News Column

The Daily Star, Oneonta, N.Y., On the Bright Side column

May 9, 2014

By Jessica Reynolds, The Daily Star, Oneonta, N.Y.

May 09--Beginning tonight, Cooperstown'sFenimore Art Museum will feature its first exhibit of community art, organizers said Thursday.

Carol Mandigo, prevention specialist at The LEAF Council on Alcoholism and Addictions, said she's "really excited" to be part of the museum's first community art show.

"This is a new direction for them to involve the community in one of their exhibits," Mandigo said. "It's a big change."

A reception will be held tonight from 5:30 to 7 p.m. to celebrate the opening of the display of art from LEAF's most recent Art and Poetry Contest. The art will be on display in the Clark Gallery Alcove at the Fenimore until May 30.

Tonight's reception will feature readings of poetry that was entered in LEAF's contest, refreshments and live acoustic music by Tom Wetmore on bass and Barbara Nark on fiddle. The reception is free to the public.

The theme of LEAF's 4th Annual Arts and Poetry contest was 'It's a Wonderful Life,' and was based on the classic 1946 film of the same name that depicts "how one man's contributions can lead an entire community toward the darkness or toward the light," a media release for the contest said.

The artists and poets were asked to enter work that explores overcoming obstacles to find the joy and beauty in life, the release said. In honor of the film, all submitted art was in black-and-white.

Art from more than 50 Otsego County artists will be displayed at the Fenimore exhibit, Mandigo said. LEAF artists and poets range from award-winning professionals to youth and community members who are passionate about the theme but have never entered a contest or had their work shown in a gallery before, she said.

"The artists range in age from 8 to 85," Mandigo said. "And they come from every socioeconomic bracket. For their art to be displayed in a museum of this quality, and for entry to the reception itself to be free of charge, that's a big deal. It's so generous and kind of the museum to give us this opportunity."

Danielle Newell, director of eduction for the Fenimore Art and Farmers' Museums, said the collection is the first of many community exhibitions that will appear at the museums.

"I'm hoping to help the museums become much more community-oriented," Newell said. "I'm thrilled to have an opportunity to display art here that is so meaningful to the community."

Newell said it was a "no-brainer" to work with LEAF on the project. She has worked with Mandigo in the past and admires LEAF's mission, she said.

Mandigo said 14-year-old Eric Mosher, who recited his winning poem at the contest's opening event at the Wilbur Mansion'sCANO Gallery on April 25, was especially passionate when he read his piece, titled "These Special Things."

The poem is about his brother who suffers with addiction. It was "very powerful," Mandigo said. LEAF organizers were so moved that they read the poem last week at state Sen. James Seward's roundtable discussion on heroin and opioid addiction.

Award-winning art that will be on display at the Fenimore includes: first-place winner in the under 18 art category, 'Feel Love' by Samuel Tannenbaum; grand prize winner in the adult art category, 'The Young Explorers' by Kenneth M. Crosby; first-place winner in the adult poetry category, 'To Love You' by Lexy Dickerson; and many more.

Mandigo said it's important to branch out to the Cooperstown community because LEAF is a county-wide organization. Having a community conversation about addiction is important, she said.

Mandigo told The Daily Star on Thursday that she was currently hanging the last few pieces of art at the Fenimore.

"The artwork that will be displayed has so much heart and soul and deals with hope and overcoming challenges," Mandigo said, "which everyone can relate to."


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Source: Daily Star, The (Oneonta, NY)

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