Over 30 years, the Sullivan County Council on the Arts has tried to maintain a balance of programs for the youth in the county’s excellent school system, for the native families with their extensive local history, and for the retirees who have chosen this quiet, lovely, accepting environment.
Our longest running program is the annual Youth Art Exhibit, held in the Sullivan County Library in Dushore each spring, with prizes given to county students – public, private and home schooled – in grades K-12.
For the Choice of Show award, begun in 1998, our judges pick a single artwork by a Sullivan County High School student, which is purchased from the student, framed and placed on permanent display in the school’s main hallway in Laporte.
Our youth programs expanded in 2011 with the Literary and Theater awards: Four student authors receive prizes for their writing, and one graduating senior is recognized for contributions to the stage over his/her school career. The top Literary pieces, as well as the high school-level winners of the Youth Art Awards, are published in the Arts Council’s annual Hills and Valleys magazine. In 2018, we established our Music scholarship, which will be administered annually by the Dushore Music Club.
The Roving Historical Theater took shape in 2007 with the first of our eight-play cycle of all-original works dramatizing the history and industries of our scattered local communities, each play held in the community being celebrated. In 2015, the Theater morphed into the Roving Hysterical Theater with an update to old-time vaudeville routines. More theatrical forays are in the planning stage.
Family music has become a solid part of our efforts in recent years, starting with performances by Simple Gifts and the Celtic Martins. The recent Ultimate Music Weekend featured ragtime pianist Bob Milne, blues singer/songwriter Geoff Muldaur and others, with the Martins as our lynchpin act. For 2018, our November offering has been named Spread the Jam, bringing back Bob Milne and the Martins, but adding a free potluck and singalong.
The second weekend in October brings the Fall Art Expo, held as part of the Sullivan County Fall Festival at the fairgrounds on Rt. 154 in Forksville. We invite artists from across a wide region of Pennsylvania and New York to submit works for prizes at the exhibit in the fairgrounds’ Blue Building. Visitors can also cast votes for the coveted Peoples Choice Award. In 2017, for the first time we included work by the Sullivan County High School; for 2018, we are expanding the student work to cover the surrounding 50-mile area.
At the Kiwanis Winterfest, held at Camp Brule over Presidents Day Weekend, we hold the Clothesline Art Exhibit, at which youth create artwork put on display.
In June, we present a program of music and skits to the residents of the local Care Centers, Darway in Estella and the Highlands in Laporte.
What’s on the horizon? Help us choose the next leap by entering you suggestions here.