to name a few.

Wieczorek and Bagnato will be accompanied by an all-star lineup of musicians, including Beni Rossman, George Heid III and Brett Williams.

Rossman is a bassist from Pittsburgh who has written and played for bands such as Ladies Night, Lyndsey Smith and Soul Distribution, Velvet Heat and The ChopShop. He has also worked with world-renowned artists such as Richie Cole and Roby “Super Sax” Edwards.

As a freelance session bassist, Rossman has recorded on award-winning tracks and albums and has produced music for television as well. Rossman currently serves as the full-time bass instructor at the acclaimed Pittsburgh-based music school, Sunburst School of Music. He is also playing in his own funk band, Starship Mantis, which will be on tour in the spring and summer of 2017. 

Rossman also plays frequently with the funk band Ladies Night, and a 15-piece jazz-fusion and world-music ensemble, the Afro-Yaqui Music Collective.

Drummer George Heid III has studied under musicians such as Roger Humphries, Kenny Washington, Rodney Green, Gene Jackson, John Riley, Richie Morales and his father. Heid recently returned from working a three-month residency in Hangzhou, China, at JZ Club with his own Quartet. 

In 2014, he served a six-month residency in Hangzhou, China, as a featured member of The Bill Heid Quartet. He has performed and recorded with artists such as Sean Jones, Warren Wolf, Theron Brown, Don Aliquo Jr. and more.

Heid most often performs and records with his group, Elevations. Their music is rooted in the jazz tradition, but also incorporates other musical genres such as hip-hop, R&B, funk, classical, rock and pop. Elevations competed in the “2012 Next Generation Monterey Jazz Festival,” where they placed first overall and Heid was awarded “The Best Solo Performance Award” for the second year in a row. Elevations returned to Monterey and performed on the main “Coffee House Stage” at the 2012 Monterey Jazz Festival.

Heid won both ASCAP’s 2013 “Young Jazz Composer’s Award” and Downbeat Magazine’s 2013 “Best Original Jazz Composition Award” for his original composition entitled “Emma Rain” from Elevations’ debut CD.

Williams, who started playing piano at the age of 4, has also made quite an impression on Pittsburgh’s jazz scene, becoming an in-demand pianist throughout the Pittsburgh area. He frequently played and recorded with Dwayne Dolphin, Sean Jones, Roger Humphries and Poogie Bell. 

In 2010, Williams studied jazz and classical music at Duquesne University, where he also earned many solo performance awards before graduating. Also a member of Elevations, Williams had the opportunity to perform at the 55th Monterey Jazz Festival in 2012. In 2013, he began working with the multi-Grammy-award-winning bassist Marcus Miller.

Williams has been touring with Miller for four years and is featured on his latest Grammy-nominated recording, “Afrodeezia.” Williams has also played with musicians such as Stevie Wonder, Snarky Puppy, Robert Glasper, Lauryn Hill, Sean Jones, Gregoire Maret, Jon Batiste and more.
He has performed all over the world, including the United States, Europe, South America, Africa, China and Japan. He was also featured on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” playing in the house band alongside Jon Batiste and Stay Human.

“So, basically,” Wieczorek said, “I somehow managed to get insanely amazing musicians for this show. But truth be told, I only really know Beni and John. I met John while I was in college at Pitt for Jazz Studies and he was taking classes for his PhD in Jazz Studies. We found out we were both from Johnstown and that connection pretty much kept us in touch over the past four years.

“I met Beni through teaching at Sunburst School of Music. Currently, the three of us teach there, so it is pretty fun. Not only are John and Beni fantastic musicians and educators, but they are outstanding people as well. Just really good guys — caring, kind and always willing to help. I’ve recorded/performed with both of them and they’ve been always a delight to work with. We just have a lot of fun. That’s what it’s all about.

“As for George and Brett, Beni got me in touch with them. They all went to Duquesne together for music (all of them are originally from Pittsburgh) and have been performing with each other and various other groups for many years, despite all being in their early 20s. Brett will be coming in from New York City, but the rest of us will be traveling in from Pittsburgh.”

Wieczorek said it’s always nice to come home and play a “hometown” show.

“I love seeing my friends, family and followers in the audience,” Wieczorek said. “It is sort of like a big reunion every time I come back and play. It is always a surprise who will show up, from childhood music teachers to basketball coaches to old friends to acquaintances that have been following my music career. 

“The audience is always different yet consistently energetic about my performance. I just love their support — from the people I know and the people I don’t.”
She added that she doesn’t ever want to forget her roots.

“It is really important to me to come back and play and support venues such as the Bottle Works as well,” she said. “I began using this venue back in 2012 and it continues to be my favorite place to put on a show. The people they attract know the arts, so it is always enjoyable to share my form of art with those who can appreciate it. I also love the Johnstown audiences’ sense of humor.

“My first year doing this Christmas show, Nick Adams and I thought it would be hilarious to do ‘Suzy Snowflake’ in a bunch of different styles, like Suzy Discoflake, Suzy Punkflake, Suzy Sultryflake. We thought everyone was going to hate it and kind of be mad that we ‘destroyed’ the original version, but instead, they demanded that song for the following year, and they’ve demanded it this year, and they’ll probably demand it next year, too. So they got the joke and loved it, to say the least. In short, I love my hometown and love the consistent support by the people in it. My music foundation began in Johnstown, so I will always come back and perform for the people who have given me so much.”

Tickets for the BYOB “Jazzy Christmas Concert” can be purchased in advance by calling a Bottle Works staff member at 814-536-5399 or 814-535-2020. Tickets can also be purchased at the door the evening of the show.

Doors are to open at 6:30 p.m. that evening. Without giving away her setlist, Wieczorek said that audiences can expect to hear “traditional Christmas songs with a non-traditional twist.”

Wieczorek said she’s confident that this will be her best Christmas show in Johnstown yet.

“I know this will be my best show yet due to the talent on stage,” she said. “But beyond talent, we all just love performing, and I know that love and passion for the music, even if it’s ‘Jingle Bells,’ will be seen by the audience. Also, I think the audience will also enjoy the various ‘takes’ we have on traditional Christmas songs.

“Above all, it is going to be a lot of fun. Based upon some of songs we are playing, you can definitely expect some dancing from at least myself and Beni. We are all just really excited to have fun on stage together, and I know our fun together will be contagious to all those watching.”

Former city resident returns with ‘Remembrance’ display

Our Town Correspondent

Multimedia artist and Johnstown native Peter Calaboyias has an exhibit at Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue that is featured in both the Bottle Works building and the neighboring Art Works building.

The exhibit, titled “Remembrance,” opened Oct. 21 and is to remain on display through Jan. 13.

The exhibit showcases the versatility of Calaboyias as an artist, featuring more than 70 pieces of work representing a variety of mediums that include drawing, painting and sculpture. Some of the pieces are new, while others date back to the 1960s.

Calaboyias, who resides and maintains a studio in Pittsburgh, is an artist whose work has been featured on Penn State’s campus as well as inside the Pittsburgh International Airport.

Bottle Works Executive Director Angela Rizzo said that this will be Calaboyias’ largest show ever to be featured in Johnstown. The last time his work was exhibited in the city was in 2003, the same year when Calaboyias was inducted into the Bottle Works Hall of Fame.

“We should be thrilled and honored that he is a native,” Rizzo said. “Many of his works are inspired by Johnstown or Greece. Both places obviously have had a huge influence in his life.”

Calaboyias was born in 1940 Icaria, Greece, but his family settled in Johnstown in 1946. His father was a partner in the Franklin Lunch restaurant along Franklin Street. Calaboyias lived in Brownstown, Conemaugh Borough and Kernville. During his younger years, he said he felt “confined” by the city and his surroundings.

“We did not own a car and only left town in the summer to visit relatives in Ohio,” Calaboyias said. “As I looked around there were mountains on every horizon. I rarely traveled beyond and felt confined.”

So, after receiving his high school diploma on June 6, 1958, from Johnstown High, Calaboyias set forth on a new journey and traveled to New York, where he enrolled at New York University.

“My interest was in math studies and maybe engineering,” Calaboyias said, “but I always enjoyed the art experience. It could be that while in the Belgian Congo, as children, we made toys from weeds, sticks and natural materials.”

In New York, he met a “sea of unusual people,” including artists and actors. He and his new friends often traveled to galleries, and that’s when Calaboyias began to further develop his interest in art.

“It was abstract expressionism era, and I was attracted to some small welded steel sculptures,” he said.

Later that year, however, Calaboyias received a phone call from his father. He and his brother were needed at the restaurant back in Johnstown.

“Of course, I had to return,” he said. “I always wondered where my life would have led me if I had stayed in New York.”

Calaboyias returned to the restaurant and to school — this time, Penn State.

“At Penn State, I was interested in engineering, but also added studio courses to my schedule,” he said. 

“One day, the dean of the art education department stopped in to the clay studio and approached me to see my clay creation. He later encouraged me to consider art education as a major with studio arts studies. I had great admiration for him — Victor Lowenfeld, the father of modern art education curriculums.”

From there, Calaboyias settled in Pittsburgh. For six years, he taught with the Pittsburgh Public Schools. The next phase of his teaching career involved 27 years with Community College of Allegheny County and 19 years at Grove City College as an artist-in-residence. He also had the opportunity to teach at Carnegie-Mellon University.

He later received his master’s in education in art from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and, in between his teaching duties, Calaboyias found the time to exhibit his works. He said that his work was warmly received and began to draw attention “almost immediately.”

“In the summer of 1963, I lived in Oakland, near the University of Pittsburgh, with a driveway where I began welding metal,” he said. “On an August evening of 1963, a few artists and I held an exhibition in the driveway. There were a great number of visitors, and the next day, the Pittsburgh Press had a story about the three artists exhibiting on Filmore Street.”

In his artist’s statement, Calaboyias wrote that “Artists need to exhibit to an audience. Some artists may never exhibit and their works will get lost in the passage of time.”

Calaboyias believes that artists should exhibit their work as much as they can.

“There are documentations of artists who earned great fame, but, in time, slowly vanished from the journals of art. Although their art survived, it is now a footnote in history,” he said. “Other artists quickly established their talent, supported by great and generous patrons, showcased in museums and books. Their contributions to contemporary art progression of that period secured their fame. The question arises, of others such as Van Gogh who never sold a painting and is one of the most loved and appreciated artists in history.

“All artists need to share their work with the people. A brush stroke on a canvas, a note played on a piano, a poetic verse spoken is in utter darkness until it falls on the eyes and ears of a patron. Art does not exist alone. It will die. Those that love it will keep it alive.”

Some of Calaboyias’ major permanent installations can be seen on the campuses of Juniata College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Grove City College. Other installations can be found in Pittsburgh’s Mellon Park, West Park and on the “North Side.”

One of his most recognized works was a commission for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. He described his sculpture, titled “Tribute,” as one of his most challenging pieces.

“I prepared a small model made from a small brass sheet cut into an arc, and then using play dough, pinched three figures into the cut out spaces. I had reasoned in the presentations of other sculptors’ works viewed by the Olympic Committee of Atlanta, my chances may not have been great,” he said. 

“It was only when I had the opportunity to present my concept with this simple model and explain the symbolism of the history of the Olympics did the committee notice. The committee recessed and, upon returning to the room, announced my model as the winner. This was an unbelievable moment in my life.”

In 1965 a piece of Calaboyias’ work came to Johnstown as part of a recognition for U.S. Steel Chairman Roger Blough. U.S. Steel installed one of Calaboyias’ works at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena and that’s when Calaboyias said that he “came full circle, back to Johnstown.”

“Remembrance” brings him back to Johnstown once again, and the exhibit holds traces of his time spent in Kernville.

“Images in my paintings and sculptures remind me of discarded small objects I would find in the alleys and streets of Conemaugh Borough,” he said. “I would take them home and organize some sort of structure and pretended (as most young children) that it was something of imagination.

“As I recall my life from the time I can remember on the island of Ikaria, we traveled to Africa and back to the island. I never really had a childhood or a home. Arriving in Johnstown at the age of 7 until I graduated, Johnstown was home. My memories are in Johnstown. My friends, family, education, where I worked on weekends, the teenage dances and events, the sports and the multitude of youthful experiences are those that we remember and sometimes long for to relive if only in memories. The theme ‘Remembrance’ is the connection between the now and then.”

He said he’s looking forward to giving viewers an opportunity to connect with his pieces.

“Art exhibits and the artists who prepare works to be exhibited do have a technique, style, theme, medium or message they wish to share with the viewer. I, too, have a technique, style, theme, medium and message: How a visitor perceives the work depends on how much knowledge he knows about the artist. The art is not separated from the life of the artist. What one takes away is what one brings to the exhibit,” he said.

“As an advocate of the arts, a complete understanding acquired through the pursuit of knowledge will open up the pages of history to the inner eye and soul of every person. It is the flip-book of the accomplishments of mankind.”

Calaboyias said he’s thrilled to exhibit his work in Johnstown once again.

“Johnstown did not have an art museum, gallery or art activities. I credit the patrons, supporters and visionaries that have created an empty building into a vibrant and living art center. I am very pleased to be an exhibiting artist in my hometown,” he said.

And now, as an adult, Calaboyias can appreciate the city more than he did when he was a teenager.

“A few years ago, I returned to Johnstown for a day and photographed all the neighborhoods I remembered, plus the Inclined Plane, the steel mills, schools, churches, Main Street and many other landmarks,” he said. “For some reason, I yearned to document through photographs those memories.”

Calaboyias said that it is important to appreciate where you came from.

“We all have ‘roots.’ To not acknowledge your piece of earth is to deny your relative place in time and space,” he said. 
“Who we are, what we are and what have we contributed feeds from the roots we were born. It is inescapable.” 

For more information about this exhibit, visit www.bottleworks.org or call a staff member at 814-535-2020 or 814-536-5399.

Bottle Works and Art Works’ gallery hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Come show support and let his work inspire you,” Rizzo said.

‘Some Like It Haute!’ to raise funds for Dance Works

Facebook event page photo
Facebook event page photo

Our Town Correspondent

Johnstown Concert Ballet is hosting a wearable art fundraiser that will help support new ventures in the ballet’s journey to offer premier dance classes and performance opportunities to people in the community.

The fundraiser, “Some Like It Haute!,” is scheduled for Oct. 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue, which is located in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood. The event is to take place inside the Art Works building.

Money raised from “Some Like It Haute!” will support ongoing renovations to ballet’s newly acquired building along Broad Street, which is scheduled to become The Center for Dance and Movement. The building was formerly Hornick’s Hardware.

The Center for Dance and Movement will be the site of Dance Works, a nonprofit organization that will focus on transforming the lives of people of all ages through the power of dance.


The vision for Dance Works is to invite dancers of all ages and backgrounds to be enriched by dance through classes and workshops. The genres of dance that are to be offered include, but are not limited to, classical ballet, contemporary dance and folk dance. Conditioning clinics and a proposed training site to educate professionals about the wellness that emerges from dance, as well as movement programming, are also in the works.

“The nonprofit has received grants from Community Initiatives of the Community Foundation of the Alleghenies to begin the restoration of the building,” said Rosemary Pawlowski, a development consultant for the ballet. “Cosmetic improvements have been made and a corps of artistic folks continues to decorate the windows as a visual announcement of forthcoming events.

“Since Dance Works is the new kid on the block and we are gathering resources for the renovation, the decision was made to present special events that would call attention to Dance Works, to the power of dance and movement and add some fun stuff as well.”

“Some Like It Haute!” is to feature original pieces of jewelry, couture and body fashion created by professional artists and designers. The event will also feature models, ballerinas and performances by The Hat Ladies (Marsha McDowell, Pat Holifield) and The Silhouette Lady (Bonnie Resinski).

“I’m calling this Johnstown’s mini New York Fashion Week,” ballet committee chairwoman and “Some Like It Haute!” event coordinator Rebecca Brubaker Roberts said. “We’re going to offer a runway show unlike anything Johnstown has seen before. The models are going to look very edgy. Think New York Fashion Week. Think otherworldly.”

“The clothing is just fantastic, and it’s also very approachable.”

Many of the featured runway items, which will be made from all different types of materials, will be made available for purchase.

“Not only will a lot of the stuff on the runway be for sale, but the designers will also be taking custom orders,” Roberts said. “These are items that you can’t purchase inside any store or shopping mall. It is all uniquely crafted, wearable art. There are a lot of people in Johnstown and the surrounding area who appreciate both the uniqueness and the love of art that’s put into creating these pieces.”

In addition to a variety of refreshments, artisan food is to be provided by PRESS Bistro, and Bishop McCort String Ensemble is to provide dinner music. Zack Becker will serve as DJ throughout the rest of the evening.

Featured artists and designers who are participating in the fundraiser include: Lisa Mull of Davidsville; Thomasa Pridgen of Johnstown; Jude Ernest of South Pittsburgh/Mt. Lebanon; Amanda Brown of Somerset; Barbara Kabula of Indiana; Chere Winnek-Shawer of Indiana; Crista Verhovsek of Johnstown; Joy Knepp of Somerset; Lorraine Adams of Brownstown; Katy Dement of Swissvale; Tina Williams Brewer of Homewood; Laverne Kempt of Pittsburgh; Sandy Trimble of Indiana; Erin Glessner of Somerset and Bridget Mayak of Somerset.

Models include: Kristina Marinkovich, Shamykka Roebuck, Ivanna Pannebianco, Emma Noonan, Aditi Nigam, Keiko Durst and Susan Danchanko.

Roberts used to be a model herself, so she’s taking what she learned in the industry and giving the models some helpful tips and tricks.

“I did runway work for 10 years,” Roberts said. “I worked with designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Geoffrey Beene. So I’m making sure that, in working with these girls, they’re really going to be able to show these creations in the best possible manner on the runway.”

Dancers from JCB who are also participating in the fundraiser include: Madalyn Barnes, Alexandra Barnhart, Abigail Rose, Taelur Vargo, Taylor George and Ashley Jeschonek.

In addition, Mark Ed, as well as representatives from the Pennsylvania Academy of Cosmetology, will be on hand to work on hair and makeup.

Roberts said that everyone involved is working hard to ensure that the event will be a memorable one.

“Everybody is donating an incredible amount of time into putting this fundraiser together so that Dance Works can get off to a very good start,” Roberts said. “This is a real opportunity to enjoy a great evening out for a good cause, and even bring home something that you would not be able to purchase elsewhere.”

Seating is limited and all-inclusive tickets are on sale. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.johnstownconcertballet.or or by calling 814-243-2224.

“The Wearable Art Fashion event is designed to provide a great evening of entertainment and a showcase for creative fashions, but most of all, to raise awareness of Dance Works,” Pawlowski said. “With the limited seating and innovative concept, we anticipate that this exciting fundraiser will be a sold-out event.

“The creativity of this region’s artists knows no bounds. However, we often miss much because the artist takes his work to a level that is considered unsaleable or extreme, which fits perfectly with the criteria for this show. The committee has commissioned smart, haute and edgy, head-to-toe art that will challenge attendees to consider what, to them, is a ‘fashion fit.’”

Roberts said she’s excited about Dance Works and the potential it has.

“Dance Works is going to provide for the needs of Johnstown’s citizens,” she said. “It has been proven that dance and movement are extremely beneficial for people of all ages and skill levels. It’ll be nice to have this in our community.

“A rising tide lifts all boats. Seeing everyone work together to create sensational opportunities like this one only enhances the experience of living in our area.”

For more information about ballet, visit www.johnstownconcertballet.org.

Sculpture exhibit displayed in Cambria City

Our Town Correspondent

American sculptor Hisham Youssef’s exhibit, “NOW,” is currently on display at Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue.

According to Bottle Works Executive Director Angela Rizzo, the title of the exhibit describes precisely when viewers should stop by the gallery to check it out.

“Since I have been director, we have had nothing like this,” Rizzo said of the exhibit, which opened Aug. 19 and is to be on display in the galleries through Oct. 3.

Youssef’s sculptures range in height from 2 inches to 60 feet. Though he works with different types of materials, wood is his main material.

Rizzo met Youssef for the first time last fall, when she and former Bottle Works Executive Director Rosemary Pawlowski attended an Indiana Artist tour.

“Walking into his studio was mind-blowing,” Rizzo said. “His stories about each piece and his personality just draw you in. I knew we had to have him at Bottle Works.”

The self-taught artist and son of Egyptian and Russian immigrants was born and raised in America. His parents raised him in an environment that, to this day, he credits for influencing him and serving as the foundation for his artistic expressions.

Youssef’s current artwork explores themes of utility and application of objects, as well as experiences and people from the past.

His father, also an artist, has exhibited his work alongside Youssef. “NOW” marks Youssef’s first solo show in the area.

Youssef wrote in his Artist Statement that his process usually involves working in “bursts.”

“Often, I see the whole complete piece in my mind before I start,” he wrote. “Then I have to create with my hands what I have seen. The completion of the piece makes my body feel complete. Having a vision of the endpoint doesn’t mean I know the meaning of the piece and I am comfortable with that. The completion of what I have seen is what drives me.”

Rizzo said that the exhibit is unique through and through.

“His exhibit really different than our other exhibits,” she said. “It is more of an installation in a sense.

“His work is very thoughtful. The pieces are beautiful, but the thought process behind each piece and why he created them is just as crucial. It is a very thought-provoking exhibit. It is thought-provoking, humorous and beautiful all in one.”

Youssef will be offering an Artist Talk in October, with the date still to be determined. The Artist Talk will include food, refreshments and the opportunity to learn more from the artist himself his inspiration and techniques. More information about the talk will be printed in Our Town when details become available.

Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue is located at 411 Third Ave. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood. “NOW” is free to view and open to the public during regular gallery hours, which are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.bottleworks.org online or call a staff member at 814-535-2020 or 814-536-5399.

“Youssef is an extremely talented individual,” Rizzo said. “This is a great opportunity not only for him, but also for Bottle Works and Johnstown. Exhibits like this push our audience and community to think outside the box.”

Allen, Donoughe and Krizner to be honored by Bottle Works

Our Town Correspondent

Every year, Bottle Works Arts on Third Avenue selects a group of three people in the arts community to recognize and to induct into their signature hall of fame.

This year’s 16th annual Artists’ Hall of Fame honorees have been announced, and they are: yoga instructor Rachel Allen, plein-air painter Ron Donoughe and landscape and still life artist Marianne Krizner.

These three will join a legion of artists and art advocates who have had a positive impact on the arts through their talents, vision and leadership. Past inductees include Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center Executive Director Michael Bodolosky, theater director Rodney Eatman, maestro Istvan Jaray, Johnstown concert ballet artistic director Carla Prucnal and former Bottle Works executive director Rosemary Pawlowski.

Scheduled for Nov. 5 this year, the induction ceremony is the nonprofit art center’s longest-running and most notable event. As in years past, the ceremony will showcase the honorees by commending the various ways in which they have ensured that art remains part of the community by and large.

Last year, more than 200 people attended the event in which the organization honored Dr. Donato and Nancy Zucco, as well as George Griffith and the late Thomas O’Brien.

Eligible nominees must meet a variety of prerequisites, including: must be a native or resident of this region; have achieved artistic excellence in his or her field of visual, performing or literary arts; made a contribution of enduring value (on a regional, national or international scale); leave a legacy or continuation through education or financial help to those following in their fields of endeavor; made a positive impact through their lives, actions and writings; possess leadership qualities that can serve as an inspiration to young people entering arts fields; and demonstrate the diversity of artistic accomplishments that comprise the rich cultural tapestry of the region.

Bottle Works Arts on Third Avenue Executive Director Angela Rizzo said Allen, Donoughe and Krizner couldn’t be more deserving of the accolade that is an Artists Hall of Fame induction.

“Not only are they are extremely talented in their mediums — they have each made a last impacting through the arts on this region,” Rizzo said.

In addition to serving as a yoga instructor, Allen is a certified music practitioner and reiki master. She uses her talents to inspire holistic healing, and has shared her knowledge and passion with those in hospice, as well as children and youth in poverty. 

Allen also remains interested in helping survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence, adults with mental illnesses and incarcerated women. She is a founder of the Community Connection Team, which focuses on holistic opportunities for residents of marginalized neighborhoods.

Along with Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan and Beginnings Inc., Allen brought to fruition the Commission on Hope, which provides trauma-informed yoga, parenting classes and volunteer coaches for incarcerated individuals while also supporting their re-entry to society.

Allen teaches yoga in a homeless shelter and center for recovery, and partners with Bottle Works, Victim Services and Women’s Help Center. She has presented at an international symposium in behavioral health, sexual assault conferences and retreats, and also serves on the board of the Music for Healing and Transition Program.

She currently serves as an adjunct professor at St. Francis University, where she teaches creative movement and West African Dance.

“Rachel takes her talents and literally shares them with everyone,” Rizzo said. “Rachel uses her passion and honesty to address some really difficult issues in our community. I have the utmost respect for her and her work. She exemplifies what the power of art, music and healing can do for an individual and community. She is more than deserving of this award.”

Donoughe, meanwhile, is a founder of the Plein-Air Painters of Western Pennsylvania, which gives him the opportunity to teach artists of all ages and skill levels the techniques of plein-air painting.

Donoughe’s work is displayed in corporate and private collections across western Pennsylvania, including the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Westmoreland Museum of American Art and the University Museum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His work has even traveled abroad, to places like the Slovak Republic and Germany. 

In Germany, Donoughe participated in the Rhineland Industrial Museum as part of the Art in Embassies Program, a partnership that promotes cultural diplomacy through exhibitions, permanent collections, site-specific commissions and two-way artist exchanges in more than 200 U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world.

He has been awarded Carnegie Museum of Art’s 100th Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annual Clara C. Witmer Award, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh’s Purchase Award and Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art’s Best Painting Award.

“I am happy to see him keeping this art alive and taking it to the public eye,” Rizzo said of Donoughe. “Ron’s interest in plein art painting led to the formation of the Plein-Air Painters of Western Pennsylvania. Also, I like his theme when painting: truthful observation. As he and I talked about his work, especially his series of the 90 neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, and his current series, he truly is documenting history and a moment in time of us.

“What I also admire is he didn’t just go into the neighborhoods and paint what he felt might be best. He took time to get to know the people and paint buildings or places that were important or had meaning to them.”

Krizner, the third and final inductee, earned an education degree with minor in art, which resulted in her inspiring artists throughout the community and region realize their artistic potentials. She spent 15 years teaching language arts and art at Our Mother of Sorrows School.

Krizner’s community involvement has resulted in a number of awards throughout the years; in 1994, she was honored with the YWCA Tribute to Women in Education; in 2002, the SAMA Service to the Arts and in 2007, the YWCA Volunteer Award. 

For 30 plus years, she has been a member of the Allied Artists of Johnstown, serving on its board of directors in several capacities, including president, scholarship chairwoman, patron chairwoman and secretary. She also has served on the YWCA Tribute to Women committee for 18 years.

The landscape and still life artist has her work displayed in collections across the United States.

“Marianne is one of the longest members of the Allied Artists,” Rizzo said. “Her involvement and support with them has been crucial to keeping the arts alive in Johnstown. In addition, her years as an educator have made a lasting impact.”

Rizzo said that she’s looking forward to helping to induct these three into the Artists’ Hall of Fame in a few short months.

“It is a wonderful evening of celebrating and supporting the arts,” she said of the upcoming induction ceremony. “If the arts in this region are important to you, you should be there. Each of these individuals have made such an impact on our community and they deserve to be honored.”

Artists’ Hall of Fame sponsorships are available; contact Rizzo at 814-535-2020 or 814-536-5399 for more information.

Ticket information for the Artists’ Hall of Fame are to be made available soon.

Grants push Bottle Works project closer to reality

Our Town Correspondent

Local nonprofit arts center Bottle Works Arts on Third Avenue is not just one, but two steps closer to bringing to life its Artists’ Green Project.

This project is designed to transform two vacant lots adjacent to Bottle Works and the Conemaugh River into an eco-friendly gathering space for artists and art appreciators alike. Bottle Works recently received two grants for this work: a $20,000 grant from National Endowment for the Arts and a $20,000 grant from the Foundation for Pennyslvania Watersheds.

The grant through watersheds group was made available through the GenOn Settlement, and is intended to support the Bottle Works’ efforts to improve water quality and the use of the local natural resources.

Meanwhile, National Endowment for the Arts Chairwoman Jane Chu approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects and partnerships in the organization’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2016.

“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” Chu said. “Supporting projects like the one from Bottle Works offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

Securing these two grants means that Bottle Works staff members have $200,000 allocated for the project, which will create a community space for artistic expression. Public art, exhibits and pop-up performances are envisioned once the project is completed, and scheduled to begin this year or next. Another goal is to incorporate sustainable and innovative green infrastructure to manage storm water.

Bottle Works staff members have said that civic design and the creation of green infrastructure for ecological goals can and should be art.
“Our goal is to make this park for everyone,” Bottle Works Executive Director Angela Rizzo said. 

“We want to integrate the green infrastructure to create a space that can inspire and showcase the future of our community. The Johnstown community desires to reinvent itself and this project shows the potential of the future. We seek to, as artist Ann Hamilton says, ‘Make it difficult to point anywhere in particular and claim, Here is the landscape and there is the art. Throughout the design, we want to use green infrastructure, but also show who we are as an arts organization.”

Rizzo described the park as a “big project.”

“As anyone who has done big projects like this, it is a constant up and down,” she said. “These funds will help us complete phase one of the project, which will make a dramatic visual impact.”

Bottle Works is working with Pittsburgh-based landscape architects Pashek and Associates. Rizzo said that more money needs to be raised, and the firm is working on calculating the rest of the money needed to make Artists’ Green Project a reality.

“We are in the process of completing two surveys that will help us determine if the current design will work with what we have planned,” said Rizzo, who expects the park to open in summer or fall of 2017.

She said that she’s happy that the organization is receiving support and grants to make this project possible.

“We are extremely grateful (for the grants),” Rizzo said. “Their support lends more credibility and excitement to the project. Every little bit helps.”

Festival of the Arts to aid mentoring efforts

Our Town Correspondent

A charity event designed to raise money for Goodwill Good Guides Mentoring Program is scheduled to be held at Bottle Works Arts on Third Avenue June 11 from 1 to 8 p.m.

Festival of the Arts is the brainchild of community members Brenda Davis, Camillya Taylor and Jackie Gunby. Together, they have helped recruit artists and participants such as Tanea Preston, who will star in the event’s adult fashion show.

“I’m all for helping with whatever I can if it involves helping children make better decisions, recognize positive choices and be the best that they can be,” Preston said. 

“At the end of the day, children are our future. I believe it’s important to cater to the youth because there has been so much going on in our communities. I want to be part of people coming together to help make our community better by asking, ‘What can we do to help?’”

Preston described the family-friendly event as one that should not be missed.

“This will be something fun and positive to do,” Preston said. “It’s great for our city and our families, and it’s always fun raising money for a good cause.”

Local photographers and artists are to be on hand to display and discuss their work, and Johnstown’s famous “Hat Ladies” will also be in attendance. Various vendors will offer a selection of items for sale such as books and food.

Vocalists, dancers and drummers are to round out the event’s entertainment. A fashion show featuring children and adults is also to be held, and later, DJ Kim Jenkins is to spin some dance-worthy tunes.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 814-659-0706. Tables of eight are available and should be purchased in advance.

Preston said that “Festival of the Arts” will be a great way to kick off the upcoming summer season.

“We encourage people to come because it’s going to be a great event,” she said, “and it’s all about our youth and the community.”

Bottle Works is located at 411 Third Ave. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood.

Star composer to speak at Bottle Works

Our Town Correspondent

Notre Dame Club of Central PA, in conjunction with Bottle Works Arts on Third Avenue, is to present a Hesburgh Lecture Series event titled “Lessons from Music and the Olympics.”

The free lecture is scheduled for June 8 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Bottle Works building, located on Third Avenue in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood. It is named after the late Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, who served as the 15th president of the University of Notre Dame. 

This spring’s lecture brings to town guest lecturer Dr. Ken Dye, a professor of music at the University of Notre Dame. Dye served as a composer and arranger for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Band, as well as a choreographer for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. He is also responsible for producing nearly 2,000 shows and musicals across the United States and abroad.

Under Dye’s direction, the Notre Dame University band has performed concerts in the Sydney Opera House, Beijing Concert Hall and Carnegie Hall. It has also toured Europe, Asia and Brazil.

“This lecture is a unique opportunity to get an insider’s view of the music and choreography of the Olympics,” said Nancy Ward, coordinator for the Hesburgh Lecture Series for the Notre Dame Club of Central PA. “This lecture topic was chosen because music in itself is very uplifting and speaks a universal language and also because of the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.”

Ward said that, like the late Hesburgh himself, Dye is well-respected among the Notre Dame community.

“Dr. Dye is a legend at Notre Dame and has also served as director of the opening ceremonies of the U.S. Olympic Festival and conductor of the All-American College Band at Disney World,” Ward said. “Also, everyone connected with Notre Dame loves the Notre Dame Band under (his) direction. We are very honored that he is our guest lecturer.”

Dye said that his lecture will highlight “valuable lessons learned from human achievement at the highest level.”

“The Olympics is the largest International gathering of people from all nations and cultures,” Dye said. “Through its history, we have experienced a diverse ‘snapshot’ of human achievement and creativity. (During the lecture), people can reflect on great Olympic events and achievements as memories of their past and guidance for the future.”

Ward encouraged community members to attend the lecture.

“The one-hour lecture is free and open to everyone and is a great chance to get a firsthand update on music and the Olympics,” she said.

Meanwhile, Dye said that he is looking forward to coming to Johnstown.

“I really enjoy traveling to all corners of America to experience the stories and people,” he said.

The University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Lecture Series Program exists to encourage intellectual dialogue between alumni, community members and distinguished Notre Dame faculty by providing meaningful continuing education opportunities.

For more information about the Notre Dame Club of Central PA, contact club President Lonnie Luna drill@atlanticcbb.net or by calling 814-255- 0117. New members are welcome.

Symphony orchestra teams up with Bottle Works

Our Town Correspondent

Bottle Works Arts on Third Avenue and Johnstown Symphony Orchestra are teaming up to celebrate the beginning of summer by offering a wine-tasting event titled Tasting Notes.

The event is scheduled for June 3 from 5 to 9 p.m. and will take place at the Art Works building, located at 413 Third Ave. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood.

Described as a wine-tasting and a wine sales and boutique, the event will benefit both Bottle Works and Johnstown Symphony Orchestra.

“Proceeds will be split evenly between Bottle Works and the symphony,” said Angela Rizzo, Bottle Works executive director. “Working together is smart, and allows both organizations to do more. This event is a win-win for us both.

“Imagine our communities without either of these organizations. Johnstown wouldn’t be as special. Both organizations are small but mighty, and we work hard to make Johnstown a better place to live.”

Participating wineries include B & L Wine Cellar, Germantown Winery, Glades Pike Winery, Glendale Valley Winery and Green Gables. The price of admission includes a souvenir tasting glass.

The craft vendors that are to be on hand throughout the evening are: Riek’s Country Store, Portraits by Marci, Sparkle Jewelry, Wine No More and Jewelry by Alisa Barnhart. Members of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra Auxiliary are also planning to sell purses and scarves.

Cheese and cracker platters will be available, and food vendors RK New York Style Hot Dogs, Green Gables and the Phoenix will offer a unique selection of food items.

Live music will be provided by local musicians Walt Churchey and Jackie Kopco.

“From the wineries to the food, music and art . . . (these are) all local jewels that make Johnstown special,” Rizzo said.

A cornhole contest and basket raffle will round out the evening, and a representative from the American Wine Society will be present to educate about wine. Those who attend Tasting Notes will also have the luxury of walking around the Art Works gallery to enjoy the current display.

Tickets for the event can be purchased in advance at the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra office located inside the Galleria Mall, or at Bottle Works. Tickets can also be purchased online in advance by visiting http://tastingnotes.bpt.me/ and should also be available at the door. For additional information, contact Rizzo at arizzo@bottleworks.org or call 814-535-2020.

All ticketholders must be 21 or older.

“(This will be) a fun time for people to catch up and socialize,” Rizzo said. “If someone hasn’t been to Bottle Works before, come see what you are missing!”

Quilt show coming to Cambria City businesses

Our Town Correspondent

Bottle Works Arts on Third Avenue in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood is to debut its latest exhibit, “Cambria City Airing of the Quilts,” on April 29.

This exhibit is unique in that the display won’t be contained only within the Bottle Works building; quilts will also be displayed in the windows of businesses throughout Cambria City’s cultural district. Some of the businesses participating include B&L Wine Cellars, Phoenix Tavern and Cambria Veterinary Care, all of which are within close proximity to Bottle Works.

“I had someone say to me that there aren’t that many businesses in Cambria City to hang quilts, but when you start looking around, it’s perfect and more than you expect,” Bottle Works Executive Director Angela Rizzo said. “Hopefully this will help people discover some new places in the neighborhood.

“We have a great neighborhood here comprised of wonderful people and places. The more we can all promote and support each other, the better.”

More than 50 quilts of all different shapes and sizes are part of the exhibit, and they have been created by approximately 37 quilters of all ages and experience levels.

“Bottle Works sees the importance of making the arts accessible to all,” Rizzo said. “The younger quilters and new quilters are our future; we need to show them support and encourage them to keep creating.”

The idea for “Cambria City Airing of the Quilts” was brought to Rizzo by two local quilters, one of whom attended Tunkhannock’s “Airing of the Quilts” and appreciated the concept. She felt it necessary to bring the idea for the show back to Johnstown and give local quilters the recognition they deserve for keeping alive one of the true American folk arts.

“The ‘Tunkhannock Airing of the Quilts’ has since changed as the founder is no longer involved,” Rizzo said. “However, the Bottle Works, with these two local quilters’ help, hope to start a Johnstown tradition.

“Quilting in this area is huge and there is true growth potential with this show. Not only does this fit into our missions, but it also helps bring awareness to other businesses. A map with locations will be created once all the quilts are hung.”

Rizzo, who described the art of making quilts as “time-consuming and a labor of love,” invited community members to an opening reception scheduled for April 30 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Bottle Works.

“The opening reception is a great opportunity to meet fellow quilters,” she said, “and there will be light refreshments and maps at our facilities showing where each quilt is displayed.”

The exhibition is to continue through May 8.

“I am excited to see all the different styles and colors,” Rizzo said. “I am always amazed by the talent and stories behind each piece.”