Tag Archives: Community Arts Center of Cambria County

Glassmaking studio opens in Westmont

Submitted photo
Angela Godin, executive director of the Community Arts Center of Cambria County, poses for a check-passing photo with Community Foundation for the Alleghenies Executive Director Mike Kane.

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Staff members at Community Arts Center of Cambria County recently unveiled the nonprofit’s Glass Fusion Studio.

“We are the only studio in this area offering something like this,” said Angela Godin, executive director of the arts center. “It is very exciting and special to us as an organization to offer a fully functional Glass Fusion Studio. The closest one is located outside of Pittsburgh.”

The arts center’s former darkroom was converted into the new Glass Fusion Studio.

“It was the perfect scenario,” Godin said. “It created a space for the new glass fusion kiln, along with all of the materials. This permitted them to be kept separate from the other divisions of our glass department, such as the stained glass and mosaic items. 

“The room is a practical and functional space that was formerly used for storage.”

The arts center has already hosted a handful of glass fusion workshops, giving people who are interested in glassmaking opportunities to make items such as tiles, trivets, ornaments, bowls and jewelry.

“Our first round of workshops was completely full and even had waiting lists,” Godin said. “Individuals have called with interest when our next workshops will be offered. 

“It is very exciting to see all our hard work to make this dream become a reality come into being. We hope to continue offering more workshops and classes to accommodate everyone interested.”

Godin added that, when it comes to glass fusion, workshop opportunities seem endless.

“There is such a large realm of diversity that can be created in glass fusion,” she said. “We are only scratching the surface of what we will eventually be able to offer. Through the process of glass fusing, you can make great tiles, trivets, bowls, light shades, jewelry, ornaments, miscellaneous 3-D works of art and more.
 
“To start, we are focusing on tiles trivets, jewelry and ornament projects. The creative process allows for new opportunities and expansion on our curriculum constantly.”

Instructors for the arts center’s education department have been offering stained glass and mosaic classes for a number of years, and the addition of the Glass Fusion Studio allows for a permanent home for these already established areas, not to mention the creation of a complete Glass Studio Division.

“I am excited beyond words to be a part of this new endeavor,” said Lida Hood, education director for the arts center. “I truly believe this will take our class offerings to a new level.”

Hood is in the process of developing a multi-level curriculum of glass fusion techniques and skill building. Glass art is to be created during workshops or six-week length classes, while specialization on projects and techniques are to be centralized in one-day workshops. Children’s classes and camps are also be offered.

Godin said the studio wouldn’t be complete without the purchase of a new glass kiln and all of the necessary “start-up” supplies the arts center needed. The kiln and supplies were provided by the Robert Waters Economic Development Fund of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies as part of a 2016 fall grant.

The Community Foundation and its donors supported 63 organizations throughout Bedford, Cambria, Indiana, and Somerset counties through that grant, and Community Arts Center received $3,200.

“The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies is proud to support the Community Arts Center of Cambria County through this grant,” said Angie Berzonski, program and communications officer for Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. “In reviewing this project, our Distribution Committee appreciated their efforts to integrate new arts technology and was excited about the opportunities that the glass kiln will provide.”

Godin said she and her staff are thrilled with the possibilities that come with the opening of the new studio.

“We are privileged to be one of the 63 organizations to have received funds,” Godin said. “Our entire staff is excited about the new opportunities for our community and are thrilled to be able to host the first Glass Studio in our region. This new chapter in the community arts center’s history is very exciting.”

For more information about the Glass Fusion Studio, call an arts center staff member at 814-255-6515 or visit www.caccc.org online.

The Community Arts Center of Cambria County is located in Westmont along Menoher Boulevard.

“Glass fusion is something that has been around for a long time, but not every organization or center can offer it,” Godin said. “We are truly blessed to have received a grant from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. This was able to give us the jump start to offer something new to our community and expand the ways we ‘keep the Arts Alive in Cambria County.’ No matter the age or experience level, we can offer something with glass fusion.

“Because of the unique way fusion works and the different types of ways items can be fused, you never know what your item will look like when it comes out of the kiln. The surprise and joy of this mystery makes very alluring. You could fuse a million pieces of glass and make thousands of different items and not one would ever be the same.”

Arts center readies for annual auction

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

The 28th Great American Auction will take place inside Community Arts Center of Cambria County’s Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center gallery April 7.

The Great American Auction gives people an opportunity to win an array of items that will be part of the evening’s live auction. Angela Godin, executive director for the arts center, said that the list of items is as impressive as ever.

Some of the items up for bid include: autographed Arnold Palmer memorabilia, autographed Steelers gear, antique fabric quilts, golf outings, a Sabika necklace, Arcadia Theater tickets, Sight and Sound Theatre tickets and four one-day park hopper passes for Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Gift baskets, gift cards, collectibles and more, which have been donated by the arts center’s members and friends, are also to be auctioned off. Cambria County businesses have pitched in to help make the event a success, too, by donating nearly 100 gift cards and certificates.

A preview of all the items is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. that afternoon. At 5:30 p.m., Dale Mishler of Mishler Auction Services is to begin the bidding.

“Dale has been donating his time and services for pretty much the past 28 years,” Godin said. “He’s so generous, so thorough and so professional. We’re truly blessed to have him partner with us again this year.”

Local business Clark’s Corner Store is to offer food for purchase both before and during the auction.

As in years past, proceeds from the 28th Great American Auction will benefit the arts center.

“All the proceeds from this event go into our general operations fund so we can offer more exciting programming and events to our community,” Godin said. “The money we raise during this auction definitely helps to offset costs for many of the free events we host.”

Godin said she’s hoping that this year’s auction will be as successful as last year’s, which turned into a standing room only event.

“We actually had people backed up into the hallway of the arts center,” Godin said in regards to last year’s auction. “It was literally two and a half hours of non-stop bidding, and that was wonderful for the arts center.”

Last year, Godin said, she worked hard to make some positive changes to the auction that were well-received.

“Last year, we were able to get more high-ticket items,” she said. “Plus, we had such a variety of eclectic and antique items. I think that’s why it was so successful.

“Basically, our auction was packed with a variety of exciting merchandise. My objective is to continue offering the new attractions that prompted more individuals to attend and keep adding additional big ticket items. For example, once again this year I have four Disney passes.”

Godin said she’s proud of the variety of items that are part of this year’s auction, including those Disney passes.

A list of businesses that donated items, as well as pictures of items up for bid, is available on the community arts center’s website at www.caccc.org. The list and items will be updated regularly up until the event takes place.

The 28th Great American Auction is free to attend. For more information, call an arts staff member at 814-255-6515 or visit the organization’s official website at www.caccc.org.

The Community Arts Center of Cambria County is located in the Westmont along Menoher Boulevard.

“People are going to find some wonderful items that they could really use or just can’t live without and, at the same time, help a nonprofit that’s a staple in our community,” Godin said.

Sinatra impersonator to headline arts center gala

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Bo Wagner, an impersonator of Frank Sinatra, is soon to perform in Westmont.

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Community Arts Center of Cambria County is set to host an inaugural fundraising event April 1 at Sunnehanna Country Club in Westmont.
“Ocean’s 11” is a one-night-only, Las Vegas-themed gala that will feature a buffet dinner, a professional Frank Sinatra impersonator and casino games.

“I really like offering two events per year that are very special and unique,” said Angela Godin, executive director of the arts center. “So many different groups and organizations have done the gaming or casino night events and this year, I really wanted us to put a new, fresh spin on an event that people have really enjoyed.”

“Ocean’s 11” is set to begin at 4:30 p.m. Guests are to have an opportunity to enjoy a cash bar, play slots and participate in table games, such as roulette and craps, until 6:30 p.m.

“Participants can buy as many chips or as much ‘fun money’ as they want, and the tickets they receive from their winnings on the slots or table games can then be placed in baskets that will be raffled off at the end of the night,” Godin said.

Dinner, catered by Sunnehanna Country Club, will begin at 6:30 p.m. The buffet menu features: watercress soup, chicken with acini de pepe, garden salad with assorted dressings, Caesar salad, beef brisket, pulled pork, roasted red potatoes, green beans with matchstick carrots, penne pasta with marinara and alfredo sauces, meatballs, shrimp scampi primavera and assorted desserts.

“The Sunnehanna staff really came up with such a unique buffet that has so much variety,” Godin said. “It reflects exactly the type of buffet you’d find in Las Vegas.”

Sinatra impersonator Bo Wagner is to take the stage around 7 p.m.

Wagner, who has been singing and performing since the late 1960s, served as the lead singer of the international recording group The Four Coins beginning in the late ‘70s. The Four Coins performed at major casinos in Las Vegas and Reno, as well as at resorts in Lake Tahoe, and Wagner even had the opportunity to perform in front of Sinatra himself.

“I’ve seen Bo perform numerous times, and he truly sounds like Frank Sinatra,” Godin said. “He continues to perform multiple times a month in Las Vegas, and word has it that he might even be relocating soon, so we’re excited to bring him to Sunnehanna before he leaves the area.”

At 8 p.m., the evening’s basket winners are to be announced.

Tickets for “Oceans 11” are on sale and can be purchased by calling 814-255-6515. The deadline to purchase tickets is March 29.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Community Arts Center of Cambria County.

Godin said she’s looking forward to the event and hopes it will be a success.

“I think this event will cater to so many people,” she said.

“Some people will really enjoy the gambling portion of the evening. Some people are true Rat Pack fans and will enjoy every minute of Bo Wagner’s performance. This event is going to hit two really different demographics in one exciting evening.”

Crittenden creates ‘lights-out’ exhibit

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By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Community Arts Center of Cambria County’s first exhibit of 2017 is titled “Art in the Dark.” The exhibit, which opens to the public Jan. 28, features work by local artist Malcolm Crittenden, whose artwork focuses on black light pictures.

“My study and observation of the heavens has inspired me to become an artist by means of black light pictures,” Crittenden said. 
“I have chosen black light pencils as a medium to capture the details of the night sky. It is my desire to recreate the awe and wonder that falls upon those who stand out under the night sky.”

Crittenden signs each piece of his work with “Psalm 19:1.”

“The setting of David’s Psalm is familiar to my artwork: a nightscape, with both the earthly landscape of the Judean hills and the vastness of a starry night sky,” he said.

Crittenden, who served as a Pennsylvania state mine inspector, spent much of his career in the outdoors appreciating the vast landscapes. 

He has always been interested in astrology, too.

When the comet Hale Bopp appeared in the late 1990s, for instance, he purchased a large telescope and, several years later, painted his first black light poster titled “In the Beginning.” The poster was used as a teaching tool for a high school astronomy class.
Over the years, Crittenden developed an artistic approach that involved the use of fluorescent paints and pencils to capture nightscape-visions.

Angela Godin, the arts center’s executive director, said she admires Crittenden’s art, and is thrilled to display his paintings in the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center gallery.

“The opportunity for the community arts center to hold a uniquely diverse exhibition is a true honor,” Godin said. “We are excited to constantly offer new experiences and mediums for our members and the general public.”

Godin described the exhibit as being true to its name: The art will be experienced in the dark, as each piece will be displayed inside its own individually lit shadowbox.

“This exhibit is going to be a total experience,” she said. “The room will be, for the most part, completely black, and there are so many pieces that it will illuminate the room. This is something that hasn’t even been done in the area before.”

An opening reception for “Art in the Dark” is scheduled for Feb. 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. inside the arts center’s historic Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center. 

During the reception, Crittenden is to present a gallery talk, which will give him the opportunity to discuss his creative process. Crittenden is also sharing a finished piece plus a work-in-progress.

Local musician Dan Becker is set to perform during the opening reception.

“Art in the Dark” is scheduled to continue through Feb. 28. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

“We’re trying to do more diverse and unique things and offer all different forms of art to really capture the essence of every type of medium,” Godin said. “There’s no doubt that this exhibit provides a great start to 2017.”

In addition to viewing the exhibit, people are also invited to vote on their favorite paintings. Those who do will receive a free raffle chance, and the winner of the raffle will receive a black light piece of his or her choice. 

The raffle drawing is scheduled to take place Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. Additional raffle tickets can be purchased from a staff member of the arts center.

Crittenden said he hopes that his work will inspire others to take a longer look at the night sky.

“The Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center has a unique gallery in that the grounds surrounding the arts center lend a scenic quality to the normally plain gallery room,” he said. “Viewers, upon seeing my black light nightscapes exhibit, will likely want to step outside and peer at the night sky.”

New mystery awaits at Westmont arts center

Submitted photo

BY KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

The Community Arts Center of Cambria County, in conjunction with Mystery Theatre Pittsburgh, will present a murder mystery dinner theater event at Sunnehanna Country Club on Jan. 21 beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Arts center Executive Director Angela Godin said that the nonprofit’s first murder mystery dinner theater took place last year and was such a success that she and her staff decided to host another.

“Last year was the premier of our murder mystery dinner theater fundraiser, and it was an astounding success,” Godin said. “Those who attended were extremely pleased with the interactive experience.”

This year’s performance, titled “Diamonds to Die For,” will once again be fully interactive. A few lucky audience members will even have an opportunity to perform alongside the cast.

During the performance, audience members will be introduced to mega-celebrity and stylist to the stars Philippe Le Fleur. Le Fleur will debut his brand-new jewelry collection, and those in the audience will include world-famous supermodels, ex-lovers and Minnesota housewives. 

Rumor has it that the launch of this collection will be his final.

“This year’s show, ‘Diamonds to Die For,’ was written specifically for the center’s 2017 murder mystery dinner theater,” Godin said. “As the Community Arts Center grows through its new ventures in the performing arts, we are continuing to develop ourselves by branching into new areas. We are overwhelmed by the positive response of the community and attendees from last year’s dinner theater. 

“We are also excited to continue growing the future of the performing arts here at the community arts center.”

To coincide with the performance’s “jewelry” theme, arts center staff members have invited jewelry vendors to sell their jewelry during the duration of the event. Vendors are to offer a wide selection of jewelry for purchase.

“We’re hoping to get a good response to the jewelry vendor idea,” Godin said, “and we’re excited to promote their items because it definitely goes with the theme of ‘Diamonds to Die For.’”

The evening’s dinner menu features flank steak and chicken caprese, plus green beans, carrots, herbed potatoes, salad, rolls and refreshments. A dessert trio rounds out the menu; desserts include diamond-shaped cookies, mini crème brulee and salted chocolate caramel pie. The food is to be prepared by the chefs at Sunnehanna Country Club.

Godin added that a themed drink will be available for purchase that evening; the specialty drink will be a sugar cubed champagne garnished with mint. A portion of the proceeds from these drinks will be donated directly to the arts center.

“Sunnehanna does this to help us as a nonprofit,” Godin said.

This year’s murder mystery dinner theater corporate sponsor is Stifel. For more information about the show or to purchase tickets (table sponsorships are available as well), call an arts center staff member at 814-255-6515 or visit www.caccc.org.

The deadline to purchase tickets is Jan. 17. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Community Arts Center of Cambria County.

“I’m very pleased with Mystery Theatre Pittsburgh overall,” Godin said. “This is going to be a great experience, and I think everyone’s going to have a wonderful time.”

Arts center to recognize prominent contributors

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

John Augustine, Elaine Heider and Gerald Swatsworth will be honored by the Community Arts Center of Cambria County for their continued support of the arts center, as well as for helping to keep the arts alive in and beyond Cambria County.

The celebratory award dinner, titled “Celebrating a Legacy,” is to be held at Sunnehanna Country Club in Westmont on Oct. 14 beginning at 6 p.m.

The evening is set to include a cash bar and a silent auction. Dinner is to be served at 6:45 p.m. and a performance by the Roof Garden Chorus is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Awards are to be presented to Augustine, Heider and Swatsworth at 8 p.m.

Augustine, who has been a member of the arts center for more than 20 years, will receive a Community Service Award. In addition to having served on the Community Arts Center of Cambria County board as president and as treasurer, Augustine was instrumental in helping to establish the Ponas Doll Museum. 

Furthermore, Augustine continues to volunteer at the arts center, including as a volunteer during the Log House Arts Festival.

“I actually had the pleasure of meeting John before I even became involved with (this organization),” arts center Executive Director Angela Godin said. “Once I became part of the arts center, I found out what an impact he’s made on our organization and the entire community, which was so inspiring and exciting.”

Like Augustine, Swatsworth will also receive a Community Service Award. Swatsworth helped to obtain the funds necessary in order to make the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center a reality. 

Because of his commitment and involvement, the arts center grew and expanded, and Swatsworth continues to remain involved as an active member.

“Gerald actually has been very helpful with not only the Fend Foundation, but also many various projects at the arts center,” Godin said. “He has always been so influential in trying to help us move forward and he keeps working hard to keep our arts center growing and succeeding.”

The third and final honoree, Elaine Heider, is to receive the Arts Patron Award. 

A Charter Member of Community Arts Center of Cambria County, Heider’s involvement included chairing events such as Log House Arts Festival, Holly Bazaar and other fundraisers, and volunteering many hours to make special events and projects possible.

“I have never met Elaine, but I’ve heard so many wonderful things about her,” Godin said. “Apparently, she did an obscene amount of volunteer work in the organization’s early years, and she was a true go-getter — very inspiring to others and very helpful.”

Godin said that she couldn’t be more thrilled to honor these three individuals.

“It’s obvious that they have done, and continue to do, whatever they can, in whatever form they can, to help us,” Godin said. 

“These people helped to pave the way. At one point, we were one of the only arts organizations in the entire area, and they truly helped make this organization what it is today because of their time and their expectations and their belief in what it could become.”

“Celebrating a Legacy” was established last year to honor longtime arts center Executive Director Rose Mary Hagadus following her retirement. Godin said that she and her fellow staff members decided to “keep it going” because of the positive response they received from those in attendance.

“We thought, why not continue honoring all these people who have been so influential?” she said. “There are so many people who have played such a big role in our organization.”

The arts center’s vice president of operations and Secretary Karen Azer said that she’s looking forward to shining a spotlight on these three individuals.

“It is our great honor to host such an event as this,” Azer said. 

“Far too often, those who have helped shape an organization are never given their moment of recognition. Many times these people dedicate much of their lives behind the scenes and no one ever knows the great things they have done. We hope this event shines some light on those who truly deserve it, the ones who helped make the Community Arts Center what it is today. It will be a spectacular evening.”

Tickets, as well as tables, for “Celebrating a Legacy” are available. Anyone interested in attending should phone a CACCC staff member at 814-255-6515. Reservations are due by Oct. 11.

All proceeds from this event will benefit the arts center.

“I think that’s going be a really special evening,” Godin said.

Westmont arts center to display Bergstrom’s work

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Elaine M. Bergstrom’s exhibit, “A Glimpse Into an Artist’s Journey,” is set to be unveiled Sept. 10 inside the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center at Community Arts Center of Cambria County.

This exhibit features three themes: unleashed, untangled and contemplated, and is inspired by Bergstrom’s interest in chakras, kabbalah and Asian culture. She has created her artwork using watercolors, Sumi ink and mixed media.

“This exhibit is so unique,” arts center Executive Director Angela Godin said. “Some pieces are so simplistic and others are intricate and full of wild, beautiful colors. We can’t wait to share this exhibit with everyone.”

An opening reception for the exhibit is scheduled for Sept. 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. Bergstrom will offer a gallery talk beginning at 2 p.m. The talk is to feature a question-and-answer segment at the end.

Though Bergstrom is originally from Chicago and serves as an art instructor within the Pittsburgh area, she is no stranger to Johnstown. Bergstrom has taught workshops at the arts center, sharing her love for art with community members and employees of the nonprofit.

“Elaine has taught several workshops in Traditional Oriental Brush, all of which I have taken,” arts center Education Coordinator Lida Hood said. “I can’t wait to see this new direction in which Elaine has taken her work. It will be intriguing, to say the least.”

Godin added that Bergstrom’s classes and workshops have always been well-received.

“People really enjoy her particular style because it is so unique,” she said.

Bergstrom has a bachelor’s in design from the University of Illinois, and earned a Botanical Illustration Certification from the Morton Arboretum. She completed her teaching education certification from Carlow University.

She is also a professional member of the Allegheny Highlands Botanical Society Chapter, and a volunteer docent for Beechwood Reserve.
Godin said that she is impressed by this exhibit and thinks that others will be, too.

“Elaine is a uniquely diverse artist while still emphasizing all her works with an influentially specific theme,” Godin said. “In each series, the pieces flow beautifully. However, when you look at her other mediums, the style is extremely different. 

“To me, that shows an evolved artist who has honed in on her craft. We look forward to the entire show being hung, especially, over the Log House Arts Festival weekend.”

Bergstrom’s exhibit, which features between 60 to 70 pieces of art, will continue through Sept. 30. Those who wish to view it can do so for free during the arts center’s regular gallery hours, which are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call 814-255-6515 or visit www.caccc.org online.

The arts center’s exhibitions are partially supported by state arts funding through grants provided by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts.

Variety of vendors lined up for Log House Arts Festival

Submitted photo
Submitted photo

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Thousands of people are set to converge on the Community Arts Center of Cambria County’s grounds for the art center’s annual Log House Arts Festival.
This year, organizers are hoping that the turnout is just as good as in years past, especially because the festival serves as a major fundraiser for the nonprofit.

“The proceeds will help us move forward and support new programs and projects we’re going to venture into,” Executive Director Angela Godin said.
The 46th Log House Arts Festival is scheduled for Sept. 3-4 at the arts center, located in Westmont at 1217 Menoher Blvd.
Godin seemed particularly excited to announce that she has revived the festival’s shuttle service.

“In the past, when there was a shuttle available, a lot more people were able to come to the festival because they didn’t have to worry about parking,” Godin said. “It has been a number of years since the shuttle service has been here, so this year we partnered with Senior Life to bring it back. Senior Life is a business that does great things in the community, and we couldn’t be happier to offer these shuttles once again.”

The arts center is to offer festival-goers an opportunity to catch one of two shuttles, courtesy of Senior Life. Parking and pick-up locations include the Senior Life parking lot, located at 401 Broad St., and the Hiram G. Andrews Center parking lot, located at 727 Goucher St. The shuttles run approximately every 15 minutes, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., both days of the festival.

Saturday’s live entertainment is scheduled to be Somerset Roof Garden Chorus, Rosie and the Jammers and The Sharptones. 

On Sunday, Satrycon and The Desperadoes are set to perform. Satrycon will be accompanied by West African dance troupe Kulani, as well as Kulani Kids, and Belly Dancing with Adrianna’s Arabian Jewels.

“Satrycon’s performance will be a fusion between his wonderful music and their performing arts pieces,” Godin said.

Godin said that Satrycon and his fellow performers are bound to keep audiences clapping their hands and tapping their feet.

“The Roof Garden Chorus is a super talented barbershop chorus, and Rosie and the Jammers, a polka band, is one of the most popular in the community,” Godin said. “The Sharptones have such a great sound. The Desperadoes . . . they are truly one of Johnstown’s favorite bands. Between all of our performers, we have hit almost every genre that people would really want to hear.”

Family-friendly entertainment is to be provided throughout the weekend by Unicycle Sam, who will show off approximately 10 different unicycles of various heights and sizes. Strolling magician Richard Benninghoff will walk around the grounds during both days, and also offer magic shows inside the arts center. On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Spiderman and the Dunkin’ Donuts mascots will make appearances.

Children can participate in the various activities that will be made available to them inside “Kid’s Kingdom,” such as canvas art, spin art, tie-dye T-shirts and face painting. Caricatures, henna tattoos and other exciting offerings will round out “Kid’s Kingdom.” Godin said that the purpose of the “Kid’s Kingdom” is to inspire a creative arts and crafts environment.

“‘Kid’s Kingdom’ is a really special place because the parents get to interact and aid their children in the projects they’re working on,” she said. “It’s very family friendly.”

Food is to be sold by Clark’s Corner Store, Papa John’s Pizza and Szechuan East. An assortment of other foods and desserts are also to be for sale.

Various craftsmen and craftswomen are to sell handcrafted items and demonstrate their artistic process. Organizers remain committed, Godin said, to giving people an opportunity to purchase works of art directly from the artists.

“I think people really appreciate the quality craftsmen,” Godin said. “This festival is truly about them, and their handmade items, and we really try to preserve that. We have well over 80 vendors this year, including 20 new ones.

“We try to encourage these artists, so we don’t take commission. We really respect and appreciate what they can do, and we love the variety of what we have in these artists.”

For more information about the festival, call 814-255-6515 or visit arts center’s official website at www.caccc.org.

This year’s corporate sponsor is 1st Summit Bank. Co-sponsors are Atlantic Broadband, Somerset Trust Co., Conemaugh Health System, First Commonwealth Bank, First National Bank, Highmark, Northwest Savings Bank, CTC, Dr. Mary Berge and Associates and State Farm Donna Christopher.

“We always have a really great group of sponsors,” Godin said. “And it’s important to note that we not only have recurring sponsors, but also new sponsors . . . they recognize, too, how wonderful this festival is.”

Godin said that she’s expecting more than 10,000 people to attend the festival.

“It’s going to truly be a wonderful weekend,” Godin said. “Whether you are a child or a parent or a young adult or an adult or a grandparent, everyone will find something to enjoy. There’s so much to do, and we’ve really tried to make it all-encompassing.”

Arts center working with Sunnehanna for car cruise

Photo credit: Community Arts Center of Cambria County Facebook page
Photo credit: Community Arts Center of Cambria County Facebook page

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Classic car owners will have an opportunity to unite at Sunnehanna Country Club in Westmont on Aug. 27.

The Community Arts Center of Cambria County’s “Classic Car Cruise” is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day.

Owners can register for the show on the day of the event beginning at 10 a.m. The owners of the first 25 registered cars are to receive a dash plaque and T-shirt.

Arts center Executive Director Angela Godin said she and her staff are excited to offer their second car cruise to patrons this summer, and what makes this one special is that it will be held at Sunnehanna.

“As two longstanding iconic locations in Westmont, we are elated to partner with Sunnehanna Country Club for such a unique event,” Godin said. “Sunnehanna Country Club has been so supportive of the arts center for years, and we are so pleased with each and every outcome. This is just another of many events that our members and community enjoy.”

Ron Meyers, who serves as general manager at Sunnehanna Country Club, said that he and his staff are also glad to be involved.

“Sunnehanna Country Club is a great classic golf course and country club, so we are very excited to host an amazing collection of great classic automobiles on our storied grounds,” Meyers said. “Since 1923, Sunnehanna has always been associated with the best of the best, so as you make your way up our winding drive, you and your prized automobile are now amongst the best of the best.”

Food vendors, live music, and a 50/50 raffle are to round out the event. Also, a children’s coloring contest is set to take place at 1:30 p.m.

For more information about the car cruise, call 814-255-6515 or visit www.caccc.org.

Westmont arts center to host Somerset woodcarvings

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

The Community Arts Center of Cambria County’s latest exhibit features work from woodcarvers living and working in Somerset County.

“Cut Above the Rest” opens inside the nonprofit arts center’s Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center gallery on Aug. 6, with a reception to be held that afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. This exhibit showcases artwork from members of Somerset County Woodcarvers, a group that meets weekly to enjoy each other’s company and conversation while they create new pieces of artwork. 

The carvers and whittlers also take pride in learning from one another. Approximately 10 members currently participate in the group, and anyone interested in joining can contact the arts center for more information.
 
The woodcarvers meet Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. at Laurel Arts in Somerset.

“The carvers are a great group of people,” arts center Executive Director Angela Godin said. “They absolutely love what they do and are very enthusiastic about teaching and learning. Their process isn’t a heavily structured class . . . they learn from one another’s skills and/or discoveries.”

The woodcarvers use a variety of wood, including basswood, linden, cherry, mahogany and walnut to create their artwork. Each woodcarver within the group has his own style, making the pieces — and exhibit overall — diverse. Viewers can expect to see tiny pieces as well as larger pieces, and all are intricately carved. A few group members have even learned how to carve cherry seeds.

Godin said that sometimes people consider woodcarving a lost art, but this exhibit proves that woodcarving is alive and well within this area.

“It’s nice to see that this group is going strong,” Godin said. “I’m incredibly impressed by their talents and their patience because woodcarving is such a commitment. The artwork doesn’t come in a day.”

Godin said that all the members of the group are not only passionate about what they do, but also jovial.

“They’re a bunch of fun jokesters who really have a great time and are great at what they do,” she said. “The pieces they’re bringing to this exhibit are going to be so unique. This is yet another exhibit we’re proud to offer the community.”

The opening reception for “Cut Above the Rest” will celebrate the woodcarvers’ dedication to their craft. Beginning at 2 p.m., a few of them will demonstrate their techniques, and then audience members can participate in a question and answer session immediately thereafter.

“I want people to experience what exactly woodcarving entails,” Godin said. “When you see the process, you appreciate it so much more. It’s easy to forget that there’s a big process that involves getting to that finished piece.”

“Cut Above the Rest” will continue through Aug. 27, and is free and open to the public during gallery hours, which are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the weekdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

“The community is in for a real delight with this exhibition,” Godin said.

The Community Arts Center of Cambria County is located in the Westmont section of Johnstown at 1217 Menoher Blvd.

For more information about this exhibit, the opening reception, or details on how to join the Somerset County Woodcarvers, call 814-255-6515 or visit the arts center’s official website at www.caccc.org.

Westmont student murals adopted by arts center

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Former Westmont Middle School students might recall participating in an art project that involved painting on wooden panels.

This particular painting project began in the 1980s. By 2016, an impressive panel/mural collection had decorated the halls inside Westmont Middle School. 

Unfortunately, all the murals were at risk of being destroyed as part of the demolition of the school this summer.

Karen Azer, former Westmont Middle Hilltop School Board president and current vice president of operations and secretary of the Community Arts Center of Cambria County, called Angela Godin, arts center executive director, to inform her that the nonprofit had an opportunity to “save the art.”

Otherwise, Godin said, the murals were “going down with the building.”

So, Godin, Azer and arts center Education Coordinator Lida Hood made a trip to the school, which is now in the process of being leveled.

“When I walked through the middle school and saw the magnitude of these massive pieces, it was right then and there that I had to make a phone call to see what we could do,” Godin said.

The murals depict a variety of scenes inspired by everything from classic works of art to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“Each one is incredibly unique and extremely expressive,” Azer said of the murals. “We have featured some of these talented young artists in the annual Greater Johnstown Young Artist Exhibitions over the years.”

Over time, some of the murals sustained damages, but many are still intact.

Azer described the murals as being part of the school’s history, not to mention a source of memories for former students, faculty, parents and staff.

“I remember when my kids were working on ‘their’ murals,” Azer said. “It is such an integral part of the history of the Westmont Middle Hilltop School. I knew there had to be something we could do.”

Now that the murals have been “saved,” the community can look forward to the murals being part of a future exhibit to be held inside the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center.

Godin and her staff plan to feature the exhibit during the 2017 gallery season. They are hoping to partner, at least in some capacity, with the Westmont Alumni Association so that former students who had a hand in painting the murals can see them on display.

“It would be really nice to work with the Westmont Alumni Association so that people who come into town for their alumni events can get to see something from their past,” Godin said.

She also mentioned that, once the exhibit concludes, some of the murals will be available for sale.

“Since we don’t have room to house all of them, we’re going to accept donations if anyone would like them,” Godin said. “And some individuals, nonprofits and businesses in the area will each get one. For example, Johnstown Area Heritage Association (JAHA) will have one.”

“If someone makes a donation in exchange for the mural, that money will go directly into our education fund so that we can continue to provide for students and artists in our community.”

Godin said that there’s a chance that some pieces may even decorate the halls of Westmont School District again in the future. 

But in the meantime, there has been “a lot of buzz” surrounding the nonprofit’s call to action.

“Everyone’s really excited about this,” Godin said. “We really can’t wait to display these murals. It will be wonderful to put them under special lighting and in chronological order. Some of the art teachers have already agreed to help us out, so we are beyond excited about 2017’s entire exhibition calendar and especially this show.

“There are truly no words to express the joy we have as the community arts center plans to save something like this, especially since these students have been part of our organization over the years by taking classes and camps or attending the annual Holly Bazaar and Log House Arts Festival. This is who we are; the community arts center continues to truly embody what we strive to represent in our organization’s name and reiterate that for our community.”

Azer echoed the same sentiments.

“Our hope is to showcase these unique works of art and breathe a second life into them,” Azer said. “These pieces capture over 30 years of alumni history that is practically in the backyard of the community arts center.”