Tag Archives: Bottle Works

Resident artists’ work exhibited at Bottle Works

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Bottle Works Arts on Third’s nine resident artists will have their work on display in the Bottle Works galleries through Feb. 25.
The exhibit, dubbed “Studio Works,” opened to the public Jan. 27.

“This is an opportunity for us to showcase and share with the community the talent of our resident artists who are here quietly creating all year long while exhibits, events and classes go on around them,” said Laura Argenbright, Bottle Works’ newly appointed executive director. “It is also a chance for the public to discover and support the arts movement that is thriving in Cambria City.”

Bottle Works’ resident artists, all of whom have studios either in the Bottle Works building or the neighboring Art Works building, are Josh Ensley, Marcene Glover, Jaime Helbig, Brandon Hirt, Holly Lees, Joanne Mekis, Todd Stiffler, Christopher Tower and Laura Williamson.

Argenbright said this exhibit is as unique as the artists themselves.

Submitted photo
Marcene Glover — a former congressional portrait artist and courtroom artist who is active with national arts advocacy organizations — is having her art displayed at Bottle Works.

“Each artist brings his or her own style and statement to this exhibit,” Argenbright said. “I think that people will delight in the diversity of this exhibit, realizing how each of our artists brings his or her own perspective to the collective show. Together, they form an impressive collaboration of work ranging from impasto brushstrokes of realism to dynamic contemporary expressions.”

Ensley said that his artwork is inspired by “the way (his) art impacts people and the way that they interact with the finished piece.”

“My job as an artist is to fill the world with more virtuosity,” Ensley said. “I work in a lot of different styles using a wide variety of materials. Each new medium, motif or material sharpens both my critical thinking and physical skills so that my work improves across the board with each new project.”

Glover enjoys painting subtleties that hint at subject matter, coax viewers to define the details and inspire viewers to engage in the conversation with the painting. Glover is a former congressional portrait artist and courtroom artist who is active with national arts advocacy organizations, commuting weekly to New York City to exhibit her work and help curate shows.

Helbig, an oil painter, has honed her skills as a contemporary figurative painter. Her latest work features a series of local cityscapes. 

Helbig has a bachelor’s in art education and a master’s in painting and drawing. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College.

Hirt, a photographer, described his art by saying: “My photography is a box of chocolates that is full of variety image-making. My sweet tooth really is long exposure photography. Using these techniques, I am able to create luminous landscapes that reveal a peacefulness or chaos to a scene.”

Lees, also a photographer, recently became an art and mindfulness teacher. She is particularly interested in the role of art as a tool for self-discovery and acceptance. Her portraits share stories of individuals and communities around the world.

Award-winning graphic designer Mekis has created logos and symbols for a wide variety of clients around the country. She also enjoys acrylic painting, plus teaching art and art history to both children and adults.

Stiffler’s mixed media work is created from action figures and collaged comic book images. He aims to attract viewers’ attention through vivid shapes and patterns.

Tower also uses patterns in his work; the artist creates a wide-ranging color combination of marker and black pen outlines on paper. In his patterns, described as “caveman meets comic book,” he strives to create art that is “crazy, cool and fun.”

Submitted photo
Chris Tower is shown above at a former Bottle Works exhibit. The artist Tower uses patterns in his work to create wide-ranging color combination of marker and black pen outlines on paper. 

Williamson is a piano teacher who opened her Bottle Works studio, “Piano for Pleasure,” to the public in 2014. She teaches recreational piano classes to adults of all ages and abilities. Her career as a music-teaching artist includes solo and collaborative piano performing, editorial consulting, mentoring, and teaching private and group lessons.

Argenbright said that each resident artist is, in his or her own unique way, making a positive impact on the community.

“Each artist feels passionately about his/her work and projects it through teaching, community/public art projects such as the Pillar Project and exhibiting,” Argenbright said.

In celebration of the exhibit, Bottle Works will host an “Art Bites” luncheon Feb. 11 beginning at noon. The luncheon is to give attendees an opportunity to meet and talk to the artists, as well as participate in a panel discussion.

Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue is located at 411 Third Ave. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood. For more information about the exhibit or the upcoming “Art Bites” luncheon, visit www.bottleworks.org online or call a staff member at 814-535-2020 or 814-536-5399.

Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Argenbright said she’s thrilled about this exhibit, and viewers might even walk away from it with a unique gift for someone special.

“The artistic aptitude that is evident in this show is a testament to the talent Bottle Works fosters here in Johnstown,” Argenbright said. “The majority of the pieces in this exhibit will be for sale, and it does lend itself to a very meaningful, locally crafted gift for Valenitne’s Day or any special occasion.”

Bottle Works to host ‘Christmas in July’

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Local artisans want to help members of the community find the perfect gifts for their loved ones when Bottle Works’ “Christmas in July” takes place July 29.

“Christmas in July,” which is free and open to the public, will allow shoppers a chance to meet with artists to discuss custom commissions that will be ready by Christmas. This allows shoppers to prepare to gift unique, individualized art — and the artists plenty of time to make the pieces.

“One of our artists thought of the idea and as I talked to more artists, they really liked it,” Bottle Works Executive Director Angela Rizzo said. “What happens is, so many times they are asked to do custom pieces too close to the holidays. This is the perfect opportunity for people to see their options and start talking to the artist about the possibilities.”

“Christmas in July” is scheduled to take place from 4 to 9 p.m. that evening and, along with the chance to meet artists working in a variety of mediums, will feature artist demonstrations, open artist studios and an opportunity to browse through the Gallery Shoppe, an open-year-round shoppe inside the Art Works building that houses an inventory of work by local and regional artists.

Rizzo said that more than 20 artists are participating in the event. Some of those artists include woodworker John Sinosky, jewelry maker Alisa Barnhart, fiber artist Bonnie Samms-Overly and quilter Jean Sobecky. Chris Summits will also offer custom cornhole sets.

“The inspirational rag quilts that I do as special orders enables me to meet the needs of my customers on an extremely personal level,” Jean Sobecky said. “Whether it’s a quilt of celebration (wedding, anniversary, graduation or birth) or a quilt done as a memorial to a loved one, I’m able to embroider within the quilt messages, memories, dates and Scriptures that are important to that particular customer.

“I thoroughly enjoy working one-on-one with my customers to capture the essence of the person that they want to give a gift of a legacy quilt to.”

Sobecky’s daughter, Alexis, is also participating in the event. She plans to sell her wine cork art, custom portraits and artwork.

“This event is such an opportunity in so many facets; I am able to both showcase my talent and simultaneously give others the chance to capture a little piece of their loved ones in a gift of portraiture,” Alexis Sobecky said. “My drawings of both two- and four-legged family members reveal individual personality, and that is such a precious gift that I am able to help give. Having my work spread through a local community makes the whole occasion even more special.”

Rizzo said that the number of talented artists participating is bound to help make this inaugural event a success.

“We have many talented artists, from fine art painters, stone carvers to quilters,” she said. “There is literally something for everyone, and the possibilities for gifts are endless. We will have quite the selection of different mediums represented.”

Artisan markets that Bottle Works has hosted in the past always took place around the holidays, and while Christmas shopping might not be on everyone’s mind, Rizzo said that this will be a fun way to at least get some ideas, or find a gift for a hard-to-buy-for person.

“Obviously, it’s a little early to start shopping for Christmas, but it’s fun to think about really early-bird shopping,” Rizzo said. 

“The artists are so creative and have a lot of unique pieces. Giving someone something handmade just has more meaning behind it. People should really look forward to interacting with the artists; it will be a fun night to enjoy the arts, whether you are shopping for yourself or someone else.”

Artists will have items for sale that shoppers can buy that evening, but Rizzo and her staff have also encouraged artists to demo or bring their portfolio showing people the possibilities for custom pieces.

“This all goes back to the whole ‘shop local’ concept,” Rizzo said. “When you support an artist at the event, you are supporting a local person and family. 

“In addition, a small percentage comes back to Bottle Works, so you are also supporting a community organization. You are shopping for a great cause! Knowing the artist and hearing the stories behind the pieces make them so much more special than any mass-produced item.”

During the event, local wine producers B&L Winery will give tastings and have bottles of wine available for sale.

Bottle Works is located at 411 Third Ave. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood. For more information, visit www.bottleworks.org online or call a staff member at 814-535-2020 or 814-536-5399.

Marc Brown, of Arthur fame, to attend kid’s book festival

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

The Learning Lamp is to host the eighth annual Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown at Bottle Works Arts on Third Avenue in Cambria City from April 8-10.

“Bottle Works provides an exciting venue for kids to experience the literary and visual arts,” Bottle Works Executive Director Angela Rizzo said. “All around them at the Bottle Works is creativity, inspiration and energy. It’s a fun environment. If you have children, this is an event you do not want to miss.”

One of this year’s highlights will be readings and book signings by award-winning author and illustrator Marc Brown. Brown created the popular children’s book and PBS television series “Arthur,” which debuted in 1996 and is still on air.

Ingrid Kloss, The Learning Lamp’s director of development, said that she and her co-workers celebrated when they found out that Brown was interested in coming to Johnstown.

“I was on the author search and somehow ended up on the Edinboro University website and saw that it was his alma mater and he was speaking there on April 7,” Kloss said. “So I took the chance and contacted him directly and asked if he’d make the three-hour journey to Johnstown. He replied the next day and said yes! We all high-fived in the office. He is definitely one of the biggest names we’ve had, and his participation has really heightened the interest this year in our festival.”

In addition to Brown, authors Melinda Falgoust and Will Hillenbrand are also scheduled to participate.

“Melinda is from New Orleans and came up for the festival last year just to check us out and even sent us four huge boxes of books for our used book sale,” Kloss said. “We loved her energy and are having her back to present her interactive children’s story about hating what’s for dinner, called ‘Lousy Liver.’ Will Hillenbrand is this year’s PA One Book author, so he’s on a whirlwind tour across Pennsylvania to read the book ‘Kite Day’ to kids at schools, preschools, Head Start and in libraries.”

Kloss and her co-workers strive to make the Children’s Book Festival appealing year after year.

“We have something for everyone and try to appeal to all interests, ages, genders and show that reading is the common point of interest,” she said.

Rizzo said that she and her team have also strived to make the festival as successful as possible.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize how fortunate we are for our children and families to have this opportunity in our community and it is free to boot,” Rizzo said. “With that said, I have adjusted our space and schedule so we can complement the festival better. This year, we are hosting a pop-up illustrator exhibit that will include the work of children’s illustrators from Pittsburgh to Johnstown. This will add another exciting dimension to the festival and all the illustrations from originals to prints will be for sale.”

Each day of the festival, families and children can expect a new and used book sale, bookmark contest voting, face painting, local author meet-and-greet tables, craft tables and book giveaways.

“We try to reach everyone, which is certainly mission central at The Learning Lamp, where we’re always trying to make education accessible for all children and their families,” Kloss said. “While some of the authors are for younger audiences, the other activities will hopefully entertain that older sibling who gets ‘dragged along!’”

Rizzo said that the festival allows Bottle Works to uphold its mission as well.

“We see a lot of familiar faces over the three days, but also a lot of new faces,” Rizzo said. “Bottle Works is here for the community and this festival allows us to do that.”

This year, events kick off the evening of April 8 beginning at 6 p.m. Falgoust will read “Lousy Liver,” and children will have the opportunity to read to the dogs involved in the program “Tales with Tails.”

“Tales with Tails” provides a safe, relaxed atmosphere for children to practice reading aloud to dogs.

“Dogs are non-judgmental and provide a calm environment for new readers or readers with difficulties,” Kloss said. “The dogs are all certified Good Citizens and therapy animals and regularly appear for story time at the Cambria County Library and Highland Community Library in Richland.”

The fun is to continue the morning of April 9 beginning at 10 a.m. Brown will offer a presentation and book signing, and storyteller Tim Hartman and puppeteer Adam Schwartz will perform both in the morning and afternoon. That afternoon beginning at 1 p.m., children in grades three through five will be invited to participate in a story-writing workshop with Doug Rosensteel. Brown is also give a second presentation and offer another book signing.

New this year is Saturday Night Author Talk, a special event that will take place the evening of April 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. Authors Hillenbrand and Brown, as well as children’s book editor Karen Boss, will participate in a panel discussion designed to inspire children’s book authors and illustrators.

Brown is to share the details of his journey to becoming an award-winning author/illustrator in a keynote address titled “The Aardvark Was My Warm-Up Act.”

“Marc Brown will talk about how the aardvark, Arthur, was just the beginning for him, as he’s now focusing exclusively on illustration,” Kloss said. “Will Hillenbrand is both an author and illustrator as well, and Karen Boss is coming in from Boston to represent the agent side of book publishing and offer advice to those who are looking to publish via that route.

“We’ve partnered with the Western PA chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, who were very interested in us presenting something more geared towards the creators of the children’s literature. (They) were very helpful in guiding us and in promoting the festival to their members at their annual conference. In addition, many . . . authors will be at the festival with their books at author tables in the ArtWorks building. We have 14 authors attending, and more than half are from SCBWI.”

Doors for the Saturday Night Author Talk are scheduled to open at 5:15 p.m. There will be time for questions and book signings after the formal presentations. Proceeds from the Author Talk, which is sponsored by The Learning Lamp, Bottle Works, PA Council on the Arts and Grable Foundation in collaboration with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Western PA Region, will help to offset costs of the festival.

Tickets are required for this event, and can be purchased at cbfsaturdaynightauthortalk.eventbrite.com.

Also new this year is additional food and snack options; on April 9 and April 10, Tiki’s Tacos and RK Hot Dogs food trucks will be parked outside along Third Avenue.

“We’ve applied to the city for a permit to close down Third Avenue for the weekend, first, to make it safer for children to be outside, and second, to allow for the food trucks,” Kloss said. “Adding the food trucks allows us to focus on the event and the children, while also bringing in some tasty treats that we’re not capable of producing ourselves, though The Learning Lamp does own a hot dog cart, popcorn machine and cotton candy machine . . . we like toys!”

The last day of the festival is to begin at noon April 10. Hillenbrand is to offer two presentations and book signings, and Schwartz will return to perform two puppet shows. Children can also enjoy more reading to the dogs involved in “Tales with Tails” and listen to Falgoust read her book.

“This is the perfect collaboration between arts and education,” Rizzo said. “I know I have learned to appreciate the work of the authors and illustrators from working on this project.”
Events are to conclude at 4 p.m. April 10.

Every child who attends the festival is to leave with one free book.

“Research shows that children who are read to, who hear language from birth, are better suited to begin school,” Kloss said. “The number of words a child knows when she enters kindergarten is a definite predictor of success. Likewise, children who read early are much better students. Studies also show that students who read at home do better in school, so having a home library is vital. That’s why, in addition to the book giveaway, we also host a used book sale at the festival where families can purchase used books inexpensively. Books A Million also partners with us and will sell new books by the featured authors plus other popular books for ages birth through 15.

“We want books to seem exciting and interesting to kids rather than a chore. Some kids hate being told to read and we want to help to change that. We give away free books from First Book, and I love it when a little kid will say, ‘I hate reading,’ and I’ll ask, ‘Oh yeah, well do you hate Spiderman? Or Clementine?’ and usually they change their minds pretty fast.”

For more information, call The Learning Lamp at 814-262-0732 or visit thelearninglamp.org.

Hours for the festival are scheduled as follows: April 8 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.; April 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and April 10 from noon to 4 p.m.

Rusted Root founder to hold drum workshop

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Jim Donovan, an award-winning educator and a founding member of the multi-platinum-selling band Rusted Root, will offer a world drumming workshop March 5 at Bottle Works.

The workshop is to give participants an opportunity to play a variety of world drumming rhythms and songs, express their creativity and improve their well-being.

“Getting the hands moving and getting in a rhythm helps people reduce anxiety and stress,” Donovan said. “People love the act of creating, especially if they haven’t done it before. A lot of people think that they can’t, and what I specialize in is the fact that they can, and it’s not all that hard.”

Donovan described his upcoming workshop as an interactive, beginner-friendly event.

“The big thing is that we just relax and have as much fun as we possibly can,” he said. “It’s a very pressure-free environment. The only rule of the workshop is that if you make a mistake, just smile and keep going. There’s no pressure from me, so I tell them not to put any pressure on themselves.”

Donovan provides a large selection of authentic African hand drums called djembes for participants to use. During the workshop, he’ll also focus on teaching some traditional African music.

“I want to share things I learned from my teachers, who have come from all different parts of Africa,” he said.

Donovan currently serves as assistant professor and chairman of fine arts at St. Francis University. In addition, he is an author and inspirational trainer with more than 25 years of leadership, teaching and performance experience.

While a member of Rusted Root, Donovan co-wrote and performed “Send Me on My Way,” a hit that was featured in the popular films “Matilda” and “Ice Age.” He has shared the stage with Carlos Santana, members of Led Zeppelin and Sting.

“There’s a big difference, for me, between teaching and performing,” he said. “I love both of them. As a performer, I’ve played in front of some huge, huge crowds. The energy is incredible. And I’ve always had this desire to bring people up on stage. So, for me, teaching and facilitating like this kind of scratches that itch.”

“What I’ve learned is that by and large, people are good. We want the same things: We want to feel loved, respected, connected . . . and we want authenticity. We want to be moved. With that recognition, I’m always aiming to provide some sort of movement forward.”

“In the drumming circle, I don’t know who you are outside of the circle. I don’t know what you believe in, who you’re going to vote for, how much money you make . . . but none of that is important. We leave that stuff at the door, and we find that we’re all pretty much the same, and that makes me hopeful.”

Donovan said that one of his favorite parts about offering drumming workshops is how strangers come together to make music and sometimes leave as friends.

“All of a sudden, there is a common bond between people that comes about because they did something together, even though they don’t know each other that well,” he said. “They go from strangers to being a team that says, ‘Oh, wow, we made music together.’”

Donovan’s workshop will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. There is a fee to participate, and advance registration is strongly recommended. The workshop is suitable for anyone older than the age of 16. No drumming experience is necessary.

For more information about the event, call a Bottle Works staff member at 814-535-2020 or 814-536-5399. More information about Donovan and his workshops can be found on his official website, www.JimDonovanDrums.com. Tickets for the drumming workshop can also be purchased via Donovan’s website.

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

‘Iron-wood Artifacts’ going on display

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Two new exhibits will be unveiled Jan. 21 at Bottle Works.

Joe Hensel’s “Iron-wood Artifacts” will give viewers an opportunity to admire sculptures, furniture pieces and architectural accessories with an industrial flare, while “Marcellus Shale Documentary Project” reveals the impact that Marcellus Shale gas drilling has had on the state of Pennsylvania.

Hensel, a self-taught outside assemblage artist, has an interest in the steel and mining industry and uses that interest to create industrial artifacts. The basis for the majority of his works are the original wood patterns used to mold metal machine castings at Cambria Iron Works, later known as Bethlehem Steel Corp. His materials are glued, screwed and welded, but rarely cut or compromised.

“Aside from re-finishing with the original clear shellac and a few screw holes, it is the same piece foundry men used to cast it into an iron, steel or brass machine parts years ago,” Hensel said. “If it lasted 50 or 100 years, it should remain intact and still serve a new purpose.”

The second exhibit will be on display inside the Bottle Works building. Since 2012, six photographers have traveled across the state with their cameras in hand, determined to capture how Marcellus Shale drilling has affected communities and the people living and working in them.

These photographers — Noah Addis, Nina Berman, Brian Cohen, Laura Domencic, Scott Goldsmith, Lynn Johnson and Martha Rial — met families and listened to and recorded their stories. Some of these families are for the drilling; others remain against it.

The exhibit features 60 photographs and is accompanied by a book containing additional images, essays and graphics. A website, www.the-msdp.us, is also available to view.

A gallery opening for both exhibits is scheduled for Jan. 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Bottle Works members can attend the opening for free, while the general public will be asked to make a nominal donation at the door. The artists will be present during the opening. For more information about these exhibits, visit www.bottleworks.org or call 814-536-5399 or 814-535-2020.

Both exhibits will be on display through March 5.

Bottle Works hosting classical guitar talent

Submitted photo
Submitted photo

BY KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

American classical guitarist Benjamin Beirs will share his talents not once, but twice, when he visits Johnstown this weekend.

Beirs is the featured guest at “A Taste of Paris” scheduled for Oct. 23 at Bottle Works in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood. The following evening he will present a full recital at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Johnstown as part of the Johnstown Concert Series.

Bottle Works Arts on Third and Johnstown Concert Series are co-sponsoring these intimate evenings with the guitarist, who currently resides in Paris.

“We were fortunate to be able to book him for two performances in Johnstown during his October tour in the Eastern U.S.,” Johnstown Concert Series board member Bill Brice said.

Brice described the “Taste of Paris” event as an “intimate, informal evening” with a French theme.

“We will be serving French-style pastries and refreshments, and Ben will be playing guitar music by French composers,” Brice said. “Because the Black Box Theater at Bottle Works is a smaller venue, the audience will be able to meet and converse with Mr. Beirs in an informal setting with cocktail seating.”

The following evening’s concert will feature a slightly different vibe.

“Ben’s program on Saturday night will feature over 300 years of guitar music, representing multiple composers and nationalities,” Brice said. “The audience can expect to be ‘wowed.’

“(These) will be essentially two different events with the same performer, and both will be an experience to savor.”

Beirs is a soloist, composer and chamber musician who was educated at Peabody Conservatory. His musical talent has won him awards such as first place at the National Guitar Workshop Competition, first place at the Appalachian Guitarfest Competition and first place at the UT Dallas Competition. His albums include “Widening Circles” and “Fluidity,” both of which garnered praise from fans and critics alike.

“He certainly knows how to get the most from his instrument, and he is comfortable playing a wide range of musical styles,” Brice said. “Ben is the incarnation of the 21st century musician who teaches, composes, does concerts, records and produces videos. He is comfortable performing with chamber orchestras, as well as a soloist in venues both large and small.

“I think he will enjoy performing for a very friendly, welcoming and appreciative Johnstown audience. Also he will be impressed, as all of our performers are, with the quality of the performance spaces. The Johnstown Concert Series is so fortunate to hold our regular concerts at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Johnstown, where the acoustics are just perfect for the smaller musical groups and soloists that we bring for our series.”

Beirs describes music as a “great kindness,” and has performed at schools, nursing homes, churches and night clubs. Residing in Paris has allowed him to continue performing at a variety of venues and studying with French guitarist and pedagogue Judicael Perroy.

Brice said that members of Bottle Works and Johnstown Concert Series are excited to work together to make these evenings possible.

“For most of the arts-related organizations in the area, the goals are similar — to provide the people of Johnstown with quality programs that would not be expected in a region of our size, Pittsburgh certainly, but not here. By working with other groups, we can reach a broader audience and let them know how the Johnstown Concert Series lives up to its motto, ‘Bringing world-class musicians to Johnstown.’ We hope that someone who is attracted by the novelty of the ‘Taste of Paris’ event and comes on Friday will decide to attend the Saturday program as well, and begin attending concerts on a regular basis. The reverse is also true; perhaps members of the regular Johnstown Concert Series audience will see the quality of art and programming at the Bottle Works on Friday night and decide to come back for a longer visit,” Brice said.

“And as for collaborating many of the refreshments for ‘A Taste of Paris’ will be created by students in the culinary arts program at the Greater Johnstown Career & Technology Center. This collaboration gives them the opportunity to work on items well beyond the usual fare, and they, in turn, provide our audience with well-prepared, unusual and delicious treats.”

There is an admission fee for both “A Taste of Paris” and the recital. Visit www.bottleworks.org and www.johnstownmusic.org for additional details. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.

“We hope people will come out for the Friday event, for it is certainly shaping up to be a memorable evening,” Brice said. “We’re confident that once people hear Ben play on Friday, they will be so impressed they’ll want to come back and hear more from him on Saturday night.”

Bottle Works sponsors festival bus trip

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

In an effort to give locals an opportunity to attend one of State College’s most well-received arts festivals, Bottle Works Arts on Third is sponsoring a bus trip to Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts on July 10.

Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts beckons approximately 125,000 people to downtown State College and Penn State’s University Park campus. The festival features sidewalk sales, live musical performances, Italian street painting and other activities for people of all ages.

The festival’s famous Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition features work from artists across the nation. Items for sale include baskets, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, painting, photography and wearable art, according to the festival’s official website at www.arts-festival.com.

Friday’s musical lineup includes Americana band Chris Rattie and the Brush Valley Rumblers, bluegrass band Mama Corn, the jazz-rock band Archie Blue and more.

Given the festival’s popularity, Bottle Works sponsored a bus trip to the festival last year.

“The Central PA Festival of the Arts was one of our most successful bus trips,” Bottle Works Executive Director Angela Rizzo said. “It was the first bus trip that Bottle Works ever did and we received great feedback, so I think it’s going to be an annual bus trip.

“A lot of people are interested because they enjoy the festival, but parking there is difficult. This is a great way to enjoy (the festival) without driving there and parking.”

Rizzo said that those who do attend can enjoy the festival at their own leisure and pace.

“This is one of those festivals where people can be dropped off and do and see exactly what they want,” she said. “There’s great food, music and art throughout. Attendees can also enjoy downtown State College and Penn State. It’s a really nice festival atmosphere and there’s something in it for everybody.”

Rizzo invited community members to join Bottle Works on their upcoming excursion.

“This is a great way to get out there and experience and support the arts,” she said.

Bottle Works to host folk artist

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Folk artist Christopher Mark Jones will be performing with his band inside the Bottle Works building June 13 beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Jones, an Oregon native, has shared his music with audiences in various venues around the world, including festivals in Bristol, clubs in Boston and on radio stations in London.

“Jones is currently based out of Pittsburgh,” Bottle Works Executive Director Angela Rizzo said. “He was looking for an intimate place to perform and we thought Bottle Works would be a good fit. I think his folk-blues mix will be well received, and we’re fortunate to have him come and do a gig here in Johnstown.”

Jones has been touring and recording since the 1970s. 

His first album, “No More Range to Roam,” was released in 1978. It was followed by 2010’s “Heartland Variations,” 2012’s “Suburban Two-Step” and 2014’s “Atlantica.”

Christopher Mark Jones and the Roots Ensemble will be accompanied by Vince Camut on guitar, Mark Perna on bass and Mark Weakland on drums. Jones will also be joined by special guest and local musician Jennifer Drummey.

Tickets for the concert can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 814-536-5399. More information about Jones can be found on his official website at christophermarkjones.com.

“I encourage people to come to the show because someone recently told me that ‘there is no art without an audience,’” Rizzo said. “We all need to remember that our musicians and artists are doing great things and we need to support them.”

Korn’s inspires art exhibit

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

When artist and photographer Celia Pearson was invited to Korn’s Galvanizing in Johnstown in July of 2013, the visit inspired her to tell a story about an artist touched by “the vital energy inside a century-old industrial workplace and the presence of beauty in unexpected places.”

Pearson’s exhibit, “Molten Beauty,” opens May 15 with a public reception from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Bottle Works in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood.

“This is going to be one of our most impressive exhibits and a wonderful showcase of our region’s industrial heritage and the energy of our people,” Bottle Works Executive Director Angela Rizzo said.

The exhibit, which features traditional prints with photo montages and large-scale works on silk hanging freely in space, is dedicated to the memory of Korn’s Galvanizing’s longtime owner and Johnstown native, John E. “Jack” Sheehan. It is also meant to celebrate Sheehan’s legacy of public service and business leadership.

Sheehan took on many roles throughout his life: businessman, Fortune 500 executive, entrepreneur, Navy fighter pilot and a governor of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C., just to name a few. Despite his busy schedule, he never forgot about his hometown. Pearson strived to make his grit, perseverance and vision noticeable within the exhibit.

“When Celia approached us about her desire to turn her experience into large-scale artwork and an exhibit, we were inspired to support this effort,” said Kathleen Ortel, Sheehan’s daughter and president Korn’s Galvanizing. 

“Impressed with the obvious high quality of this artist’s work, we saw that it would make a dynamic and imaginative statement about a larger story of the important heritage of metal working in the Johnstown community, and the vital contribution of manufacturing in America, now resurgent after years of decline.”

Pearson, whose work been widely exhibited and is also in corporate, private, and museum collections, said she was inspired as soon as the first day of her visit to Korn’s Galvanizing.

“In those raw and cavernous buildings, I experienced such vitality that first day, electrifying as though I were inside one giant spark,” Pearson said. “My photographer’s eye was mesmerized by the beauty and visual patterns of molten zinc-covered objects being raised from the kettles and by the 125-year-old architecture. I was transported by the energy of men intent upon their work, requiring both brains and muscle; by the intensity of the presence of 840-degree molten zinc; by the sounds of constant activity — the clanking of metal, fork lift motors and buzzers, trucks arriving and departing.”

Pearson, who served as the photographer for the book “Pure Sea Glass,” returned to those “raw and cavernous buildings” repeatedly in order to create the exhibit that will now be accessible to the public through July 11. In addition to the opening reception, Pearson will offer a gallery talk May 30 beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Improvements coming to Bottle Works Arts on Third

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Thanks to generous local and state funding, Bottle Works Arts on Third in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood will be receiving a few notable upgrades in 2015.

Since their inception, Bottle Works and Art Works operated as two separate facilities: two different budgets, two different board of directors and two different executive directors.

Nearly a year ago, the decision was made to merge both buildings and name the organization Bottle Works Arts on Third. The Community Foundation of the Alleghenies supported the merger by providing partial funding for one full-­time executive director. The non­profit also provided $40,000 specifically to make capital improvements for long­-term sustainability and increased revenue.

“As the new executive director, (the foundation’s) support is huge,” said Angela Rizzo. “It really allowed me to come in and take a hard look at what was working and what wasn’t working, but also identify our biggest growth opportunities and how to capitalize on those areas.”

After she was appointed executive director of Bottle Works Arts on Third, Rizzo spent a few months in the passenger’s seat in order to observe how things worked before stepping behind the wheel. One problem that Rizzo noticed was the lack of space, which was a good thing in that it indicated that artists were using the resources made available to them.

“It is a great problem to have,” she said. “All our studios are currently full at the Art Works building.”

To make room for additional artists who may be interested in renting studios through Bottle Works, the organization will be updating and cleaning some of the studio spaces on the second floor of the Bottle Works building. Funds from the Community Foundation of the Alleghenies will also allow Bottle Works to build two more studios inside the Art Works building.

Since Bottle Works Arts on Third offers an array of classes for children and adults — including cooking classes — additional funding from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies will be used to make improvements to the kitchen. This, Rizzo said, will lead to more cooking classes and special event use.

Improvements to the Gallery Shoppe inside the Art Works building are also scheduled to take place this year. The Gallery Shoppe features work such as jewelry, pottery and photographs from more than 40 local and regional artists.

“A healthy arts community is an asset that people look for when deciding where to live and work,” said Mike Kane, Community Foundation of the Alleghenies president and executive director. “The Community Foundation appreciated the thoughtful plan for growth that the boards of directors of Bottle Works and Art Works developed. We look at this as not just strengthening one organization, but really as community development.”

Rizzo agreed, noting that all of these changes will give Bottle Works Arts on Third a facelift that will generate not only more revenue, but also more interest in the organization and the community in which it is headquartered.

“We are getting more and more interest in studios, special event rentals and programming in general,” she said. “These updates will allow us to continue to grow and become more efficient. I am extremely grateful for their support.”

Additionally, the Department of Environmental Protection provided Bottle Works Arts on Third $212,500 to develop a green roof atop the Art Works building. Bidding and the design process are underway, and construction is expected to begin this spring.

“The green roof will add so much to our building (by providing) another venue for classes, receptions and concerts,” Rizzo said. “Once the design process begins, we will have a better idea of where we stand in terms of budget and if additional funds are needed.”

In 2014, the organization acquired two vacant lots across the street along Third Avenue. The goal is to make the lots multi­-functional: They are to not only serve as additional parking spaces, but as a place for outdoor performances and educational programs.

A $100,000 grant from Commonwealth Financing Authority’s Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program will help this project begin within the next few months.

“The vacant parking lot is a big asset to Cambria City as a whole,” Rizzo said. “It gets a lot of use, and not just from Bottle Works. It would just make such a difference to come around the turn on Power Street and see a dramatic green space.”