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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Sullivan arts showcased at inaugural DVAA event

By Joseph Abraham - sports & life editor

Inner Urge performs at the first-ever Sullivan Arts Grants Award Showcase.
NARROWSBURG - Sullivan County is going through quite the revitalization period, and one of the reasons why is the arts. The Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA) held their first-ever Sullivan Arts Grants Award Showcase at the Tusten Theatre on Saturday to celebrate and reward over a dozen arts organizations across the county.
“My intent with establishing an award showcase was wanting to create a new platform upon which we could really celebrate and spotlight the incredible diversity and richness of artistic activity that our grant programs are supporting,” DVAA Executive Director Ariel Shanberg said.
The event was initially scheduled to take place in May to get ahead of everyone's 2018 seasons, but was moved to June after the devastation caused by last month's storm. In future years, the DVAA hopes the event will serve as the “opening salvo” as far as announcing performances, exhibitions, art projects, theatrical productions, etc.
As Arts Council for Sullivan County, DVAA receives Decentralization funds from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and from the Sullivan County Legislature.
This year, DVAA awarded grant funds to over twenty organizations, monies that will be used to provide cultural, historical, and artistic programming and events throughout the year. Grantees included the Barryville Area Arts Association, Callicoon Business Association, Delaware Valley Opera, Liberty Museum and Arts Center, Delaware Youth Center, Jeffersonville Enhances More of Sullivan, Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library, Icehouse Arts, Phillipsport Community Center, St. Andrew's Mission, Rock Hill Business Association, Sullivan County Community Chorus, Mamakating Public Library, Town of Lumberland Cultural Series, Town of Mamakating/Wurtsboro Arts Alliance, Tusten Local Development Corporation/Act Underground, Bethel Local Development Corporation, Catskill Arts Society/Lisa Lyon, Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop, Nesin Cultural Arts, North American Cultural Laboratory, Sullivan County Historical Society, and poet William Conway.
The showcase also featured several performances and the showing of a short film in between grant announcements.
Shanberg praised the organizations recognized at the event in his “State of the Arts” address. He referred to them as a “...breathe of creativity in our community.” He added that their passion was contagious, affecting us all, and explained how they are playing a vital role in our county's revitalization.
New York State Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther was in attendance at the showcase, expressing her support of the arts. Her son is a music teacher.
Jeff Allison, President of the DVAA Board of Directors, offered a “Call to the Arts,” encouraging recipients in attendance to ask for what they need to be successful and talk to their legislators and county government. He also asked them to be supportive of one another by attending each other's openings and events and asking their friends to do the same. And lastly, “Have your art out there for the world to see.”
Like they've contributed the the growth of their own community, the DVAA enjoys seeing the same thing happen across the county.
“We have built a vibrant community here in Narrowsburg through our art shows, performances and all the activities we sponsor,” Allison said. “And so what happens when all of these groups go out into their communities, they do the same thing. They create excitement, energy, activities...and it has the local residents feeling good and inspired about their own community.”
The proof is in the pudding for DVAA, as they've heard and seen first hand how their grants program has positively affected these organizations and the community they serve.
“It really does help the economic development and cohesiveness of a community to have a strong and vibrant arts group within in their midst,” Allison explained, “so seeing the breath and scope of all those organizations, says that's going on in all of the communities, towns and villages across this country.”

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