As I write this in late March, the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts is caught between our core value that “the show must go on” and a public health crisis of staggering proportions. We’re continuing to plan for a great Festival this summer, while listening to daily updates from Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Working from home, social distancing, and washing our hands frequently doesn’t feel like much. But it’s what we can do to help stop the spread of coronavirus. As much as we want to gather with friends and family to enjoy art, music, and the summer in Happy Valley, we will not put artists, performers, and audience members in danger.
We look forward to the days when we can safely gather together to shop for art, listen to music, dance a jig, or simply enjoy a picnic on the Old Main lawn with friends. We are still hopeful that we’ll be doing all of this – and more – in July.
We have mailed acceptance letters to our Sidewalk Sale artists. We have booked lots of great performers. Some of our sponsors have committed. Admittedly, that was before the world changed in what feels like the blink of any eye.
We don’t know what the future may hold. But we do know the value of art and music in reducing stress and making our lives richer. To that end, we will be redoubling our efforts to share the work of our talented artists and performers with you in the virtual world. Follow our social media channels – Facebook and Instagram – to learn more about them and to see what they have in store for you this summer.
In the meantime, I’d like to tip my proverbial hat to Nancy Burch Brassington. She took the top honor in last year’s Images 2019 juried fine art exhibition at the Arts Festival. Her painting titled Looking Down on Willowbank Street is representative of the body of Nancy’s work.
State College Magazine featured Nancy in its January issue. She shares insights about her process and the importance of the concept to her art. Nancy is a not only a talented artist, but also a good friend.
Like Nancy, you too can enter this year’s Images 2020 exhibition. Artists throughout Pennsylvania can apply before the submission deadline of Friday, May 8. The application link is here: Apply to Images 2020.
The show is slated to take place both in the real world in Schlow Centre Region Library and the Kish Bank Expect More Store, but also in the virtual world. We’ll share all of the accepted pieces in our online gallery. The gallery for Images 2019 is still visible here: Images 2019 Gallery.
If you’re at home with kids while schools are closed, there is no better time than to get ready for the Children and Youth Sidewalk Sale. Full details are available here.
If you’re like me, your feelings in this extraordinary time alternate between despair and hope. I despair when simple tasks that we have taken for granted—like buying toilet paper—are impossible. This is America, how can this be? However, the extraordinary work of doctors, nurses, and their support staffs give me hope. Music and art help me to focus on that hope.
For now, stay healthy, practice self-care, connect with friends and family, and seek out something of beauty every day.