Local centers showcase art, performance and more

March 8, 2012 12:00 am
  • A portraiture class at The Associated Artists of Butler County Art Center in Butler.
    A portraiture class at The Associated Artists of Butler County Art Center in Butler.
  • Mary Kay Richardson prepares for a show at The Associated Artists of Butler County Art Center.
    Mary Kay Richardson prepares for a show at The Associated Artists of Butler County Art Center.
  • Lynn Lynch, left, 49, of Latrobe, and Kathy Hochard, 56 of Homer City, share a laugh while taking painting class at Latrobe Art Center.
    Lynn Lynch, left, 49, of Latrobe, and Kathy Hochard, 56 of Homer City, share a laugh while taking painting class at Latrobe Art Center.
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He applauded "sweat equity" for the recent accomplishments, including the removal of "10 Dumpsters full of junk that had accumulated over the years" to open up gallery space on the lower level.

Mr. Scanlon credited the replacement of paid staff with volunteers for the survival of the center, which has a $50,000 budget. "That's how we've stayed afloat."

Two AmeriCorps workers are full time, and Mr. Rehm, who works 10-15 hours weekly, receives a stipend. Funding comes from public and private grants, dues from the approximately 200 members, exhibition entry fees, donations and class fees.

The center holds class fees to $5 an hour for members and $7 for nonmembers, Mr. Rehm said, and he'd like to make them free. A couple of years ago, the center held its first free class day and then the area got hammered with 36 inches of snow.

"I figured no one was going to come but went in to work on the building," Mr. Rehm said. "Fifteen people showed up -- on the snowiest day of the year."

The center is "the only place in the city that does under-21 music," Mr. Rehm said. "It's a safe haven. We have live local bands almost monthly," with names like "Eat the Government" and "Overdose on Vitamins."

He'd also like to restart the weekly Spirit Cafe.

"If someone would want to organize it, book bands, oversee an open mic -- if we could get a core group to do it, we have the space. I think this could be a date night destination."

Mr. Scanlon is particularly pleased with an outreach program the center carried out last year to provide artwork for the bare walls of the new wing for dementia patients at Sunnyview Home in Butler County. Members were asked to submit art of a certain size that addressed Butler area history to provide cheerfulness as well as to trigger patients' memories. About 20 artworks were selected for permanent display there, and each artist received $350 from a donation pool.

While many established local artists exhibit at the center throughout the year, the annual high school and Slippery Rock University student exhibitions draw the largest opening night crowds.


First Published 2012-03-07 23:13:53

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